POSTPONED: Singing for Love & Justice: A Besere Velt Yiddish Chorus Concert

Congregation Kehillath Israel, 384 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446



Due to COVID-19, we have made the difficult but necessary to postpone this large gathering. While we were looking forward to celebrating our performers & honorees together this spring, our top priority remains the safety of our community.

We are working hard to reschedule this concert, featuring A Besere Velt, Lorin Sklamberg, and Polina Shepherd, who will be traveling to us all the way from the U.K, and honoring Yavilah McCoy, Aaron Lanksy and the BWC Class of 2019. Given the continuously evolving guidelines set by the CDC & MA, it remains too early to confirm a new date, but we will let you know as soon as it is set.

In lieu of an in-person concert in May, and to continue to lift the spirits of our community, we will be publicly sharing pre-recorded performances of A Besere Velt, and clips from Polina & Lorin. As ABV said at their Sing Out, Fight Back concert: "We are the resistance. These are uneasy times. Decades of progress in improving many lives, protections and rights that took years to achieve, are attacked and weakened. There is incitement to hatred. We have seen it before and we are keenly aware of the danger. We take inspiration from past resistance movements, particularly the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, to sing out and fight back!"

We look forward to seeing everyone together again when we can.



Save the Date

A Besere Velt Yiddish Chorus in Concert with Polina Shepherd & Lorin Sklamberg 
Honoring: Aaron Lansky, Yavilah McCoy, BWC Shule Class of 2019

Sunday, May 31 | 7-9pm | Congregation Kehillath Israel Brookline, MA

A Besere Velt – A Better World – is proud to be a “voice” for justice. This 60-member community chorus of the Boston Workmen's Circle Center for Jewish Culture & Social Justice, conducted by Derek David, weaves the heartache and irrepressible idealism of Yiddish folk music into a vision of justice and humanity for the 21st century. From haunting melodies to workers’ anthems, the songs come alive with multi-layered harmonies. The repertoire of A Besere Velt grew out of the shtetls, the sweatshops and union meetings, the camps and ghettos. These folk songs make the richness of the Eastern European immigrant experience accessible to a generation of non-Yiddish speakers. They contain the sounds of the history, the culture and the progressive values that have influenced generations.

Lorin Sklamberg is the lead singer of the Grammy winning Klezmatics, a leading exponent of Yiddish song and traditional Jewish vocal techniques. The legendary music critic Robert Christgau has described Lorin Sklamberg’s voice as “transcendent, ethereal and sensual,” … Since he co-founded the legendary klezmer group in 1986, Lorin Sklamberg has been on the receiving end of countless tributes of that nature—his crystalline, expressive vocalizing never fails to have an emotional impact on all within its range. He has also worked for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for almost 25 years, currently as its Sound Archivist. For 14 years he was the coordinator of KlezKamp: The Yiddish Folk Arts Program, and co-founded Living Traditions. Lorin can be heard on some 50 CDs, and also composes and performs for film, dance, stage and produces recordings.

Polina Shepherd: Whilst living in Kazan (capital of Tatarstan, Russia) and studying at the State Academy, Polina joined Russia′s first klezmer band after Perestroika, Simkha and toured in dark Soviet theatres, to Boris Yeltsin and to the World in 1998-2002. She is one of the first generation of musicians of the Yiddish revival scene in Eastern Europe: acting as a programme director, educator and performer she has been involved in festivals, conferences and seminars globally. Now living in Britain, Polina leads four choirs and continues to tour internationally as a Yiddish and Russian singer. Her compositions, including music for theatre, large and small scale choir pieces and other vocal settings for Yiddish poems are performed by soloists and choirs all over the world.


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