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Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)


Jewish music, learning, and food in St Andrews

21 February 2016
Presenting SCoJeC's new education resource, "JOES Boxes" before our klezmer concert in St Andrews
Examining items from SCoJeC's educational resource, "JOES Boxes"

Almost 100 people enjoyed a feast of klezmer music at SCoJeC’s concert in the beautiful oak panelled Parliament Hall in St Andrews University, preceded by one of SCoJeC’s trademark kosher buffets, and a presentation by SCoJeC Education and Community Development Officer Zoe Jacobs about SCoJeC’s new educational resource, “JOES Boxes”, which are being provided to every local authority in Scotland.  She demonstrated how the various items can be used to bring Judaism alive, increasing the quality of education about Judaism, and deepening understanding of the Jewish community. Zoe's talk was followed by a lively question and answer session about the range of different beliefs within Judaism, as many of those present – Jewish and non-Jewish – shared their own experiences.

SCoJeC klezmer concert in St Andrews

The evening continued with foot-tapping klezmer and Scottish dance tunes, traditional and contemporary Yiddish songs, arranged and performed by award-winning US musician Michael Alpert, who now lives in Fife, and Edinburgh-based klezmer and Scottish fiddle player Gica Loening. Some songs were sung unaccompanied while others were accompanied by fiddle or accordion, and there were also renditions of modernist Yiddish poetry, and even a Yiddish version of Jabberwocky – Yomervokhets, by Raphael Finkel. The audience was spellbound, joining in the choruses and getting up to dance!

The lights were turned right down for an atmospheric  Yiddish murder ballad, Tsvelef a Zeyger ("Twelve o’clock"), the moral of which is:

Nemt akh tsinoyf, ale gite frant,
En nemt aykh aruf fin mir a raye
Ikh hob gezolt geyen tsu Veres khipe
Oy, yetst gey ikh tsin ir levaye.

– you should never meddle in your children's love affairs, or you'll end up going to your daughter's funeral instead of her wedding!

The programme also included In Droysn Geyt a Regn ("Outside It's Raining"), Kotsk, a Scottish/Yiddish medley including two Strathspeys and a Reel, Podoloy, and Honga, and a poem by Itzik Manger, Lomir-zhe Zingen Poshet un Prost ("Let Us Sing, Plainly, and Simply"), followed by a mournful Bukoviner Doina in which the two fiddles perfectly complemented one another. Then a lively Kolomeyke got everyone’s feet tapping – and during a set of Bulgars people could resist no longer, and soon joined in a dance that snaked right round the room! A beautiful Yiddish love song, written by Michael himself, followed by a rousing chorus, ended the evening.

Kol Hakavod!” (very well done!) said one member of the audience, “The music was superb, made me feel very nostalgic and wanting more!” 

We would like to thank the Netherlee and Clarkston Charitable Trust for their generous funding of this event, and the St Andrews University Chaplain and his staff for their help on the evening.


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Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation no. SC029438