Legacy Projects

Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation

The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation is a critically acclaimed all-volunteer non-profit organization. We are a small but dedicated team from the music industry and academia who passionately believe Jewish history is best told by the music we have loved and lost. In order to incite a new conversation about the present, we must begin by listening anew to the past.

We do this in a number of ways:

  • Re-releasing lost classics and compilations like Mazeltov, Mis Amigos, and carefully curated compilations like Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations and Songs for the Jewish-American Jet Set: The Tikva Records Story 1950-1973, complete with deeply researched liner notes in a thoughtfully designed package.
  • Filming the story of every musician we can find across the country to build a digitally-based archive of the music and the artists who created it in order to preserve their legacy for future generations.
  • Curating museum exhibits that showcase the stories behind the music, like “Jews on Vinyl”, which is traveling the nation, and “Black Sabbath,” the longest running museum at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
  • Creating concert showcases like “Mazeltov Mis Amigos” at Yoshi’s and Lincoln Center and “Jews on Vinyl Revue” at the Skirball Cultural Center.
  • Building interactive digital apps to complement the albums and allow a deeper dive into the music and stories.
  • Bringing the world’s first ever 1950’s pop-up Jewish record store to San Francisco for a month, featuring exhibits, nightly musical performances, oral histories, and lectures. The Tikva Records store drew over 25,000 visitors.

All of this work is driven by the passion and energies of our volunteer supporters and donors across the country who share the belief that music creates conversations otherwise impossible in daily life. Our work has lifted the past into the present, from the pages of the New York Times, to the NPR airwaves, and the stage of Lincoln Center.

The Idelsohn Society was founded by Roger Bennett, Courtney Holt, David Katznelson and Josh Kun. We are named for Abraham Zevi Idelsohn, legendary Jewish musicologist and writer of everybody’s favorite classic, “Hava Nagila.” Idelsohn devoted his life to studying, gathering, and classifying Jewish music in all of its forms in order to better understand the very nature of Jewishness itself.