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Playlist: Sounds Jewish

Compiled By: Harold Nicol



The Shofar Sounds the High Holy Days

From James Pullen | 04:22

Jerry Sloat has been sounding the shofar for 40 years at Congregation Har HaShem in Boulder. Jerry talks about the significance of the shofar and sounds the four blasts of the High Holiday.

P1010118_2small_small Tonight at sundown, Yom Kippur, the Jewish festival of the Day of Atonement, begins. Yom Kippur marks the end of the ten days of repentance that began with Rosh Hashanah. In the Torah, Rosh Hashanah is called the day of sounding the shofar. The shofar is sounded on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Jerry Sloat has been sounding the shofar for 40 years at Congregation Har HaShem in Boulder. Jerry speaks about the shofar and its significance in the High Holy Days.

Sound the Shofar! An Ancient Instrument in Modern Times

From The WFMT Radio Network | 59:00

The shofar, an instrument made from a ram’s horn, is heard in synagogues all over the world during the Jewish High Holidays. It has also been heard outside those contexts for ages — as a call to battle, or a way for shepherds to summon their flocks. The evocative sounds of the shofar have also captivated many classical composers. Elgar, Bernstein, Gershwin and Golijov are among those who have emulated or included the shofar in their music.


This special is available free of charge to all affiliate stations and will be available for multiple broadcasts per station from September 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023.


The sound of the shofar, to me, it’s like a bridge. It’s extremely organic and earthly. Then at the same time, it seems to open up your mind.”

                                                                Miguel Kertsman


“This is hidden in our ancient history, the constant evolving of this deep, dark, and caring sound throughout all types of horns and trumpets and types of instruments.”

                                                            Gergely Sugar 


The shofar, a trumpet made from a ram’s horn, has been heard in synagogues all over the world during the Jewish High Holidays since time immemorial. It has also been heard outside those contexts as a call to battle or a way for shepherds to summon their flocks. 

The primeval, evocative sounds of the shofar have captivated many classical composers and its powerful influence shows up in places you might not expect. Elgar, Bernstein, Gershwin, and Golijov have all emulated the shofar in their music, and to this day composers continue to be inspired by its sound and history.

Miguel Kertsman’s new Concerto for Violin, Horn, and Shofar showcases this venerable and influential instrument, and provides the centerpiece of the enlightening one-hour special, Sound the Shofar! An Ancient Instrument in Modern Times.

Join us on an aural journey filled with an abundance of musical examples as we hear from Miguel Kertsman and the musicians who brought his Concerto to life.  Composer Osvaldo Golijov and shofar virtuoso Steven Ovitsky provide insightful commentary about the instrument’s cultural, historical, and musical significance, and Jamie Bernstein shares the direct connection between the shofar and the music in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.

Sound the Shofar! concludes with a glimpse into Miguel Kertsman’s new composition as he pulls back the curtain on his creative process, revealing the secular motivation that inspired him and the sound world he intended to evoke. The hour finishes with a complete performance of the Concerto from the NAXOS debut recording, featuring Gergely Sugar, horn and shofar; Orsolya Korcsolan, violin; and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.

This special is produced and hosted by WFMT’s award-winning team of Louise Frank and Kerry Frumkin.

Although this special focuses on the secular context of the shofar, this program is an ideal way to herald the Jewish High or at any point during the year.


From Israel Story | 09:01

Mishy Harman talks to Liron Lavi Turkenich, a type and graphic designer from Haifa, who invented a hybrid Hebrew-Arabic script.

Israel Story

Arivrit_small Growing up, Liron Turkenich saw the Arabic letters on Israeli street signs more like decoration than words. Years later as a typeface designer she wondered if she could combine Hebrew and Arabic characters in a way that speakers of either language could read. Aravit was born.

The Lost Vault of Klezmer (hour)

From With Good Reason | Part of the With Good Reason: Weekly Hour Long Episodes series | 53:58

New discoveries from a lost stash of klezmer recordings are changing what we know about the genre - Working class Americans used to love opera... so what happened? - Favourite holiday music and memories from Charlie Brown to Donny Hathaway


A new CD anthology: Chekhov’s Band: Eastern European Klezmer 1908-1913 reveals what traditional Jewish Klezmer music sounded like before the Russian Revolution. Joel Rubin is a master Klezmer musician.  He speaks about this treasure trove of music and plays from his work with the band Veretski Pass on their new CD Poyln. Also: There was a time when opera was as beloved in American society as sitcoms and movies are today — but it all came crashing to a halt in 1873. Katherine Preston walks us through the forgotten history of the American people’s love affair with opera and how it turned into theater for the elite.

Later in the show: Whether it’s a traditional hymn or a holiday song from our childhood, many feel Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the music that marks this season. The sense of joy, comfort, or spiritual uplift comes in all kinds of music at this time of year. From a Charlie Brown Christmas to Donny Hathaway and carols from the 15th century, Inman Majors, Hermine Pinson, and Rob Vaughan share their favorite holiday music and memories.