Idelsohn Society

The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation is a critically acclaimed all-volunteer non-profit organization. It is made up of 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. Formed in order to incite a new conversation about the present, they have focused on listening anew to the past:

 The Idelsohn Society has done 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 that could be found 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”, and “Black Sabbath.”
  • Creating concert showcases like “Mazeltov Mis Amigos” at Yoshi’s in Oakland, CA and Lincoln Center in New York and “Jews on Vinyl Revue” at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
  • 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, featuring exhibits, nightly musical performances, oral histories, and lectures. The Tikva Records store drew over 25,000 visitors. 

All of this work was driven by the passion and energies of our volunteer supporters as well as donors across the United States who share the belief that music creates conversations otherwise impossible in daily life. 

The Idelsohn Society was founded by Roger Bennett, Courtney Holt, David Katznelson and Josh Kun. The Society is so 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.