Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast

The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast interviews the latest Israeli and Jewish artists and covers a wide range of styles from Carlebach, cantorial, klezmer, Israeli trance, Mizrachi, rock, Sephardic, hasidic and everything in between. Past interviews have included Matisyahu, Avraham Fried, and Miri Ben-Ari. IsraelBeat broadcasts live every Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Israel time on

Monday, July 31, 2006

New Show - July 30, 2006

What Does Jewish Music Sound Like?

PART 1: What is the halil? Can Gentiles play Jewish music? Find out as klezmer/jazz musician Paul Shapiro discusses the sound and the history of Jewish music.

PART 2: Jeff Horvitch of Creative Audio studios in Jerusalem gives an inside look of music from the producer's perspective.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Simply Tsfat article

Tsfat Band´s New Album Urges Listeners to "Never Give Up"
July 20, 2006 / 24 Tammuz 5766
by Benyamin Bresky

Though released several months before the current rocket attacks on their home town in northern Israel, Simply Tsfat's new album is appropriately titled 'Never Give Up'.

The lyrics of the title track read: "There is always hope...never despair" - a theme that runs through all the band's music. A message from the band's web site states the band's members and their families are staying put in the missile-battered city of Tsfat despite the fact that a rocket hit one of their neighbors' houses.

The new album, the band's fifth, is a collection of hassidic melodies and original material performed on violin and acoustic guitar. Some songs are sung in Hebrew, some in Yiddish and some in English - a few mix the languages. Many of the songs are instrumental in the klezmer style.

Although the band members attend the Breslov hassidic synagogue in Tsfat, the album has songs from other hassidic groups as well, including Chabad and Satmar. Tracks include the Yiddish classic Oyfn Pripetshik, from the 1800s, which is sung by the band members' children. One of the catchiest is Rav Klein's Niggun, often performed at their concerts and written by the rabbi of their synagogue, who says he learned it from his father. The fast-paced rhythm sounds almost like American bluegrass if not for the ai yai yai chorus.

If one hears influences from other musical genres in Simply Tsfat, it is not a coincidence. The trio has not always worn traditional black hats and long black coats of hassidic Jews.

Israeli-born guitar player Yonatan Tzarum was taught flamenco guitar by his father. He gave it up, he says, because "I wanted to play basketball and football with my friends." He returned to music as a teenager and eventually became the bass player for a heavy metal band in Japan. Upon his return to Israel, "I realized that there is G-d in the world, and I start to grow these," he says with a smile, referring to his long curly sidelocks, which he kisses.

Although Tzarum is now dedicated to the Simply Tsfat style of music, he doesn't completely reject other genres. "They say since the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) was destroyed, all the music of the Leviim (the Levites, who made music in the Temple), everything dispersed, fell down for all the world," Tzarum says. "This is the reason, sometimes we hear Pink Floyd or whatever, we feel excitement. We feel that something belongs to us. The problem is, it’s filled with a lot of nonsense as well. Some music, when we hear it we feel down." Tzarum has now replaced the melancholy and despondent chords of the hard rock he loved with the spirited Breslov melodies.

American-born violinist Yehonasan Lipshultz has a similar story of returning to his roots. Starting violin at the age of seven, little by little Lipshultz gave up music as he and his wife became more and more religious. Eventually he sold his violin to finance the down payment on their house. A book by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov encouraged him to continue becoming more and more religious and to eventually move to Israel arriving two weeks before the beginning of the Gulf War.

Lipshultz became enthralled by the Shabbat songs in the local Breslov synagogue in Tsfat. "I started learning all these beautiful niggunim instead of Bach and Beethoven and Mozart. One day I said, gee, I could play those melodies, if only I had a violin." When he was in the town of Uman, Ukraine - the burial place of Rabbi Nachman - that he saw a man selling a violin on the street for 10 dollars. For Lipshultz, it was the answer to his prayers. "We don't always get the answers we want, when we want them, but sometimes talking to G-d works," he says.

Although Lipshultz too, incorporates some of his musical past in Simply Tsfat's music, he doesn't miss classical music. "As I started reconnecting with my Jewish past, I started thinking - no - feeling, how all that musical culture stood by, as a supportive witness, while we walked to the gas chambers."

