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Irving Berlin: One of America’s Most Prolific Songwriters

Hosted By: The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy (LESJC)

On Zoom, the author of this new book will summarize the life of Irving Berlin, who was born Israel Baline, and tell us about his improbable rise to become one of America’s most prolific songwriters. Hear his hardscrabble journey from leaving home as a young teenager, to working as a song “busker” and discovering his innate talent for writing songs–despite a lack of musical education. Learn about the changing music industry from the thriving music sheet business of Tin Pan Alley, the advent of Ragtime, the start of the American musical, and the soundtracks for feature films–all of which Berlin influenced. Understand how he developed songs for the films of the Marx Brothers, Astaire and Rodgers, Ethel Merman, and more. Look at why “God Bless America” was considered an alternative to the national anthem yet was strongly disliked by the Right and the Left and why “White Christmas” soared to the top of the charts. You’ll watch clips from a variety of songs, shows, and films Berlin composed, hear original recordings, and see historic photos.

This presentation will last approximately 60 minutes with the chance to ask the author Questions afterwards.

The event listed here is hosted by a third party. My Jewish Learning/70 Faces Media is not responsible for its content or for errors in the listing.


Paul Kaplan

Paul has given over 45 book tours across the US at a variety of venues including at the clubs for Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Union League, Elm City Club of New Haven, Museum at Eldridge Street, General Society Library and at scores of libraries, community centers, museums, and private functions. In addition, he has been featured on the front page of New York Press, the long-running radio show America's Dining & Travel, Writer's Voice, several other talk radio shows, the iconic African-American newspaper Amsterdam New York and Princeton Magazine. His books are on PBS, local NPR stations, and CBS Miami. Also, he has helped produce and been interviewed on Let's Travel, a talk show on public radio.
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The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy (LESJC)

The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy (LESJC) is an educational non-profit, created in 1998, to preserve and support the Lower East Side’s community of living synagogues and other historic structures, and to raise public awareness of the neighborhoods distinct cultural identity. As the birthplace of American Jewish civilization, and the most iconic immigrant neighborhood in America, we share this history by taking people on walking tours which enter sacred sites, where you learn how past generations came here, lived and worshiped. Learn more about LESJC here.
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