(**See Link Below to View Program**)
I am still coming down from my high from my first successful Zoom performance of Tears, Joy, and Hope: Yiddish Songs Written in the Jewish Ghetto. Zoom does have its limitations, but I could not have done this without my new creative team: my incredible student intern Ariella Blum-Lemberg, my talented video editor Shaun Wood, and my dedicated sound engineer Paul Levitt. With the help of my team, I was able to feature more historical photos, archival footage, and further research on the 1,000 ghettos established all through Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The newly added English subtitles by Shaun that accompanied every phrase sung in Yiddish made the songs all the more powerful and moving.
As the featured presenter for the City of West Hollywood’s April Yom HaShoah event, I was able to virtually share my passion for presenting songs written in the Jewish Ghettos of Eastern Europe between 1939-1945. The inner strength that compelled writers and composers to continue to create while facing death was heard by over 130 virtual viewers from countries around the world!
Even though I have heard and sung these songs dozens of times, I still found myself getting emotional during one of the most powerful songs written during that time: Zog Nit Keyn Mol, “Never Say,” written by 21-year-old poet Hirsch Glick who did not survive. It is a song of resistance and resilience written about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The song quickly spread to other Jewish ghettos, even reaching the concentration camps and resistance fighters in the forests carrying with it a message of hope and strength. The song is usually sung standing. Click below to see my performance of Zog Nit Keyn Mol.
Upon hearing of the program’s success, I hope you will be happy to know that for those of you who could not attend, it is not too late. The City of West Hollywood recorded the event and has made it available to me so I could in turn share it with you. Click below to watch the performance on YouTube.
If you tuned in to the performance or watched it at a later date, I’d love to hear your thoughts! I am always looking for ways to improve this program and continue sharing it with others. And if you know of any communities, schools, or organizations that would be enriched by hearing and learning about these songs, please don’t hesitate to share them with me. Although I am spearheading this project, I believe these songs belong to all of us and it is only through community that we can truly continue to share these beautiful messages of hope, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit.
The performance/documentary I am currently producing ensures that the music created in the Jewish ghettos of Eastern Europe will not be forgotten. It is my hope that my recent Zoom experience will be the starting point that generates a powerful documentary. I look forward to sharing this new adventure with you as it unfolds.
Behind the Scenes with Tears, Joy, and Hope!
With the help of sound engineer Paul Levitt, my musical ensemble and I were able to have a very productive rehearsal. Paul set us up to be monitored and miked, enabling us to hear the subtle nuances of the newly written arrangements composed by Zachory Mayer and Michelle Green Willner. The pictures below were taken at our socially distanced and masked rehearsal in my own backyard! Ben Gown is on accordion, Diana Parmeter is on cello, and Paul Levitt stepped away from his soundboard to take these pictures.