Presented by Henry Sapoznik

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The phrase kol isha (“voice of a woman”) refers to the principle in some traditional Jewish communities which holds that a woman’s singing voice is inappropriate (“ervah“) for men to whom she is not related to hear. In this presentation, the term is repurposed and reimagined to honor the pioneering women—Madame Sophie Kurtzer, Freydele Oysher, Sheindele di Khaznte, Goldye May Steiner, Bas Sheva, and Bryna Zuckerberg, among others—who, though denied an ordination and a synagogue pulpit—created through radio, vaudeville, concerts and commercial recordings, an ineffable consciousness in the modern Jewish world about women as viable prayer leaders

Henry Sapoznik is an award-winning producer, musicologist, performer, and writer in the fields of traditional and popular Yiddish and American music and culture.A native Yiddish speaker and child of Holocaust survivors, ​Sapoznik grew up in an Orthodox home and attended Lubavitch Yeshiva and Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin. He was the founding director of the sound archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York from 1982 to 1995. In 1985 he founded KlezKamp: The Yiddish Folk Arts Program, which he directed for the following 30 years. ​A five-time Grammy-nominated producer/performer, Sapoznik has appeared on more than fifty records and has reissued more than thirty anthologies of Yiddish, jazz, old-time, cantorial, ragtime, blues, Italian, swing, and bluegrass recordings.

Program made possible, in part, by Marilyn Dobbs Higuera.