As far as Tsfat is concerned, the band members agree that the ancient hilly, northern city is very conducive to music. "It's a very mystical city," says Lipshultz. "The four holy cities of Israel are compared to the four elements: water (Tiberias), fire (Jerusalem), earth (Hevron) and air. Tsfat corresponds to air. You hear the music. It all works with air. You can really feel the holiness here."

The band is currently still playing gigs throughout the country and then returning home to Tsfat, despite the continued rocket attacks. One can be sure that if Simply Tsfat is still in the bomb shelters as you're reading this article, they're singing, dancing and playing to their fellow residents.

For more information visit Special thanks to A Simple Jew.

Benyamin Bresky is the host of The Beat on Israel National Radio. He
maintains a music journal at

Monday, July 24, 2006

Music, Kabbalah and the Yellow Submarine

New Show for July 23, 2006

Music, Kabbalah and the Yellow Submarine

PART 1: Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, author of Music and Kabbalah discusses the gematria of the Hebrew letters as compared to the notes of the scale and how music effects the human soul.

PART 2: Hadas Vanunu, program director of the Yellow Submarine concert club discusses their quest for musical diversity and outreach to young, new Jerusalem artists through their record label, high school program, religious women's concerts and Incubator series.

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Note: This show is 3 Weeks friendly.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Israeli music videos

I found some nice web sites that offer Israeli/Jewish music videos:

This coming week, an interview with Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, author of Music and Kabbalah. Also planned: interview with the Yellow Submarine concert club in Jerusalem on their high school music program.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

New Show for July 16, 2006

Israeli music from the perspective of the record shop

Lior Shamgar, manager of HaTav HaShimini - The 8th Note in downtown Jerusalem
discusses what's hot, what's selling, mp3 downloading, his distribution company and more.
Plus accapella music from SHI 360, Gavriel Butler, Beat'achon, David Dor,
The Klezmatics, the Boyan Hasidim, Voices for Israel, Yiddishe Cup
and Yosef Karduner.

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Links change every Sunday with new show.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Tzvat Music Festival photo essay

Check out the photo essay from out live concert.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Live from the Tzvat Klezmer Festival

Join hosts Ben Bresky and Walter Bingham from the old city of Tzvat for the annual klezmer music festival. Broadcast live from the "Magic Garden" stage with music from local performers Danny Hadad, Avi Avital and Ita & Dov Zilberman. Plus interviews with Mayor Yishai Maimon, participants of the Livnot program, passers-by and more. Recorded live Tuesday evening, July 11, 2006.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Special Live Broadcast from Tzvat

This Tuesday, July 11, 2006
7:00PM - 10:00PM Israel time
12:00noon - 3:00PM Eastern Standard Time

Live from Tzvat for the annual Tzvat Klezmer Music Festival! Join us in the city of the birthplace of the Kabballah. Music from Giora Fiedman, Aaron Razel, Moussa Berlin, and more. Hosted by Benyamin Bresky of The Beat and Walter Bingham of Walter's World.

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  • For more info on the festival visit:
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    Jerusalem Post article on Festival

    New Show - Live from Poland

    July 9, 2006

    Jewish Music Revival in Poland

    Interview with Dinah Spritzer of the JTA on the annual Krakow Jewish Culture Festival in Poland. (Festiwal Kultury Żydowskiej w Krakowie) With music from Kroke, the Klezmatics, Simply Tsfat, Andy Statman, Yiddishe Cup, Brave Old World and more.

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    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    upcoming shows

    This Sunday
    July 9, 2006
    6:00PM - 7:00PM Israel time
    Live interview from the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Poland (Festiwal Kultury Żydowskiej w Krakowie) with Dinah Spritzer, Eastern European correspondant for the Jewish Telegraphy Agency.

    Tuesday July 11, 2006
    Live broadcast from the Tzvat Klezmer Festival
    tentative times: 8:00PM - 10:00PM Israel time

    Live broadcast from the Aharit HaYamim Reggae Festival in Gush Etzion
    first week of August, 2006
    for more info visit:


    Poetry Wanted!

    Poetry week

    We want to read your poems on the air
    Tentatively date: August 2006
    Poems must be of Jewish and/or Israeli content
    Send your poems to

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    New Show - June 3, 2006

    Interview with Ohad Moskowitz
    June 3, 2006

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    Links are changed every Sunday with the new show.

    Next week: Krakow Jewish Culture Festival