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New England Jewish Music Forum Records

 Collection
Identifier: I-270

Scope and Content Note

The Records of the New England Jewish Music Forum include meeting minutes, by-laws, and finances, as well as photographs of Forum events, performance programs and brochures, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and concert files. Concert files include correspondence between the Forum and the artists, newspaper clippings, and professional photographs and promotional materials from the artist. Although there are no audio or video recordings of the events in the collection, one performance is available online on The Internet Archive: "A Chassidic Evening" by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, performed by Cantor Alex Zimmer and Cantor Michal (Michael) Hammerman at Congregation Kehillath Israel in the mid-1960s.

Dates

  • undated, 1953-1990

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Historical Note

The New England Jewish Music Forum was a non-profit organization created in 1958 committed to organizing and presenting performances of Jewish music in the Boston area. The mission of the Forum was to “promote interest in Jewish Music; elevate and maintain high standards of programming and performance; encourage writing of new works and to present young artists as well as established performers. Through a series of four varied concerts each season, featuring solo singers and instrumentalists, vocal and instrumental ensembles, operas, dancing groups, and lectures, the Forum reveals to its own eager and loyal membership as well as to the community at large, a rich treasury of Jewish culture.”

The founders of the Music Forum included Russian-born pianist and composer Lazar Weiner; his niece, Minuetta Kessler, a pianist, teacher and composer; her husband Michael Kessler; Cantor Alex Zimmer; Cantor Jack Seully; and his wife, Rose Seully; composer Herbert Fromm; and his wife, Leni Fromm. The concerts included performances by theater troupes, orchestras, concert choirs, and singers. Past presidents included Alex Zimmer, Cantor Michal (Michael) Hammerman, Mary Wolfman-Epstein, and Murray Coran. Most performances included spoken commentary on the work, and sometimes a small reception afterwards giving members an opportunity to meet the artists.

Concerts were held at various congregations including Temple Israel in Boston, Massachusetts, Congregation Kehillath Israel and Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Massachusetts, and concert halls at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. Audiences often numbered well over 1,000 people. The organization scouted and hired performers for the concerts and critiqued each performance at their meetings. Artists were from across the country and around the world. Those featured at the New England Jewish Music Forum concerts included David Bar-Illan, Theodore Bikel, Jan Peerce, Nico Castel, Minuetta Kessler, Shlomo Mintz, Judith Raskin, and Mary Wolfman-Epstein. The organization closed its doors in 1990 after thirty-two years due to financial hardship and low membership. They gave the remaining funds to the National Center for Jewish Film in order to help underwrite their production of Great Cantors of the Golden Age, a film which debuted in 2006 and featured rare performances of renowned cantors from 1910 to the 1940s.

References

  1. The National Center for Jewish Film "Great Cantors of the Golding Age" http://www.jewishfilm.org/Catalogue/films/greatcantors.htm>.
  2. Materials from the Collection

Chronology

1958
New England Jewish Music Forum created.
1958-1990
NEJMF held four to five performances annually.
1990
New England Jewish Music Forum closed.

Extent

3.5 linear feet (7 manuscript boxes and 1 OS Folder)

Abstract

The New England Jewish Music Forum was a non-profit organization created in 1958 committed to presenting performances of Jewish music in the Boston area. The organization closed its doors in 1990 after thirty-two years due to financial hardship and low membership. The collection includes meeting minutes, by-laws, and finances, as well as photographs of forum events, performance programs and brochures, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and concert files.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Cantor Murray E. Simon, 1991.

Processing Information

Processed by Lael Dalal, 2013
Title
Guide to the New England Jewish Music Forum Records, I-270
Author
Processed by Lael Dalal
Date
2014
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245