Jewish Sounds of Music Celebrated at Penn

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Music lovers celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Robert and Molly Freedman Jewish Sound Archive at the University of Pennsylvania with a special afternoon concert.

It was an afternoon of all that Yiddish jazz as revelers came to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Robert and Molly Freedman Jewish Sound Archive at the University of Pennsylvania on an early September afternoon.

The crowd clapped and sang along with the Dan Blacksberg Ensemble at the concert held at Penn’s Hall of Flags.


The Freedmans, long noted for their authority and expertise on Jewish music, donated their massive collection of Yiddish and Jewish music after what started out as a hobby turned into a massive font of information for scholars and fans.

And Robert Freedman says the popularity of Jewish music is soaring.

“I could see on their faces” how much the audience enjoyed the show, he says.

But that doesn’t really surprise him: Artists hailing from such countries as the former Soviet Union, England and Germany “are writing new lyrics, new songs in Yiddish.”

As for those who think Yiddish is on its last legs, Freedman cites an article that appeared in Commentary more than half-a-century ago, saying that Yiddish was dead. In 2014, he says, “younger people are coming to their identity through this music.”

Why? The answer is simple, he avers: “Jewish music has power!”

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