Taking Jewish Music beyond Klezmer

For most people, “Jewish music” implies klezmer, East European folk tunes, or liturgical compositions. But for over a century, Jewish composers have created art music based on a variety of Jewish themes. At a recent concert, reviewed by Barrymore Laurence Scherer, the Ariel Quartet performed some of the best examples from Israel in particular:

The program showcased three generations of Israeli composers, and featured works by Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984), Mark Kopytman (1929-2011), and Menachem Wiesenberg (b. 1950). Ben-Haim immigrated to Israel from Germany; Kopytman, from Soviet Ukraine. Mr. Wiesenberg is a sabra (an Israeli native). None of their rigorously modernist music displays the overt Yiddish sound of, say, the klezmer tune that enlivens the third movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, or even the deliberate Hebraic flavor of Bloch’s tone poem for cello and orchestra, Schelomo. But when you listen carefully, the music’s roots make themselves apparent.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Classical music, Israeli music, Jewish music, Paul ben Haim

The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship