Cutting-edge Jewish cultural events come to Westport

The Westport Radical Jewish Culture Festival, a new concert series introduced by the Center for Jewish Arts and Literacy at Beit Chaverim Synagogue, will premiere on Dec. 21 with a performance by Bop Kabbalah. Each concert in the series will feature a current project of some of the most influential musicians of the current generation of creative Jewish artists, whose work is released on John Zorn’s Tzadik record label. This first set of concerts is curated by guitarist Yoshie Fruchter. The series will be held at Beit Chaverim, located at 85 Post Road West in Westport.

The series is under the artistic direction of Rabbi Greg Wall, a critically acclaimed saxophonist and producer who founded the Center for Jewish Arts and Literacy while serving as spiritual leader of the historic Sixth Street Community Synagogue in New York City. The Center produced hundreds of concerts, commissioned new Jewish theater works, featured installations of mixed-media artists, and offered nightly classes in Jewish thought, text study and Jewish history.

Now based in Westport, where Rabbi Wall leads Beit Chaverim Synagogue, the Center will introduce its cutting- edge Jewish cultural offerings to Fairfield County.


Saturday, Dec. 21, 8:30 p.m.


Led by guitarist and composer Ty Citerman, Bop Kabbalah – who have a Tzadik release upcoming in spring 2014 – plays rhythmic, dynamic and lyrical music that takes some of the language of klezmer, modal niggunim, jazz, and 21st century concert music…and then twists and re-contextualizes it. It’s not really what you’d hear in most synagogues or at most Jewish weddings, but of course, those aren’t the only places to hear Jewish music!

Tickets (including a beverage): $18 in advance, $20 at the door

Saturday, Jan. 25


A new project from Yoshie Fruchter, Schizophonia is an exploration of cantorial music found on early 20th century recordings and films and re-imagined through a contemporary lens. Through a collection of new arrangements of this music, interpretive compositions, and an exciting and rocking performing band, this project will aim to further the development of Jewish devotional music as an avenue to musical and performative creativity.


Saturday, Feb. 22


Dogcat Ensemble is a mixed breed group led by Israeli-born pianist/accordionist Uri Sharlin that infuses Israel and Brazil into New York. Its members collectively have pedigrees from traditional Irish music, the Klezmer scene and orchestral music as well. Their brand new album, “Back to the Woods,” was recently featured on NPR’s New Sounds.

For more information contact (203) 227-3333 or office@beitchaverim.com.

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