Meet 7 Orthodox Comics Who Are Making Comedy Kosher Again

Posted on December 11th, 2016
Simi Horwitz for The Jewish Daily Forward

Comedy isn’t kosher. Jewish law forbids Jews from voicing mockery, criticism and just plain negativity —precisely those elements that are part of almost all comic routines. But that’s just for starters. Ultra-Orthodox comics face a range of rules: no foul language, double entendres, or risqué allusions. If they’re performing for seriously Orthodox audiences, all comments about women (including wives and mothers) should be brief or cut altogether. Scandalous and even nonscandalous pop-culture references are out. And then there’s that pesky lashon hara, derogatory speech that is also forbidden.

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New Book Examines Jewish Identity and Jazz Music

Posted on December 4th, 2016
Written by JV Staff

Presents first comprehensive analysis of how jazz has been used to explore Jewish experience

Jazz history includes numerous contributions from Jewish artists, from Benny Goodman to John Zorn, who have played a major role in the development of the music from its birth in New Orleans to the present day. However, there has been little examination of why so many Jewish musicians gravitated to jazz or how they used the music to explore Jewish identity and experience.

Jews and Jazz: Improvising Ethnicity, a new book by Charles Hersch, chair of the Department of Political Science at Cleveland State University, seeks to answer these questions and shed light on how jazz music reflected and influenced “Jewishness” in 20th Century America.

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With Hanukkah just around the corner, find more great ideas in our Hanukkah Spotlight Kit 


Jewish-Yemeni culture comes alive in this incredible music

Posted on November 27th, 2016
From Israel Video Network

Meet Ravid Kahalani, songwriter and lead singer of the popular Israeli band ‘Yemen Blues.’Ravid grew up in Israel surrounded by Jewish-Yemeni culture and later discovered his love for African music and Balkan orthodox liturgy. His music merges all these sounds to create a completely unique style. It’s only natural for him to sing in Yemeni-Arabic, and he dreams of performing in Yemen one day.

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The Young Israeli Singer Celebrating Her Moroccan Heritage

Posted on November 20th, 2016
BY AVISHAY ARTSY for Jewniverse

Mizrahi music is enjoying a resurgence in Israel, with a new wave of musicians celebrating their North African and Middle Eastern roots. Atop that wave is the young singer Neta Elkayam, whose grandparents came from Casablanca and Tinghir in Morocco.

The Jerusalem-based musician sings mournful ballads as well as rousing foot-stompers, often accompanied by piano, violin or darbuka (a type of hand drum). She covers legendary Moroccan-Jewish singers like Samy El Maghribi and Zohra El Fassia and adds original compositions in Darija — Moroccan Arabic — with her own touch of Israeli soul.

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Leonard Cohen, ‘Master of Erotic Despair’ Takes His Leave

Posted on November 13th, 2016
Seth Rogovoy for The Jewish Daily Forward

Rock-poet Leonard Cohen, the “master of erotic despair” and the writer of dozens of modern classics that have been performed and recorded by everyone from John Cale to Judy Collins, Willie Nelson, U2 and Rufus Wainwright, died on November 10 at age 82.

The Montreal-born poet, novelist, and folk-rock singer-songwriter is widely regarded as one of an elite few songwriters whose work transcends all the rest; in the wake of Bob Dylan’s recent Nobel Prize for Literature, Cohen’s name was most frequently mentioned as another perhaps deserving of the prize, along with Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon.

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