Minutes of Meeting

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Date: March 12, 2000

Location: University of Dayton, Alumni Hall

Meeting Topic: Dreaming in Yiddish, Adrienne Cooper, Vocalist; Joyce Rosenzweig, Pianist; The richness of Yiddish music as explored through listening to the CD and Discussion

Facilitator: Ken Rosenzweig

Hosts: Ken Rosenzweig and Bert Buby

PRESENT: Robin Smith, Cochair; Donna Bealer, Joanne Beirise, Connie Breen, Bert Buby, Phyllis Duckwall, Erika Garfunkel, Frances Gross, Agnes Hannahs, Edith Holsinger, Bette Jasko, Bob Jasko, Jack Kelley, Jerry Kotler, Lorraine Kotler, Barbara Levine, Ken Lotney, John Magee, Anne Ringkamp, Ken Rosenzweig, Pat Searcy.

  1. Background
    1. Joyce Rosenzweig-Ken's cousin
      1. Faculty, Hebrew Union College-School of Sacred Music, New York.
      2. Teaches cantors in the Reform Movement of Judaism.
      3. Expert in Jewish and Yiddish music.
      4. Has performed in many cities around the United States and in many other countries, including Israel and Germany.
    2. Freda Rosenzweig-piano music teacher
      1. Ken's mother.
      2. Taught piano for more than 65 years in the home in Houston, Texas, that Ken grew up in.
      3. Joyce is her most successful student in the field of piano music.
      4. Ken was one of Freda's least successful piano students.
  2. Yiddish language
    1. Approximately 80% German-archaic form + mixture of other languages.
    2. Written with Hebrew characters.
    3. Spoken primarily by Jews of central and Eastern Europe.
    4. Language of culture and commerce, in contrast to Hebrew which was a language of religion.
    5. Since the destruction of the Jewish communities of Europe in the Holocaust, not many people speak Yiddish anymore.
  3. Format of presentation
    1. Twelve songs on the CD.
    2. Stop for reactions and discussion after each four songs.
    3. Conclude with Max Bruch, Kol Nidrei.
  4. Play the Yiddish CD1
    1. Zol zayn/What if...
    2. A kholem/A Dream
    3. Mayn feter Elye/My Uncle Elye
    4. Di mame/Shopping for Love
    5. Harbstlid/Autumn Song
    6. Vilne/Vilna
    7. An alter nign/An Old Song
    8. Zol Shoyn kumen di geule/Let the Redemption Come
    9. Borsht
    10. A gutn ovnt Brayne/Good Night, Brayne
    11. Der rebe/What the Rebbe Knows
    12. Yontev peysakh (or It's Good to Be a Jew)
    1. Premise of my presentation
      1. An important part of Dialogue has been sharing with people of the other faith what it means to be respectively a Jew or a Christian.
      2. Judaism is of course centered as a religion, but it is much more.
      3. It is a larger culture encompassing people of diverse viewpoints, even non-religious people and atheists.
      4. The Yiddish CD we have listened to may convey to some extent the breadth of Jewish culture.
      5. The Kol Nidrei selection that follows conveys to me some of the emotions that underlie my feeling of Jewishness, in the same way that songs like Ave Maria or Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus may convey to Christians emotional feelings related to their Christianity.
    2. Max Bruch, Kol Nidrei2
      1. Max Bruch was a German (non-Jewish) composer of the late nineteenth century (this is perhaps appropriate since we are engaged in Dialogue).
      2. Bruch's musical rendition of this ancient Jewish prayer was composed about 1880.
      3. Bruch does capture the emotional impact of this very important Jewish prayer.
      4. Kol Nidrei prayer is the opening prayer of the Yom Kippur service.
      5. Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement; on this day in September or October, Jews ask God for forgiveness for their sins.
      6. Kol Nidrei's actual words are distinct from the emotional meaning conveyed by its melody for Jews.
        1. Actual meaning: people who made promises to God during the year under duress (perhaps due to religious persecution) are released from their promises.
        2. Melody conveys the mournful sadness of a people who endured persecution and hardship throughout the ages.
      1. Open Discussion
      Respectfully submitted,

      Ken Rosenzweig, Secretary

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    Adreinne Cooper, Vocalist, Joyce Rosenzweig, Piano, Dreaming in Yiddish, Disc Makers, 1997.


Max Bruch, Gesamptwerk fuer Violoncello und Orchester, ebs records gmbh., 1991, Nationales Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Polen, Julius Berger-Violoncello, Antoni Wit-Dirigent. "Kol Nidrei, Adagio nach Hebraeischen Melodien fuer Violoncello und Orchester," op. 47.