Oral History: Where the Trail of Vinyl Picks Up

December 11th, 2011 | David Katznelson | 1 Comment | Categories: Blog, Events, Tikva Records

  • I’d like to tell you a story.

    The whole purpose of this pop-up record store is to physcially manifest the mission of the Idelsohn Society: we want to bring forgotten Jewish music to a new generation of people. We want to look at our history through recorded sound. The most amazing thing happened here within hours of our opening. Every day we show a double feature of Yiddish musicals. We have a little theater in the store. There was a husband and wife who were watching one of the musicals, American Matchmaker, and the husband pointed at the screen and said, “That man, Leo Fuchs, that man was the man my mother used to sing with.”

    I jumped right into their conversation and said, “Excuse me, your mother used to play with Leo Fuchs?”

    And he said yes.

    I said, “I can’t believe this. Let me ask you a personal question: is your mother still alive?”

    “Yes she is.”

    “Does she live near here?”

    “She lives in Redwood City.”

    I was blown away. I gave him my phone number. “Please call me. We are doing an oral history day here at Tikva Records, and we would love to have her here.”

    Robin Teitlebaum called me up two days later from Redwood City, saying she had gotten my number from her son, and she wanted to come down and tell her story. She was in the Yiddish theater from when she was 10 years old until she was 24. She performed with everybody.

    This era of Jewish history still has many aspects of it that are fuzzy, that remain untold. Having Ms. Teitelbaum come to the store to talk about it gives us an opportunity to get a new point of view of the time.

    If this was the only thing we got out of having the Pop-Up store, we would have already won. And yet … so much more is happening … with the live shows, with folks we have been connected to … with our organization being embraced by a neighborhood and various communities. By people coming in, sitting down, and listening for hours to records they never knew existed …

    The son and his wife just happened to be in the small theater when I walked by, talking about something that happened to be deeply meaningful to me. The Idelsohn Society thrives on these occurrences and this store is giving us a venue for them to happen often.

    Oral History Day happens today, Sunday, December 11, at Tikva Records in San Francisco, from 2:00pm until 5:00pm. Image up top from American Matchmaker (1940), starring Leo Fuchs

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One Response and Counting...

  • Mickie Williams 12.11.2011

    I live in Philadelphia, read in the Philadelphia Inquirer about this release, and am interested in more details about obtaining a copy of “Songs for the Jewish Jet Set,” along with the costs, etc. As a senior citizen, I am not up on modern technology and haven’t the faintest idea of how to “burn” my own cd. Thank you in advance for any information you may send.

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