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Archive for September 18, 2010

Yale Strom authors a book on Dave Tarras, “klezmer king”

September 18, 2010 Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)–San Diegan Yale Strom, himself a well known klezmer musician and musicologist, spent months interviewing people who knew Dave Taras, whom some have called the  “The Benny Goodman of klezmer.”

Tarras is considered the most influential klezmer musician of the Twentieth Century. Scion of a musical family in Ternovke, Ukraine, Tarras played at weddings for Jews and non-Jews − even playing in the Czarist army − up to World War One.  He immigrated to America and after a brief stint as a furrier, began to make a living with his clarinet. From 1925 until his death in 1989, Dave Tarras set the standard for klezmer musicianship and virtuosity.  Even the great be-bop artists Charlie Parker and Miles Davis travelled to the Catskills to study the technique of this complex and compelling virtuoso. Read more…

‘Ruined’ an evocative story of rape and war

September 18, 2010 Leave a comment

By Cynthia Citron 

Cynthia Citron

LOS ANGELES –It’s difficult to imagine that a play based on atrocities committed during two decades of civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo could be construed as an entertaining evening in the theater.   Oddly enough, though, it is.

The play s called Ruined and it is currently on stage at the Geffen Playhouse.  Written by the prolific Lynn Nottage, it is a compendium of war stories that she and director Kate Whoriskey collected in Africa from women who had been raped and tortured during the war.  This was a war, you may remember, that used rape as a weapon against women and children.  It is also a war that left more than five million people dead.

Nottage, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as countless other major awards for this play, has brought nearly all the original New York cast to Los Angeles for this production.  And they are so extraordinary that you will be hard-pressed to believe that they didn’t come directly from Congo itself. Read more…

Jerusalem spends a day without traffic lights

September 18, 2010 Leave a comment

By Judy Lash Balint

Judy Lash Balint

JERUSALEM — I know most Jews call Yom Kippur by other names, but here in Jerusalem, it’s the Day of No Traffic Lights. There are no traffic lights because there’s no traffic on Yom Kippur in Jerusalem. The city just turns off the lights for 25 hours. Imagine—an entire country without any motor vehicle traffic apart from emergency vehicles and security patrols. The quiet is absolutely stunning. Starting from sundown on erev Yom Kippur, 25 hours of blissful peace and quiet. Think of the negative carbon footprint impact! No traffic; radio and TV stations are silent; no phones ringing; no home appliances whirring; no airplanes overhead—you can actually hear the wind in the trees and the song of the birds.

Pedestrians share the road with bicycles ridden by hundreds of secular Israelis who savor the day as a safe opportunity to try out their biking skills with no annoying traffic lights or crazy Israeli drivers. But the overwhelming sense is of a people taking a complete day to evaluate and perhaps change their lives.

Walking to Kol Nidre, the streets are thronged with people clad in white, to signify purity and a withdrawal for one day from the vanities of our usual fancy clothing.

Every synagogue is packed to overflowing, and several hundred community centers around the country also offer Yom Kippur services with emphasis on discussion and openness for those who might never before stepped foot in a synagogue. Read more…

Commentary: A crucial settlement concern

September 18, 2010 Leave a comment

By Bruce S. Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker

PHILADELPHIA — “Everybody loses if there is no peace.” So stated Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House to herald the revival of peace talks.

Too bad Israeli troops were not around to keep the peace the night before on the road to the West Bank settlement of Beit Hagal. What two women and two men had to lose were their lives, near Hebron.

Nothing justifies how these savages fired upon their car and removed the victims from the vehicle when they shot them again to ensure that they were dead. The New York Times carried a photo of Hodaya Ames, 9, as she wept next to the draped body of her mother, Tali Ames, 45, who had been pregnant and was also a grandmother.

However, the Israeli government under the current and past administrations – whether right-wing or left-leaning – knows that the Aug. 31 slaughter is the latest in an ongoing pattern of Arab attacks in the decades since the settlements swelled in the West Bank. Read more…