Preserver of Jewish music

  • The Jerusalem Post

Charles Krauthammer, the Washington Post columnist who quit a job as the chief resident in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in the 1970s to find work sharing his views with a global audience (his op-eds are carried in The Jerusalem Post among other publications), does not want to talk about himself or his political opinions.

Instead, the 59-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner wants to discuss the music program he and his wife recently started to try to revive and preserve Jewish music that has been lost to the masses. “Pro Musica Hebraica,” as it’s called, just finished its first season to critical acclaim, and Krauthammer is looking to raise awareness about the project as it gears up for its second year.
He points to many styles and eras that are neglected these days – the victim of times both banal and horrific. Though the first season focused on Eastern European 20th-century themes, Krauthammer would like to present a wide variety of works in coming concerts, including Ladino, Dutch cantorial and baroque Jewish pieces – the latter of which, he noted, “many people think is an oxymoron: baroque Jewish, what does that apply to, Jackie Mason?”

So if submitting to an interview is what he has to do, so be it. And, agreeing to submit, he does so good-naturedly. The sharp, commanding strokes of a pen that doesn’t refrain from taking the powers-that-be to task – a recent column explained why he rejected an invitation to a White House stem cell bill signing ceremony – belie a warm, amiable, humorous person. Of course, for all Krauthammer’s strong neoconservative convictions, tempered though they might be with support for abortion rights and other socially liberal positions, he was raised in Canada.

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