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Temple Judea Museum in Elkins Park celebrates American Jewish culture with ‘You Can’t Download This!”

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By BRIAN BINGAMAN
bbingaman@thereporteronline.com

The name provokes a challenge — “You Can’t Download This!”
After taking in all of the different subgenres of mid-20th century Jewish music, related artwork and sheet music represented in the Temple Judea Museum exhibit, “You Can’t Download This! Record Album Covers and the Musical Stories They Pictured,” you might have to concede that they’re right.
Where is this?
The Temple Judea Museum is at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, 8339 Old York Road (southeast corner of Township Line Road), Elkins Park.
How long will it be there?
Through July 30. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, till 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. Groups welcome by appointment.
What will I find?    
A rich representation from the Temple Judea Museum’s collection of record albums and sheet music, including: historic documentary, pop, humor, cantorial, holiday and holy day, klezmer, Hasidic, folk, show tunes, children’s music, classical and more. Of course, there’s a gallery soundtrack so you can listen for yourself. It also includes “Re-imagined: The Art of Record Album Covers  — Artists’ View” and “Seeing the World of Women through Early Sheet Music.”

Album cover from the Temple Judea Museum collection. Submitted photos

Album cover from the Temple Judea Museum collection. Submitted photos

There will be a special program 10 to 11:45 a.m. June 8, “Record Covers — How They Talk to Us: An Illustrated Musical Tour through the Collection.” The day starts off with a mini-brunch from 10 to 10:30 (cost is $5 for non-members), so it’s OK if you’re running a little late. But you’ll need to RSVP to (215) 887-2027 or TJMuseum@kenesethisrael.org. From 11:10 to 11:45 will be an open mic., where you can share your musical memories and ask questions.
What’s important to know about Jewish records of this time period?
“Hava Nagilah” became such a recognizable tune in the U.S. thanks to Harry Belafonte. Connie Francis also brought Yiddish tunes to mainstream America. Barbara Streisand got her start, as did Mel Brooks. It was a time when a distinct American Jewish cultural identity emerged.
How can I learn more?
Start by calling (215) 887-2027, emailing TJMuseum@kenesethisrael.org or visiting www.kenesethisrael.org/museum.
Follow Brian Bingaman on Twitter @brianbingaman.

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