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Music

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Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand is more than another consumer-culture icon. She is a diva, a superstar, a sensation. Since the 1960s, she has won more varied awards (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, special Tony, Golden Globe, CableACE, Peabody) than anyone else in show business, and has sold over sixty-eight million records, more records than any other female singer.

Johanna Spector

The only one of her immediate family to survive the Nazi holocaust, Johanna Spector decided in the aftermath of World War II to devote herself to the study of Jewish music. Since then, her ethnomusicological studies have documented the culture of some of the most exotic of Jewish communities.

Beverly Sills

As someone who overcame many obstacles in her career, Beverly Sills exemplifies the enduring American image of the underdog succeeding against all odds. As an articulate advocate for the arts, she is among the most widely recognized faces from the world of American opera.

Mathilde Schechter

Mathilde Roth Schechter, founder of the Women’s League For Conservative Judaism and the wife of Solomon Schechter, the well-known Jewish scholar, was born in Guttentag, a small town in Silesia, and orphaned at an early age.

Ruth Rubin

Ruth Rubin devoted a lifetime to the collection and preservation of Yiddish folklore in poetics and songs. Her writings include books, articles and music collections. As a popular performer-folklorist, she would describe the background of her selections and then sing them in a simple, unaccompanied style.

Nacha Rivkin

Orthodox Jewish education for women in America began with the work of Nacha Rivkin, a founder of Shulamith School for Girls, the first girls’ yeshiva in the United States.

Betty Robbins

Amid great worldwide controversy, the first female cantor in Jewish history, Betty Robbins, was appointed in July 1955. Never before had a woman worn the garb and performed the traditional role of hazzan (cantor) in a Jewish synagogue anywhere in the world.

Nadia Reisenberg

Whether recording a Brahms sonata with clarinetist Benny Goodman, enjoying her three grandsons, or giving a master class in Jerusalem, pianist Nadia Reisenberg’s joy in relationships radiated from her.

Judith Raskin

A lyric soprano whose vocal talent blossomed while she was in college, Judith Raskin developed into one of the outstanding musical artists of the twentieth century.

Molly Picon

A drunk’s dare to a five-year-old on a trolley car initiated the career of Molly Picon, the petite darling of the Yiddish musical theater.

Roberta Peters

When Roberta Peters was just thirteen, famed tenor Jan Peerce suggested she take lessons to cultivate her amazing natural voice. Six years later, she made her debut on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera—and has been dazzling international audiences ever since.

Dame Myra Hess

One of the most potent symbols representing the spirit of war-torn Britain during World War II must be the series of concerts at London’s National Gallery which continued throughout the war. Within a month of hostilities being declared, the National Gallery was closed and its paintings safely stored outside the capital. Cinemas, theaters and concert halls were all dark; Myra Hess, by then an established concert pianist, was concerned about the effect of this cultural blackout on the lives of Londoners. Towards the end of September 1939, she approached the Director of the Gallery, Kenneth Clark, with the idea of mounting lunchtime classical concerts. Clark shared her concerns and swiftly obtained government approval for the scheme. On Tuesday, October 10, the first lunchtime concert was staged; a resounding success, it was the first of an uninterrupted succession that continued for six and a half years until April 10, 1946, 1,698 concerts later.

Deborah 2: Midrash and Aggadah

Deborah is presented in the Rabbinic sources as a very talented woman. She was an upright judge, with the same prophetic ability as Samuel; Torah she-bi-khetav: Lit. "the written Torah." The Bible; the Pentateuch; Tanakh (the Pentateuch, Prophets and Hagiographia)Torah scholars would come to learn from her. This ability was granted her as reward for her good deeds, namely, the preparation of wicks for the Tabernacle. She also encouraged her fellow Israelites to regularly attend the synagogue and Tabernacle, and thanks to her beneficial influence on her husband, he merited a portion in the World to Come. There is a tradition that presents Deborah as being guilty of the sin of pride, which led to her loss of the gift of prophecy, while the other traditions speak in her praise, and number her among the twenty-three Israelite women of outstanding righteousness (A type of non-halakhic literary activitiy of the Rabbis for interpreting non-legal material according to special principles of interpretation (hermeneutical rules).Midrash Tadshe, Ozar ha-Midrashim [ed. Eisenstein], 474).

Brachah Zefira

Brachah Zefira was a seminal figure in the world of Israeli song and among its most colorful and influential personalities in the pre-State period.

Yaffa Yarkoni

During the 1950s Yarkoni was considered Israel’s leading singer, recording numerous records.

Maria Winetzkaja

Maria Winetzkaja was a renowned opera singer, whose international career spanned twenty years.

Edith Weiss-Mann

One of the most important of the pioneers in the revival of early music and period musical instruments in the early years of the twentieth and, sadly, one of those pioneers who is least remembered by posterity, the harpsichordist Edith Weiss-Mann was born in Hamburg, Germany, on May 11, 1885.

Wendy Wasserstein

In 1989, with her play The Heidi Chronicles, she won a Pulitzer Prize and became the first woman to receive the Tony Award for Best Play.

Jennie Tourel

Jennie Tourel is universally regarded as one of the most distinguished vocalists of her time.

Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor's years of work in theater, opera, film and television and her frequent use of masks and puppets, as well as Asian forms, won her a 1997 Tony Award for The Lion King—the first "Directing" Tony given to a woman in the fifty-year history of the Awards.

Florine Stettheimer

The career of Florine Stettheimer, painter, poet, and designer, offers an alternative to prevailing modes of contemporary modernist painting.

Teresa Sterne

While Teresa Sterne was vastly respected for her far-reaching service to music as a record company executive, few who knew her in that role were aware of her earlier career as a pianist, which was short-lived but stunning.

Michal Smoira-Cohn

One of Israel’s best-known musicologists, Smoira-Cohn’s expertise has led to her involvement in innumerable musical features and events and continues to be a leading figure in Israel’s cultural life.

Tess Slesinger

Novelist and Hollywood screenwriter Tess Slesinger was born in New York on July 16, 1905. She published several works, including: The Unpossessedand Time: The Present. Slesinger died of cancer at age thirty-nine before the premiere of one of her final works, the acclaimed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Naomi Shemer

Naomi Shemer’s musical skill was evident during her childhood, when she began to lead community singing on her kibbutz. In 1967 Shemer wrote “Jerusalem of Gold” for the annual song festival. Since the first time “Jerusalem of Gold” was performed at the Song Festival it has been considered the best-loved Israeli song of all time.

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