New England Jewish Music Forum Records
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.
- undated, 1953-1990
- New England Jewish Music Forum (Organization)
Language of Materials
The collection is in English.
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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.
- The National Center for Jewish Film "Great Cantors of the Golding Age" http://www.jewishfilm.org/Catalogue/films/greatcantors.htm>.
- Materials from the Collection
- New England Jewish Music Forum created.
- NEJMF held four to five performances annually.
- New England Jewish Music Forum closed.
3.5 linear feet (7 manuscript boxes and 1 OS Folder)
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.
Located in Boston, Mass.
Donated by Cantor Murray E. Simon, 1991.
Processed by Lael Dalal, 2013
- Boston (Mass.)
- Brookline (Mass.)
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Concerts -- New England
- Epstein, Mary Wolfman, 1908-1998
- Folk songs, Yiddish
- Fromm, Herbert
- Jewish composers
- Jewish dance
- Jewish musicians
- Jewish singers
- Jewish theater
- Jews -- New England -- Music
- Kessler, Minuetta
- New England Jewish Music Forum
- Programs (documents)
- Sheet music
- Songs, Hebrew
- Theater performances
- Theater programs
- Weiner, Lazar, 1897-1982
- Guide to the New England Jewish Music Forum Records, I-270
- Processed by Lael Dalal
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script