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Music

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Peaches in Seattle

Playlist: Jewish Ladies Who Rock

by Rebecca Long
Allow the comfortingly familiar piano chords of track one, Vanessa Carlton’s certified jam “A Thousand Miles,” to transport you. Whether you’re “making your way downtown, walking fast,” or just “lying here,” there’s a song in this playlist for everyone.
Topics: Music, Music
Market at Minho by Sonia Delaunay, 1915

The Art of Gender Representation

by Sofia Heller

The words to SZA’s “Drew Barrymore” ring in my ears as I write this; the song serves as an anthem for the teen angst and insecurities I’ve been feeling since I got home from school today. Feeling lonely, feeling like I’m not living up to the standard of female beauty: SZA articulates the thoughts that have been running through my mind.

Topics: Painting, Music
Natalie Harder at her Bat Mitzvah

A Woman’s Place is in the Cantorate

by Natalie Harder

If you ask any member of Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, Massachusetts, they will tell you that Jodi Sufrin was made to be a cantor. Not only does she have a beautiful voice, but she radiates this soft warmth at all times—inviting everyone to take part in what she is saying or singing. From sing-alongs in Beth Elohim’s preschool to Friday night services, Cantor Sufrin has been a gentle, but nonetheless powerful female presence in my life. She is, and has always been, the type of person I (and every other young Jewish girl at my temple) aspire to be. And as I grew up and became the person I am today, I couldn’t have been luckier to have a role model like her, showing me what being a Jewish woman can mean.

A Besere Velt, 2016

Twenty Years of Singing for Bread and Roses

by Rebecca Long

This year, the Boston Workmen’s Circle Yiddish chorus, A Besere Velt (A Better World), will celebrate its 20th anniversary. I spoke with original chorus members, Michael Felsen and Jenny Silverman, about the choir’s conception, past, present, and future.

Topics: Music

Girls in Trouble: Women's Agency and Power in the Torah

Guest teacher Alicia Jo Rabins introduces two new study guides from her "Girls in Trouble" curriculum. By exploring the stories of the Sotah, and the daughters of Tzelofchad, participants consider women's agency and power in the Torah.

Man Wearing Native American Headdress

Inappropriate Appropriation

by Sofia Heller

My classmates started posting pictures from last year’s Coachella, their excitement for the music festival illuminating my phone screen. However, amidst all the elation, I couldn’t help but notice the troubling cultural appropriation that also filled the pictures. In the backgrounds of nearly every photo I saw, there were young women wearing bindis and feathered headdresses, and young men wearing war paint. Unfortunately, this insensitivity to and misappropriation of cultures is not specific to Coachella, nor is it a new problem in fashion.

Rising Voices Fellow Dorrit Corwin with her Grandfather

L’Dor V’Dor: A Legacy of Love

by Dorrit Corwin

My grandfather means something different to each and every person he’s met. To some, he’s kindness, always putting others before himself no matter the circumstances. To others, he’s community, building a network so wide that everyone he runs into is an old friend. To his parents, he was a miracle, not predicted to survive long past birth, or live to create all that he has in his lifetime. To me, he’s all of these things stitched together into one simple phrase: L’dor v’dor (from generation to generation).

"Free To Be You And Me" Album Cover by Marlo Thomas

45 Years of Free to Be You and Me

by Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr

When he was three, my son, Jacob, asked for Baby All Gone for Hanukkah. And I couldn't have been prouder.

Blame it on “Free to Be You & Me.” Like many of my generation, that album belonged to the soundtrack of my formative years. Teaching about gender equality in an informal and natural way, the songs and vignettes were snappy, clever, and extremely memorable.

Topics: Feminism, Music
Image of Carole King, 2008

Tribute to a Natural Woman

by Dorrit Corwin

Carole King has been a constant source of inspiration and fascination to me since I first listened to “You’ve Got a Friend” in second grade and was entranced by the live performance of Beautiful in Los Angeles. As a young Jewish girl hoping to one day pursue music journalism, I have learned many lessons from King as both an artist and as a strong, independent female.

