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Yiddish To the Core: Wedding Music and Jewish Identity in Postwar New York City

Hosted By: YIVO

If you attended a typical American Jewish wedding in the 1950s, you might have noticed some departures from tradition, such as a photographer buzzing around the rabbi, a floral wedding canopy, or “kosher style” catering. The modern formula varied from one wedding to another, but one thing was certain: if it was a Jewish wedding, you danced a hora. Even as Jews became increasingly Americanized and abandoned older practices, they held on to Jewish dances and dance music as an easy and accessible way of articulating their Jewish identity at a public event, in front of their family and friends. Jewish music and dance underwent significant changes during the postwar period, absorbing strong influences from American popular music and Israeli folk songs. Nonetheless, dances like the hora, freylekh, and sher remained “Yiddish to the core.” For many American Jews, these dances became a symbol of cultural continuity, and one of the important elements that defined their wedding as Jewish.

In this talk, Uri Schreter will explore the evolution of Jewish wedding music in the early postwar period across different sectors of New York’s Jewish community. Discover the relationship between diverse musical genres such as klezmer, Israeli folk song, swing, and Latin music, and learn how the choice of musical repertoire intersected with factors such as social class, religiosity, and political affiliation.

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.

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