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Music

Judith Kaplan Eisenstein

Before she was thirteen years old, author, composer, and musicologist Judith Kaplan Eisenstein was already a significant figure in Jewish history. The eldest of four daughters born to Lena (Rubin) and Rabbi Mordecai Menachem Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Judith Kaplan was the first young woman to celebrate a [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:301]Bat Mitzvah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] publicly in an American congregation on March 18, 1922.

Jacqueline du Pre

Jacqueline Mary du Pré (“Jackie” to her family and friends) became known as an eminent cellist in August 1965, when she made her famous recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in e minor with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli. Later described as one of “the greatest recordings of the century,” this was a breakthrough in her career. Although her repertoire was varied and impressive, she won an unsurpassed reputation as a great cellist particularly in this concerto, which meant so much to her and which she performed countless times during the years, always fully committed.

Louise Dresser

Louise Dresser was a celebrated singer in vaudeville and musical comedy, as well as a star in early motion pictures. She adopted the stage name of Louise Dresser after the songwriter Paul Dresser, an acquaintance of her father, encouraged her to use his name as a strategy for her to gain greater recognition on stage. This ruse, along with several of Paul Dresser’s famous songs, indeed improved Dresser’s drawing power in vaudeville, and she was often believed to be the sister both of Paul Dresser and novelist Theodore Dreiser (Paul Dresser’s brother). Known largely for her rendition of Paul Dresser’s song “My Gal Sal,” she also sang his “On the Banks of the Wabash.”

Selina Dolaro

A woman of gusto and talent, Selina Simmons Belasco Dolaro was an exceptional performer and single mother in late nineteenth-century England and America. Through her income from singing, dancing, acting and writing, she raised and supported four children.

Edis De Philippe

Currently one of the country’s flourishing arts, opera in Israel owes its creation primarily to singer, director, producer and impresario Edis De Philippe, who founded the Israel National Opera Company in 1947 and ran it with an iron hand until her death on July 5, 1979, following brain surgery.

Ruby Daniel

Ruby (Rivka) Daniel lived for more than half of her life in [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:342]kibbutz[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] Neot Mordekhai in the Upper Galilee, but her book Ruby of Cochin: An Indian Jewish Woman Remembers richly illuminates Jewish life in Kerala, a green land of tropical abundance and religious tolerance on India’s southwest coast. Born in December 1912, Daniel spent the first half of her life in the ancient Jewish community of Cochin, where she developed her gifts as a compelling storyteller. She was the first Jewish girl who left the neighborhood to continue her education, and the first to complete high school and attend college. After working as a government clerk and serving in the Indian Navy, she was among the first in her community to make [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:293]aliyah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], in 1951, and to join a kibbutz. She was also the first Cochin Jewish woman to write a book.

Shoshana Damari

Shoshana Damari was born in 1923 in the city of Dhamar, Yemen. With the outbreak of anti-Jewish persecution in Yemen in 1924, the family set out on foot for the Land of Israel. Reaching the port of Aden, they continued by ship to Palestine and settled in Rishon le-Zion, where Damari’s father found work as a teacher at a local [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:417]talmud Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary].

Betty Comden

Beginning with On the Town (1944) and continuing with The Will Rogers Follies (1991), Betty Comden’s long career as librettist and lyricist for Broadway and Hollywood has included many classics of American musical comedy. With her partner Adolph Green, Comden has written lyrics and/or librettos for such hits of stage and screen as The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Wonderful Town (1953), The Band Wagon (1953), Peter Pan (1953), Bells Are Ringing (1956), the film version of Auntie Mame (1958), Say Darling (1958), Applause (1970), and On the Twentieth Century (1978).

Cochin: Jewish Women's Music

For many centuries, Cochin Jewish women have been singing Jewish songs, both in Hebrew and in the Malayalam language of Kerala, their ancient homeland on the tropical southwest coast of India.

Cantors: American Jewish Women

Though debate continues regarding the female cantorial profession, women’s voices increasingly come forth from pulpits in America, leading congregations in all the year-round calendar and life-cycle observances of the Jewish faith.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Music." (Viewed on March 6, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/music>.

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