'The Times They Were a-Changin’: Jewish Protest Singers of the 1960s


with Seth Rogovoy, live from Hudson, NY

Sunday November 21, 2021, 7:00 - 8:00 PM EST

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This program honors the religious leadership at Temple Beth Shalom: Rabbis Jay Perlman, Todd Markley and Julie Bressler and Cantorial Soloist DJ Fortine through the generosity of TBS members Mary Kraft and Jeffrey Kaufman Seth Rogovoy explores how while they may have shed the Yiddish language, Jewish singers and songwriters perpetuated the tradition of Yiddish songs of social justice in the countercultural ferment of the 1960s. Musicians ranging from Bob Dylan to Phil Ochs to Janis Ian to Country Joe and the Fish (plus Tom Lehrer, Si Kahn, Paul Simon, Jefferson Airplane) wrote and sang songs that became anthems of the civil rights, antiwar, and women’s movements, among other expressions of political protest. Through spoken word, music, images, and video, we examine how these Jewish artists addressed many of the same issues their Yiddish forebears tackled just a few decades earlier and how Jewish values (e.g., Tikkun olam) seem to have informed their work. The talk also includes how non-Jews including Pete Seeger and Joan Baez wound up being the caretakers of the tradition and transitional figures in bringing Yiddish protest music alive as part of the folk revival. We see a video clip of Seeger singing a Yiddish labor song — in Yiddish! Seth Rogovoy is a writer, radio commentator, lecturer, and concert and record producer. Termed “American Jewry’s greatest Dylan scholar” by Religion News Service, Seth is the author of Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet (Scribner, 2009) a full-length analysis of Bob Dylan’s life and work, and The Essential Klezmer: A Music Lover’s Guide to Jewish Roots and Soul Music (Algonquin Books, 2000), the all-time bestselling guide to klezmer music, and which has been translated into Chinese and Korean.

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