Berkeley JMF Fest Director, Ellie Shapiro, honored as 30th fest kicks off
This is a case where I can claim to have known the person "back when," since Ellie and I met back in the mid-1970s in Jerusalem. I don't think that either of us back then considered "Jewish music" to be a relevant term. We were both Arik Einstein fans, of course. But, we were young.
Now, Ellie is on the verge of a doctorate and the Jewish Music Festival is celebrating one last time in its current form. It's a big deal. I first heard bands like Brave Old World and The Klezmatics at the festival, along with Bukharian Jewish music, cantorial music, and an ever-growing wide range of new and old traditions. Having taken over the festival full-time from founder and Holocaust survivor Ursula Sherman, in 2004, Berkeley is finally giving her some respect: