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Barry Rosenblatt's Fundraiser:

Polish folk music/Klezmer Project

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Barry Rosenblatt


Polish folk music and Klezmer share similar historical roots. They sound very similar. Klezmer comes from a long history back to Middle East/Arabian, with a 12-note scale (lots of sharps and flats). Polish folk music reflects European 8-note scale (fewer sharps and flats). If you take a Polish melody and put it into a 12-note scale, you have what sounds like Klezmer. Jews have lived in Poland for many centuries, back as far as 1,000 AD. Wherever Jews have lived in the world, Jewish music always absorbed modalities (sounds, rhythm, sentiment, etc.) from local folk music. So just as there is Jewish music (called Ladino) influenced from Jewish life in Moslem Spain, so also there is Klezmer in Poland that absorbed from and reflects local Polish folk music. Historical background Before WWII, the largest population of Jews outside Israel lived in Poland. After the Holocaust and 50 years of Soviet domination (and enforced anti-Semitism), the Jewish population today in Poland is very small. Most Jews in Poland today only recently discovered some Jewish connection in their family. Their parents hid this to stay safe; so their children (now adults) know nothing about what is Judaism. Also, there is a growing interest among non-Jewish Poles to learn about Judaism. Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland (FJRP), based in Los Angeles, supports the creation and growth of new Progressive Jewish congregations in Poland. This is organized under a federation of Jewish congregations called: Beit Polska. Beit Polska offers education to Polish people who are recently discovering their family connection to Judaism; and also to non-Jewish Poles who want to learn. Many who come through this training decide to make formal conversion as Jews. I was in Poland in July 2014, to help the Beit Polska federation to raise funds by creating non-profit business ventures. I discovered that very few of Poles today who are converted to Judaism look "Jewish." They look like any other Polish person. All Jews of the previous generation (with culturally distinctive clothing, haircut, etc.) were either exterminated or left the country. They don't exist in Poland today. How music can help We want to show Polish people that traditional Polish folk music and Klezmer share similar historical roots over many centuries: We are really one people with shared cultures. The Project Our pilot project will tour 3 cities in Poland: Krakow, Lublin, and Warsaw. We are bringing a renowned Klezmer ethnologist and performer (Yale Strom: Our teams on the ground in each city will recruit adults and school youth who can play traditional Polish folk music. At the workshops in each city, we will prepare a program of Polish folk and Klezmer music. And then we will demonstrate the similarities in a public concert. We will bring all sectors of the local community to the concert, to hear our musical message: "We are one people with shared culture." Cost of tickets to attend will be very minimum, to encourage wide-community attendance. Why we need funds We need funds for the following: 1. International travel for Yale and myself. 2. Local travel and lodging/food for the travelling group of 4 people (2 people in Poland will join our travelling team) 3. Rental of venues for workshops and concerts 4. Local publicity in Poland I would be so very grateful for your help to make this musical-message tour a reality.



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