Purim Memories & The Story of Esther!

By , March 10, 2020 12:07 pm

During my early childhood (early 50’s) in N.E. Philadelphia, I listened to Gladys Gewirtz singing all the songs from the Jewish holidays and holy days on our big RCA-Victor S-1000.

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My grandma Nessie’s hamantashen were so yummy I couldn’t stop eating them.  Sadly, she passed away when I was 7 [Z”L].  Many years went by. Now I’m 73 and I work with thousands of recordings (Jewish, Jazz & Classical) at the RSA, but Gladys Gewirtz will always have a special place I my memory.  I still miss my Grandma!

 

 

 

 

Ben Roth

P.S. Prune Hamantashen are my favorites.

 

Purim – The Story of Esther

Esther (née Hadassah), an orphan raised by her uncle Mordechai, was taken against her will to Persian King Ahasuerus’s harem. There, she was forced to prepare herself for her first night with the King by spending six months doused in oil of myrrh and another six in sweet odors ointments. The night of their union, Ahasuerus loved Esther “above all women” and made her the Persian Empire’s Queen. Esther replaced Queen Vashti, who had been sentenced to death because she had refused to display her beauty to the attendants of the King’s feast.

When events took a turn for the worst and Esther learned that Prime Minister Haman planned to kill all Jews in the Persian empire she decided to act immediately to prevent the genocide. She told her uncle: “Go, gather all the Jews together and fast for me.  Neither eat nor drink for three whole days. ” Mordecai argued that these three days fast happened to include the Passover night, which should not be a night of fasting. Esther retorted, “Without Jews, who needs Passover?”

She invited both Ahasuerus and Haman to a private banquet. At that banquet Esther told the king of Haman’s plan to massacre all Jews in his kingdom, then acknowledged her own Jewish ethnicity. The information about Haman enraged King Ahasuerus and he gave an order that Haman be hanged.   He also elevated Mordecai to prime minister and gave Jews the right to defend themselves against any enemy.

Looking for music to celebrate Purim, discover over 20 vintage albums to choose from here at the Recorded Sound Archives!

 

Highlighting the Voice of Cantor Zvee Aroni

By , July 25, 2017 1:31 pm

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There was a “joke” in the cantorial world that “If you can’t get Koussevitzky, get Aroni!”  Personally, I think Aroni (my dad) had a better voice.

His voice instructor and many others told him that he could have been, or should be an opera singer, but he loved being a cantor too much.

His voice didn’t age noticeably from his first recordings, specifically The Grape Song recorded in 1950, to his last recording Kohanecha Yilb’shu Tzedek recorded in 1990.

Both recordings can be heard on the RSA website, along with 34 other recordings by Cantor Zvee Aroni, just one of over 260 cantorial voices to choose from in the Cantorial Voices Collection.

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