rozhinkes mit mandlen
Jewish lullabies as a mirror of jewish life.

This workshop gives an intimate view into jewish system of traditions and values of the “shtetl“ in the 18th and 19th centuries, using the example of jewish cradle songs. At the same time the effects of industrialization and class warfare are shown in these songs. How lullabies become an almost grotesque contradictory situation in the face of national socialist brutality in the ghettos will also be covered. We will learn these songs and also get to know through a jewish short story the jewish religious groupings of the 19th and 20th centuries.

shabbat shalom! – khag sameakh!
Songs of jewish festivals.

The Jewish people is not only the people of the book, but also a singing people. Especially on festivals and holidays! On the example of Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah, Purim and Passover, we will learn the songs and their connection to holiday traditions and customs. The songs of the Synagogue, at community festivals, and in the family have in common that many are real folk songs, or became folk songs. The songs make clear what sorts of things jews commemorate in their festivals, and in what way they express their commemoration. We will explore all of this by singing together.

mir hoybn di hent!
Yearning for freedom and revolution in jewish songs.

The yearning for physical, spiritual, social and individual salvation has a very great place in Jewish tradition. The expectation of a just social order or a complete reunification of the people and land of Israel is not merely limited to a consolation of better times to come. This yearning is a clear political demand made in the here and now. The sometimes burning songs of the Zionist movement and the Jewish-Socialist Workers Alliance make this clear. Both groups were founded in 1897, and mirror lively internal Jewish controversies, but also the common yearning for freedom grounded in religious tradition. Together we will learn and sing songs that express this yearning.

ani l'dodi vedodi li
A workshop on jewish love songs.

Secular folk songs in the jewish tradition began to have an independent existence from religious songs only after the beginning of the enlightenment movement. Up until the 16th century, folk songs were practically identical with religious songs. Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs in the Bible, is a perfect example of erotic language as an expression of the love of G"d. The title of this workshop comes from this book. In the workshop, we will sing together Jewish songs expressing the love of G"d, of Israel, of Torah, and the loved one.

kushn zol er mikh mit di kushn fun zajn moyl
A workshop on Jewish love songs (Part II)

The Song of Songs or the Song of Solomon was originally actually a collection of poems recited and sung in honor of the bride and groom at wedding festivities. In Jewish tradition the erotic language of the Songs of Songs pertains to the love relationship between G-d and the Jewish people as well as to that between G-d and all humans. Until the 16th C. folksongs and religious songs were often almost identical. A separation and independent development of the two came only after the onset of the Age of Enlightenment. Following the initial, successful workshops involving the subject of Jewish love songs, Daniel Kempin will introduce and teach the participants more songs about the love to G-d, to Israel, to Torah, and to one’s lover. No previous knowledge of the genre is necessary and participants are invited to bring their instruments.

a mol iz geven a nign
A Klezmer workshop with Daniel Kempin and Dimitry Reznik

Klezmer music is ”in.” Giora Feidman, the legend of Klezmer Clarinet, can be heard in the award winning Steven Spielberg film ”Schindler’s List.” Even world stars of the classical music scene such as Itzak Perlman perform and record Klezmer music and an internet search under ”Klezmer” turns up thousands of web sites.
But Klezmer, as presented by Daniel Kempin and Dimitry Reznik in this workshop, is far more than just a popular fad among many in today’s multi-cultural landscape. The leaders of the course convey the cultural depth and meaning inherent in Klezmer to the participants. Focus of the workshop will be active music making based on traditional Klezmer pieces and will include work on a ”Klezmer-Suite.”
Prerequisite: Basic music skills on one’s instrument.

oyfn veg
Exil and Emigration in Jewish Songs

The history of the Jews is an unbroken chain of wanderings. It begins in the Bibel when Abraham is called to leave his land and reaches a climax with the exodus from Egypt. Since the banishment of the Jewish people from the holy land 2000 years ago and even after the founding of the State of Israel, a sense of yearning for return has been and remains a central part of their existance. On the other hand G-d’s call to Abraham was also a call for a return to oneself, to leave trusted paths and search for new ones. In this workshop Hebrew and Yiddish songs on this theme will be introduced and learned. Special emphasis will be placed on the historical aspects of modern migration. No previous knowledge of the genre is necessary and participants are invited to bring their instruments.

A Conversational Concert on the history of Zionism with
Prof. Micha Brumlik and Daniel Kempin

Zionism – apart from the political reality – has always been the expression of a deep yearning for Jews; a yearning that constantly finds itself in conflict with the political and social reality in the Diaspora as well as in the Land of Israel. This yearning has been expressed through literature, poesie and a vast amount of music; folk, art, and pop songs. In this Conversational Concert singer-songwriter Daniel Kempin, together with Micha Brumlik, Professor of Pedagogics at the Frankfurt University examine the history of the Zionist Movement and the Land of Israel as reflected in these songs. Daniel Kempin expresses the ideas and their accompanying spirit in music while Micha Brumlik applies a historical framework to the development with clear and poignant commentaries. A musical – historical perspective of panoramic proportions arises, spanning from the immigration songs of young Jewish pioneers from Russia in the 1890s to the Mediterranian melodies of the Tel Aviv Disco scene in the struggle for peace in 2000. Construction, destruction, war, defeat and victory, and always the unappeasable longing for peace are transformed through this program into something other than what one finds in the history books; something audible and deeply tangible.

English translation by Matthew Peaceman