Library to host Yiddish song performance, stories

‘An Introduction to Jewish Heritage’ set for March 19

📸 Courtesy photos

SOUTHBRIDGE — An evening of Yiddish music and tales is on the docket at the library later this month.

The Jacob Edwards Library will host “An Introduction to Jewish Heritage with Yiddish Song” on March 19 at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Southbridge Cultural Council.

Yiddish, the thousand-year-old language of the Jews from Eastern Europe contains within its vocabulary, idiom and grammar the experiences, world view, and culture of Ashkenazic Jewry. In this program, Yosl Kurland will perform Yiddish and Loshn Koydesh (holy tongue or Hebrew) songs of lullabye, love and liturgy, social justice, of kindness and of hope spiced with the humor of Yiddish vaudeville. The Yiddish is made clear with story, explanation, and projected translations. In introducing Jewish music and culture to diverse audiences, Yosl works to foster intercultural understanding. Yosl will be accompanied on accordion by Aaron Bousel.

Vocalist and educator Yosl Kurland, a founding member of the Wholesale Klezmer Band ( since 1982, performs and writes Yiddish songs and synagogue music. With his band he performed widely for weddings, bar/bas mitzves and concerts, including at Carnegie Hall with Pete Seeger, and has taught workshops at elementary, middle and high schools on Yiddish music, dance, literature. He developed programs on “Yiddish Songs of Cultural Resistance in the Holocaust” and “A Jewish Perspective on Social Justice in Song”. He taught history at an inner-city alternative high school for 17 years using period songs to engage students and to illustrate events more vividly. He teaches adult education classes on Yiddish language and literature as well as klezmer music and is a cantor for Temple Israel of Greenfield.

Wholesale Klezmer Band accordionist Aaron Bousel began playing the instrument at age ten, though it wasn’t until 1995 that he began to play klezmer. He has participated in workshops at KlezKanada in Quebec and Yidstock at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst. Soon after moving to Amherst in 1997 he became accordionist for the band Hu Tsa Tsa with which he has played for life-cycle celebrations and local synagogue functions. He is also accordionist for the Yiddishkeit Klezmer ensemble and has accompanied Mak’hela, the Jewish chorus of western Massachusetts.


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