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It Sounds Better in Amharic It Sounds Better in Amharic
Thursday, August 26, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In his one-man play, It Sounds Better in Amharic, the Ethiopian-born Israeli actor Yossi Vassa humorously contrasts life in the old world and the new, mulling over the differences between traditional and modern ways of dating and the respective virtues of traveling by donkey or Lamborghini. He also narrates his family's 400-mile journey from Ethiopia to Sudan—from where, in 1984, the Israeli air force flew 8,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Vassa's family covered the 400 miles on foot, in three months. "Not to brag," he comments, "but it took the children of Israel 40 years."
Psalms for the Perplexed Psalms for the Perplexed
Wednesday, August 18, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Some mainstream Israeli musicians have recently been turning for material to religious texts; others have become immersed in the musical traditions of Sephardi Jewry. The two trends have come together in a new album, Mizmorei Nevukhim ("Psalms for the Perplexed"), by Kobi Oz.
Who Can Retell? Who Can Retell?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Among the holidays of the Jewish year, Hanukkah may surpass even Passover in the sheer number and variety of the songs devoted to recalling, retelling, and rejoicing in the events of the past and their evergreen message. For American Jews of a certain age nostalgic for their childhood, Diane Ashton deftly surveys the English-language ditties of the 1950’s, from “Who Can Retell” to “I Had a Little Dreydl” and beyond. Today’s casual consumers have their pick of dozens of new CD’s in English, Yinglish, and Hebrew, folk, rock, and heavy metal, many of them rivaling the Christmas market for kitsch. But...
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Editors' Picks
Was Bach an Anti-Semite? David Conway, Jewish Chronicle. His St. John Passion has anti-Jewish passages, and Hitler loved him.  But in light of Bach’s life, it is no surprise that his work was preserved by Jews.
Radio Days Jenna Weissman Joselit, From Under the Fig Tree. Thirty years ago, musicologist Henry Sapoznik discovered a trove of 1,000 recordings of inter-war American Yiddish radio shows.
Listening to the Lemba Eugene Ulman, Tablet. In Zimbabwe, the most well-known group of Africa’s “lost Jews” have maintained a distinct ritual, culture, and mythology—along with their own musical tradition. (With audio)
Wrong on Wagner Norman Lebrecht, Jewish Chronicle. The decision by Tel Aviv University to ban a private performance of Wagner’s music is a sign of increasing hysteria in Israel - not to mention artistic deafness. 
Johnny Cash's Christian Zionism David Brinn, Jerusalem Post. June Carter Cash "had a dream in which Johnny was preaching to the multitudes at the Sea of Galilee, and she was intent on seeing him do it for real."
Wagner the Dog Jonathan S. Tobin, Contentions. What does it say about Jewish sensibilities that a month after Tel Aviv University hosted a "Nakba Day" commemoration, it judged a concert of Wagner's music to be beyond the pale?
And It Came to Pass at Midnight Michael Pitkowsky, Menachem Mendel. Audio and video of several renditions of "Karev Yom," a Byzantine-era piyyut sung at the end of the seder.    
What Passover Sounded Like 370 Years Ago Fred MacDowell, On the Main Line. Musical notation for two end-of-seder songs in a 17th-century Haggadah is brought to life in a Toronto Jewish high school. (Video)    
National Anthem Philologos, Forward. Israel wouldn't have to abandon "Hatikvah" to have an anthem which Muslim and Christian citizens would be proud to sing: just restore some of Naphtali Herz Imber's original lyrics.
The Dreyfus of Classical Music Benjamin Ivry, Forward. Once vilified by Schumann and Wagner for not being German enough, now Giacomo Meyerbeer's music is criticized for not being Jewish enough.