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Nefesh Mountain duo Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff. Credit: Courtesy.

Fusing bluegrass with Judaism, Nefesh Mountain seeks to uplift during challenging times

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Thanks to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot and the Torah, Mount Sinai is the best-known mountain in Jewish history. If the husband-and-wife bluegrass team of Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff continue their climb through...
Music book. Credit: Pixabay.

Going a capella for the period of Jewish mourning

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When comedian Mendy Pellin posted on Twitter that “Sefira music is the audio equivalents of Pesach cereal,” he was referring to the recent trend of Orthodox singers to produce albums and singles of a capella music...
Members of the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel take part in prayer on the Sigd holiday at the Armon Hanatziv Promenade overlooking Jerusalem on Nov. 16, 2017. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Black (and Jewish): Braving the pitfalls, Jews of color find inner and outer peace

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It’s one of the few rap videos around that features a lead singer in frockcoat, tallis and shtreimel—paired with a cascade of gold chains (one bearing a Magen David) and leopard-skin scarf—dancing with guys...

Grave of Samuel Cohen, composer of Hatikvah is restored

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Shmuel Cohen, or Sam Cohen to us less Yiddish aware, is a relatively common Jewish name.  There are 708 Sam Cohens in just California and New York alone.  There is only one Shmuel Cohen...
Sukkah in New Hampshire. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The Joys of Sukkot

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During the Sukkot holiday, the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles erupts in joyful celebration. Our forty-plus kosher restaurants all have sukkot attached. There’s a sukkah on top of Ralph’s supermarket. One could conceivably sukkah...

Sukkot and Sukkah Songs

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The seven days of Sukkot—celebrated by dwelling in the sukkah, taking the Four Kinds, and rejoicing—is the holiday when we expose ourselves to the elements in covered huts, commemorating G‑d's sheltering our ancestors as...

Music for Yom Kippur: Kol Nidrei, The History of a Song and a Prayer

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Kol Nidrei is an Aramaic phrase which means far more than its literal translation, “All Vows.” This statement of annulment of vows has become such a dominant part of the Jewish religious psyche that it...
Joey Weisenberg performing in 2017. Source: Joey Weisenberg via Facebook.

Lifting voices for the High Holidays, even in COVID times

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Like Maestro Leonard Bernstein guiding young people through the joys and intricacies of classical music two generations ago, Joey Weisenberg is a gentle, but no less passionate, tutor. He’s not teaching about the bravado...
Francesco Hayez / Public domain

Memories of a Tisha B’Avs past

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I am writing this on a long, lazy Tisha B’Av afternoon. The sky is brilliant blue and a gentle breeze is beckoning me outside to get on my bike. No, not today. I must...
Banai family on the rooftop of 13 Agas St., Jerusalem, 1949. Credit: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Photographic Archives.

‘Building’ Jerusalem: Tower of David exhibit features cultural icons

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Museums are in crisis all over the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the loss of visitor revenue, many smaller museums are being forced to close, and larger ones are postponing reopenings because...