Topics: Children, Music, Memoirs

Veronika Cohen

Veronika Wolf Cohen has shaped Israeli minds in two very different ways, by developing national music curricula and by leading innovative Israeli-Palestinian dialogue groups.

Kesha Praying

The Anthem I Needed

by  Emilia Diamant

Amidst all the glitter and alcohol, I knew Kesha was an actual talent. A friend directed me toward an NPR interview in which she talked about her deep love of Bob Dylan, the fact that she does most of her own songwriting, and her deeply artistic spirit. I was smitten.

Topics: Feminism, Music

Amy Bernstein

As leader of one of the largest Reconstructionist synagogues in the country, Rabbi Amy Bernstein has worked to create the welcoming community for others that she had longed for at an earlier age.

Eliana Light

Eliana Light has used her passion for music and Jewish education to engage children and adults in a relationship with the divine.

Marjorie Fisher

Marjorie Switow Fisher found inventive ways to improve children’s lives, from funding mobile dental clinics to using summer jobs as an opportunity for career training. Fisher majored in art at Marjorie Webster Junior College and graduated at the top of her class.

"Lilith: Demoness or Heroine?" with Alicia Jo Rabins

Join Alicia Jo Rabins: poet, musician, composer, and Jewish educator, as she introduces Girls in Trouble, her new curriculum based on her songs about women in the Bible. Learn about all that this curriculum has to offer and how to use it in your classroom, and participate in some of the activities from Alicia’s lesson about Lilith. Plus, hear Alicia perform her song about Lilith, live!

Rising Voices Fellow Madisen Siegel with her Best Friend Lucy

She Has Pink Hair and Just Doesn't Care

by Madisen Siegel

Lucy is easy to find. It’s easy to spot her bobbing pink hair in the crowd, though it might have a blue or purple undertone now. Even before she started dying her hair last year, Lucy made herself known. Whether it’s by singing at the top of her lungs – with perfect pitch, by the way – or boldly introducing herself to strangers left and right, Lucy is not like everyone else.

Topics: Schools, Music, Cantors

Dame Myra Hess

When the National Gallery closed during the London Blitz, Dame Myra Hess persuaded the gallery’s director to reopen for an immensely popular series of lunchtime classical concerts that gave the war-weary British an infusion of culture and beauty.

Nechama Hendel

Nechama Hendel was beloved for her soulful contributions to Israeli folk music, but when she seemed to betray her Jewish heritage, her fans turned their backs on her.

Ofra Haza

Ofra Haza earned an international reputation as a singer on the strength of her blend of pop and traditional Yemeni music.

Clara Haskil

Despite constant pain from scoliosis and a tumor on her optic nerve, pianist Clara Haskil became renowned for the purity and delicacy of her interpretations of Mozart and other classical composers.

Rachel Bloom

Rachel Bloom has combined her passion for musical theater, her gift for comedy, her feminist sensibility, and her roots in Jewish humor to create the award-winning show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Alicia Jo Rabins

With her indie rock song cycle Girls in Trouble, musician Alicia Jo Rabins has reinterpreted the women of the Bible for a modern audience.

Hannah Raises Her Voice

Learn how Hannah attempted to change her life by calling on God for help, and consider the power of asking for what you need or want in your own life.

Sarah's Sacrifice

One of the most famous stories in Genesis is the Binding of Isaac by his father Abraham (the Akeidah, in Hebrew). Sarah, Isaac’s mother, is noticeably absent from the text. Here we consider Sarah’s perspective, and how this foundational event in the Jewish origin story might have affected her.

Sing a New Song: Jews, Music, and the Civil Rights Movement

Using the letter of a Jewish civil rights activist and several freedom songs, explore how music is able to cross racial and religious boundaries and build community.

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