To My Father, Nathan Shor, On His 14th Yahrzeit

Written by Larry Shor on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

My father, Nathan Shor, of blessed memory, was a man of honor and respect. Every part of his life was seen through that prism. He was born in Albany, New York, but as a first generation American, his outlook was completely influenced by his European parents, grandparents, and other relatives. He lost his father when he was only 19, and had to assume many family responsibilities way before his time. He became the substitute father, even walking all four of his sisters down the aisle in place of his father at each of their weddings! Yet I never heard a word of complaint from him. If it was the respectful thing to do, he simply did it.

The Multi-Talented Maestro Gajewski

Written by Anis Modi on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

Burly, engaging, and wearing a plain National Philharmonic polo shirt, Maestro Piotr Gajewski, 59, has an everyday air that seems contradictory to the often-archaic nature of classical music. Maybe because Gajewski — certified to practice law in Maryland and Virginia and still active in two recreational soccer leagues — is anything but your ordinary conductor.

'A Shayna Maidel' and the Jewish American Dream

Written by Sarah Moosazadeh on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

Despite their lack of resources, many refugees believe immigrating to America provides a better future. This dilemma was highlighted in Peace Mountain Theater’s production of “A Shayna Maidel,” followed by a panel discussion titled “The Jewish American Dream – Post World War II,” on Oct. 14 at Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, Maryland.

Fighting Ignorance With Knowledge, Prejudice With Empathy

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recognized seven individuals at the 24th Annual ADL In Concert Against Hate, held Nov. 8 at the at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The recipients of the Kay Family Award are individuals who work to bring communities together in response to bigotry, injustice and extremism – using their experiences as catalysts to build a better world.

Remembering Chazan Dr. Mordechai Sobol

Written by Larry Shor on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

The world of Jewish music, and especially chazanus (cantorial music), recently lost a giant figure. Dr. Mordechai Sobol — chazan (cantor), composer, arranger, conductor, and broadcaster — died suddenly in September while in the United States for the High Holidays. He was 67 years old.

To Mic or Not to Mic

Written by Larry Shor on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

As someone who attended Beth Sholom Congregation when it was still located in the District of Columbia, I am often asked whether the shul had a microphone back then before it moved to its current location in Potomac. When I reply in the affirmative, my answer is usually met with puzzlement, as Beth Sholom is an Orthodox congregation. The truth of the matter is, at one time, there was great halachic support for the use of microphones on Shabbat; it was only a greater understanding of the science behind their operation, coupled with political considerations, that led to their gradual disappearance from Orthodox synagogues, including Beth Sholom, by the 1980s. It really is a fascinating story.

Registration — With Chickens!

Written by Larry Shor on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

With everyone returning to school, a very funny story from my past came to mind. It is a story of ingenuity and the fulfillment of the old saying that “necessity is the mother of invention.” It also points out how much things have changed since it happened.