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Jewish learning From Challenge to Opportunity

By Amy Lieberman and Cantor Lynn Torgove

We were hoping to start this academic year like most other—gathering Kol Arev, our chamber choir at Hebrew College, to sing beautiful Jewish music. But, given that singing together in the same space is not possible during the pandemic, we had to shift gears—to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again, as the song goes. We had to get more creative.

With the support of Hebrew College’s leadership, in place of a “normal” Kol Arev season of rehearsing and performing, Hebrew College is celebrating Kol Arev’s 10th anniversary of making music by presenting a brand new two-semester online course called L’Chaim: Bringing A Yiddish Fiddler to Life! The course will be offered through Hebrew College’s Me’ah Select, one of the College’s community education programs, and will consist of eight 90-minute classes on Mondays from 4:30-6 p.m. starting Monday, October 19. The beauty of this collaboration with Me’ah Select is that anyone who wants to explore this rich subject is welcome!

Topics during the first semester will include exploring the literary roots of Fiddler in the stories of Sholem Aleichem, the Yiddish Theater and its influence on American Musical Theater, the cultural impact of Fiddler on both Jewish and non-Jewish communities from Broadway to Tokyo, and the broader issues of the Jewish Experience and Identity on the stage. The second semester will be a deeper dive into the musical language of Fiddler and its connection to Jewish music, the Yiddish Language and its dialects as used in productions from the Second Avenue theaters of the early Twentieth Century to the recent production of the Yiddish Fiddler, along with an acting session on building a physical stage character, coaching of Yiddish diction for choral numbers, and music and staging rehearsals for future performance.

We are especially thrilled to announce our line-up of EXCEPTIONAL guest speakers:

  • Zalmen Mlotek, the Music Director of the recent production of the Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof and the Artistic Director of the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, the longest continuous running Yiddish Theater in the world
  • Dr. Jeremy Dauber, Professor of Yiddish Language and Culture and Director of the Institute of Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University, author of the first comprehensive biography of Sholem Aleichem, The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye
  • Dr. Alisa Solomon, Professor of Journalism and Director in Arts Concentration, M.A. Program, Columbia University, author of Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof, the highly acclaimed first comprehensive history of the cultural impact of Fiddler on the Roof
  • Rabbi Jordan Schuster, Hebrew College faculty member, previously taught Yiddish at Columbia University and teaches Hasidic Literature at Hebrew College
  • Dr. Barbara Wallace Grossman, Professor in the department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at Tufts University, theater historian, voice specialist, director, and author with strong interests as a researcher and practitioner in contemporary musical theater
  • Dr. Cindy Rosenthal, Professor of Drama and Dance, and Co-director of Women’s Studies at Hofstra University, a scholar in the area of Jewish Identity in the American Theater

Join us!

View the course flyer and register here. Explore the full range of Me’ah Select courses on our website.

Amy LiebermanAmy Lieberman is Head of Vocal Arts for the Hebrew College Cantorial Program. She conducts Hebrew College’s Kol Arev Chamber Choir, coaches art song, and teaches conducting. She holds degrees from Stanford University, Boston University, and Yale School of Music.

Cantor Lynn TorgoveCantor Lynn Torgove`12 has been teaching at Hebrew College since 2005 where she served as Head of Vocal Arts from 2012-2020 before becoming the program’s director in fall 2020. She has an international classical music career as a soloist in opera, contemporary music and early music and is a well-known soloist in Jewish music. 


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