Durham News: Community

On Faith: Beth El Synagogue to hold Yiddish songfest Oct. 26

Beth El Synagogue will host its fifth annual Yiddish songfest at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26. Proceeds from the concert, known as “What’s Not to Like,” will go to Urban Ministries of Durham.

This year’s performers include 13 singers and four instrumentalists. Most of the songs are folk songs, but a few are of 20th century theatrical or cabaret origin. Some old, some newer, some sad, some happy and one or two with a bit of comedy.

The music is not klezmer. Singers will be accompanied by piano, two violins and viola da gamba.

The two violinists are Jenny Li and Michael Lin, Duke undergraduates. Fred Thomsen comes down from Maryland each year to play viola da gamba. He used to be at UNC but moved to Johns Hopkins.

Gary Berman, a Durham lawyer, plays the piano and arranges most of the music.

Of the singers, Jane Peppler is a professional musician and a fixture on the Triangle music scene. Karen Kumin also makes her living as a singer; she is a cantor for Yavneh synagogue in Raleigh. Two other singers, Suzie Bolotin and Susan Cohen, have sung professionally.

Other singers are David Fleischer, who works for the City of Durham; Amy Rosenthal, medical director of the federal prison hospital at Butner; and Steve Cassell, a trained cantor. Both Cassell and Nancy Rocamora sing with the Choral Society of Durham.

Shana Barbieri and Rabbi Daniel Greyber of Beth El are also among the singers.

Sheva Zucker will emcee the concert. She learned both English and Yiddish as a child and is a Yiddish teacher, translator, editor and scholar.

A transliteration and an English translation of the Yiddish lyrics will be provided.

Admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Call 919-682-7468 or email yiddishsongfest@aol.com for tickets or more information.

Beth El is located at 1004 Watts St.

Shtetl author to visit

Scott Hilton Davis, publisher at Jewish Storyteller Press and former executive producer at UNC-TV, will be at The Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth St. at 7 p.m. Thursday. Oct. 23, to talk about “Memories and Scenes: Shtetl, Childhood, Writers,” for which he wrote the introduction.

“Memories and Scenes” is the first English translation of 11 autobiographical short stories by 19th-century Yiddish writer Jacob Dinezon. In this collection, Dinezon recalls his childhood years in the shtetl, the unusual and memorable characters he encountered along the way, and the events that led to his passion for becoming a writer.

Dinezon was a friend and mentor to almost every major Jewish literary figure of his day, including Sholem Abramovitsh (Mendele Moykher Sforim), I. L. Peretz, Sholem Aleichem, S. An-ski, and Abraham Goldfaden. He played a central role in the development of Yiddish as a modern literary language. Scott Davis’s career spans more than 30 years in public broadcasting. He has worked as a producer and director for public television stations and networks in California, New York, Ohio, Maryland and North Carolina.

Shtetl author to visit

Scott Hilton Davis, publisher at Jewish Storyteller Press and former executive producer at UNC-TV, will be at The Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth St. at 7 p.m. Thursday. Oct. 23, to talk about “Memories and Scenes: Shtetl, Childhood, Writers,” for which he wrote the introduction.

“Memories and Scenes” is the first English translation of 11 autobiographical short stories by 19th-century Yiddish writer Jacob Dinezon. In this collection, Dinezon recalls his childhood years in the shtetl, the unusual and memorable characters he encountered along the way, and the events that led to his passion for becoming a writer.

Dinezon was a friend and mentor to almost every major Jewish literary figure of his day, including Sholem Abramovitsh (Mendele Moykher Sforim), I. L. Peretz, Sholem Aleichem, S. An-ski, and Abraham Goldfaden. He played a central role in the development of Yiddish as a modern literary language. Scott Davis’s career spans more than 30 years in public broadcasting. He has worked as a producer and director for public television stations and networks in California, New York, Ohio, Maryland and North Carolina.

Harmony Male Chorus

The Harmony Male Chorus of Holland Chapel AME Zion Church, 360 Burgess Road, Apex, will celebrate its anniversary Sunday.

Guests will include New Hope Missionary Baptist Male Chorus, Thompson Chapel AME Zion Church Male Chorus, Henderson Grove Missionary Baptist Male Chorus, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Male Chorus, and L&B Singers.

The celebration begins at 2:30 p.m. and the public is invited.

Duke organ tours

Christopher Jacobson, the relatively new organist at Duke Chapel gives tours of the chapel’s two main organs at 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

The sessions in the main sanctuary include an overview of organ music and histories of the chapel organs as well as a demonstration of both organs. The free tours last about an hour.

Jacobson can play all 257 of Johann Bach’s works for the organ in two days, a fete he performed during the recent J.S. Bach Marathon concert at the Co-Cathedral in Houston, Texas.

He said it takes about 22 hours to play all of them. During the concert, he plays for about 90 minutes at a time, takes a 10-minute break and then plays again. He does that seven times each day.

Trained at the Eastman School of Music and St. Olaf College, Jascobson came to Duke last summer having been an organist at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, S.C., and the National Cathedral in Washington.

At Duke, he plays for all three of the regular chapel services, university events and recitals as well as the organ in Goodson Chapel during Divinity School services.

Asked to compare Duke Chapel with the other places he has played the organ, Jacobson called Duke Chapel “unique.”

“It is home to three of the finest organs in the world. It’s kind of like having a Ferrari, a Porsche and a Maserati in your garage all at the same time,” he said.

Family Fall Festival

The annual Family Fall Festival is on tap Oct. 31 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 1320 Umstead Road.

The gym will be transformed into a family Fall Festival house where a hot dog dinner, games, bounce house and a cupcake walk are waiting for young participants. Trunk or Treat will also be here for parents and children to enjoy.

The festival, set from 5:30 to 8 p.m. will be located in the parking lot behind the Family Life Center and there is no cost for either the event or the food.

The church is inviting the larger community as a drop-in event so families can participate and then continue to have fun in their own neighborhoods for traditional trick or treating.

All are welcome.

Contact Flo Johnston at fjohnston314@gmail.com or call 910-361-4135.

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