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Music

Ruth Kisch-Arendt

Ruth Kisch-Arendt, an Orthodox Jew who celebrated the musical and cultural traditions of German lieder, performed the songs of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Wagner before small-town German Jewish audiences during some of the most violent outbreaks of antisemitism in the 1930s. These performances stand as a poignant and ironic reminder of the inhumanity of the Holocaust.

Carole King

Carole King, a nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn, gave Aretha Franklin reason to croon “A Natural Woman,” inspired Little Eva to tell a generation about the latest dance craze in “The Loco-Motion,” and let James Taylor warm our hearts with “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Regina Kaplan

“Woman of valor” and “a tiny dynamo”—these phrases describe Regina Kaplan (nicknamed Kappy), nurse, teacher, hospital administrator, and health care innovator.

Esther Rachel Kaminska

In the first pages of her autobiography My Life, My Theater Ida Kaminska writes of her mother Esther Rachel, termed “the Jewish Eleonora Duse,” that she was educated by three forces: “the poverty she saw with her clever eyes, the suffering with which her great heart empathised, the injustice against which she was able to rebel. All became components of Esther Rachel Kaminska.”

Miriam Kainy

“Men have been running this world for thousands of years. Obviously in a lousy fashion. Now it’s our turn.” These words are typical of Miriam Kainy, winner of the Israel Prime Minister’s Literary Prize in 1997, who regards herself as the “big mamma” of Israeli women playwrights—a claim which is difficult to contest.

Hagar Kadima

Until the year 2000, when Hagar Kadima founded the Israel Women Composers’ Forum, which she chaired until 2005, not even connoisseurs could have named more than a handful of significant Israeli women composers. The Forum is especially significant when one considers that as of the early 1990s, out of approximately two hundred Israeli works performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (founded in 1936), only a handful were written by women composers.

Tziporah H. Jochsberger

In March 1939, Tziporah Jochsberger’s musical talents won her acceptance to the Palestine Academy of Music in Jerusalem, good fortune that ultimately saved her life. Since then, Jochsberger has used her music to stir the Jewish soul.

Jewish Women and Jewish Music in America

American Jewish music has expanded vastly in variety, range, and quality of activities. Jews brought to America their secular-folk and sacred-liturgical musical heritage. There has been a renascence of age-old traditions that have become means of self-expression for Jewish women.

Israeli Folk Dance Pioneers in North America

An intense desire to share the joy of dance coupled with a strong identification with both Israel and their Jewish roots profoundly affected a diverse group of North American Jewish women. Each added a dimension to the flourishing of Israeli dance activities in communities, including regional festivals, workshops, performing groups and weekly folk dance sessions. All were also involved in enriching Jewish education by training teachers and developing dance resources or programs.

Libby Holman

“I always have to break a song over my back. … I just can’t sing a song; it has to be part of my marrow and bones and everything,” Libby Holman explained in a 1966 interview. Daring, dark, and impetuous, Holman led a rich public life that touched a dizzying array of people, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Montgomery Clift, from Alice B. Toklas to Jane Bowles. A musical and sexual revolutionary from the 1920s to the 1960s, Holman succeeded at two different musical careers. Known as the “Statue of Libby,” she carried one of the smokiest torches of American music hall society in the 1920s and 1930s, and was the inventor of the strapless evening dress. From a deep sense of personal commitment, she later made significant contributions to the civil rights movement as both an artist and a wealthy benefactor. However, murder, millionaires, death, and suicide were morbid recurring themes in Libby Holman’s life, reaching tabloid proportions.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Music." (Viewed on September 27, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/music>.

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