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The "New York Times" reports on Barbra Streisand's Broadway debut

March 23, 1962

"The evening's find is Barbra Streisand, a girl with an oafish expression, a loud irascible voice and an arpeggiated laugh.

Sophie Tucker records signature song

March 2, 1911

Sophie Tucker, the self-proclaimed "Last of the Red Hot Mamas," was born on January 13, 1884.

Lyricist Dorothy Fields is inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame

March 8, 1971

The ten people inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in its first induction ceremony on March 8, 1971, included some of the most well-known names in American music: Duke Ellington, Ira Gersh

Shulamit Ran's "Verticals" premieres

March 2, 1983

The New York Times called Shulamit Ran's Verticals "rhapsodic and intriguing" when it was premiered by pianist Alan Feinberg at New York's Merkin Concert Hall on March 2, 1983.

NY Times hails Carnegie Hall performance by Rosina and Josef Lhévinne

January 14, 1939

Critics hailed Rosina and Josef Lhévinne's two-piano recital, held at Carnegie Hall on January 14, 1939, for its "remarkable precision, subtle tinting, and the most carefully perfected detai

Debbie Friedman plays Carnegie Hall

January 7, 1996

On January 7, 1996, Debbie Friedman gave a sold out concert at Carnegie Hall, commemorating twenty-five years as one of the Jewish community's most well-known and influential contemporary musicians

Yiddish Musical Theater in the United States

Jewish women on stage in America took on a variety of musical roles and performed all kinds of songs, including religious hymns and liturgical chants. In its heyday, the Yiddish stage mirrored American Jewish life. An amazing range of women’s woes were highlighted, discussed, and often resolved across the footlights, presenting the reality that immigrant women faced to an extent not paralleled in the English-language theatrical world during those years.

Yemenite Women in Israel: 1948 to 2005

The transition of Yemenite women from a traditional religious society to a western-secular society upon immigration to Israel was marked by a certain ambivalence. Their status and gender roles changed, and they became integrated both economically and socially into Israeli society. However, the new values underwent a certain degree of filtration as Yemenite women accepted some elements while rejecting others.

Vaudeville in the United States

Jewish women in vaudeville helped to cultivate a unique American Jewish identity. Headliners Sophie Tucker, Belle Baker, and Fanny Brice were prominent, as were performers such as Nan Halperin and Nora Bayes. Molly Picon was a star of Yiddish theater, and Sarah Bernhardt a star of the stage. The reign of Jewish female vaudevillians ended in the 1930s, but their voices continue to be heard.

Sophie Tucker

Vaudeville legend and Broadway star Sophie Tucker defied convention with her saucy comic banter and music. Tucker became famous internationally for her singing performances and delighted audiences throughout America and Europe with her rendition of “My Yiddishe Momme.” Tucker was proud of her Jewish identity and created the Sophie Tucker Foundation, which supported various actors’ guilds, hospitals, synagogues, and Israeli youth villages.

Rosalyn Tureck

Pianist Rosalyn Tureck toured the world as a consummate interpreter of the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Tureck made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1935 before touring in Europe, South America, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, and Australia. In 1994 she founded the Oxford-based Tureck Bach Research Institute.

Theater in the United States

For over a hundred years, Jewish women have been involved in the American theater as writers, actors, directors, designers and producers. The vitality of the Yiddish theater, the splendor of Broadway, the rich tapestry of the regional theater, and everything in between, all owe a debt to the Jewish women who have given of their talents, their energy, their drive, and their dreams.

Helen Tamiris

Helen Tamiris was a leader in forming American modern dance. An acclaimed choreographer and director, she used dance to comment on the social issues of her day, including racism, poverty, and war.

Sylvia Blagman Syms

Sylvia Blagman Syms was a gifted jazz singer who earned praise from Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, and Duke Ellington. In 1949, she was discovered by Mae West, who became a significant teacher and influence on Syms’s intimate storytelling performing style. Sym’s went on to record fifteen major albums and tour the United States and World before dying of a heart attack. 

Barbra Streisand

From her Oscar winning performance in Funny Girl to her Golden Globe-winning direction in Yentl, Barbra Streisand has consistently made history in the entertainment industry. One of the most successful performers of the twentieth century, she also directs and produces movies. She also funds multiple charities through the Streisand Foundation.

Johanna Spector

Johanna Spector was an influential ethnomusicologist whose writings, recordings, and film projects documented the music of little-studied Jewish communities from around the world. After surviving the Holocaust, Spector earned her doctorate, founded the ethnomusicology department at the Jewish Theological Seminary, established the Society for the Preservation of Samaritan Culture, and served as president of the Asian Music Society. 

Beverly Sills

Beverly Sills was a trailblazing opera singer who, after a robust singing career at the New York City Opera Company (NYCO) and the Metropolitan Opera House, became the first female director of the NYCO, and the first female chair of the Lincoln Center board. Sills defied the odds in her career accomplishments while raising two children with disabilities and being actively involved with several charitable organizations.

Mathilde Schechter

Mathilde Schechter, wife of Solomon Schechter, founded the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. She was a multifaceted individual, creative both in her home and in the public arena. As an organizational person, she developed herself fully, in line with the traditional women’s roles of the times yet stretching them in new and creative ways.

Ruth Rubin

Ruth Rubin devoted a lifetime to the collection and preservation of Yiddish folklore in poetics and songs. As a popular performer-folklorist, she would describe the background of her selections and then sing them in a simple, unaccompanied style. Rubin helped preserve the past and launch the modern Yiddish revival.

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. A courageous and proficient “doer,” Rivkin broke out of the mold of the passive, religious homemaker in her commitment to action. Through her music and artwork, she expanded the range of career possibilities for Orthodox women of her time.

Betty Robbins

Betty Robbins is often heralded as the first female cantor – in fact, that honor goes to Julie Rosewald. However, Robbins was the first woman to be officially designated as cantor. The Board of Trustees at Temple Avodah in Oceanside, New York unanimously appointed Robbins as their cantor in 1955.

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. Reisenberg used her talents to connect with others, from her acclaimed performances with her sister to her years of training musicians in New York and Jerusalem.

Judith Raskin

An operatic soprano, Judith Raskin was one of the most outstanding musical artists of the twentieth century. Known for her performances and unique teaching methods, Raskin played more than 60 roles for prestigious opera companies across the United States, sang lieder and orchestral works, and taught at the Manhattan School of Music and the 92nd Street Y. 

Molly Picon

A lively comic actress, Molly Picon brought Yiddish theater to a wider American audience. She acted in the first Yiddish play ever performed on Broadway and insisted on performing in Yiddish on a 1932 tour of Palestine. Filming on location in Poland, on the eve of World War II, Picon captured a view of shtetl life soon to be erased by the Holocaust.

Roberta Peters

Singer Roberta Peters led a career spanning more than half a century as one of the Metropolitan Opera’s most popular sopranos. A frequent performer on the radio, television, and stages around the world, Peters was also involved with many public health and Jewish organizations throughout her life.


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