Cantor Perry Fine, of Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, presented a three-part series, called Jewish Music in America.The topics will be “Jewish Music in America: In the Movies” on Thursday, Nov. 16; “Yiddish favorites,” on Thursday, Dec. 7; and “Klezmer,” on Thursday, Dec. 14. All three programs were held at 1 p.m. via Zoom. The Zoom link will be sent early in the week of the program.

Cantor Perry Fine

Session 1, on Nov. 16, highlighted the contribution of Jewish composers to the film industry. The lecture featured music in three movies— Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer (1927), Fiddler on the Roof (1971), and Schindler’s List (1994)—and the historical significance of each one on the American Jewish experience.

In the second session, on Dec. 7, Cantor Fine looked at the role of Yiddish music in both Jewish American theater and popular song. Attendees reminisced to the music of Second Avenue and Tin Pan Alley and the role of Yiddish song, reflecting both Old and New World Jewish experiences.

Session three, on Dec. 14, resonated with the singular sounds of Klezmer, as Cantor Fine examined this iconic style, both in its heyday in the first decades of the twentieth century, and its remarkable revival in the 1980s and beyond. Heyday or any day, Klezmer virtually transports this unmistakably Jewish musical style directly from Eastern Europe to America.

Cantor Fine has been singing Jewish music ever since his days as a boy soprano soloist with Hazzan Hillel Lipsicas’s High Holiday choir in his hometown of Baltimore. His recordings include settings of the Yom Kippur Service for the Milken Archive Series of Jewish Music and music for the Friday Night Live Service.

Cantor Fine is a co-founder and conductor of Voices in Harmony, an interfaith choral ensemble in Essex County, now in its 26th year. Cantor Fine has been awarded the Conservative Movement’s Nathan H. Winter Award for Professional Excellence. For the past 27 years, Cantor Fine has served on the cantorial faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary teaching Biblical Cantillation to a generation of budding cantors.

Our Jewish World is coordinated by NCJW-WM Members Melanie Levitan and Ilene Dorf Manahan. The series was free and open to the public.