The optimal level of Jewishness

Would I hire a klezmer band?


I did. I hired my band, Yiddishe Cup, three times — for my kids’ b’nai mitzvot parties. (And I got a decent price!)

1. For my daughter’s bat mitzvah party, I also hired a troupe of hospital-therapy dogs for the cocktail hour.

2. For my younger son, we had a DJ party plus the klez-band party. My son organized the DJ party. He hired the DJ — himself.

3. My first son had a trivia quiz, plus the klezmer band. That worked out well. He wound up on Jeopardy!

Yiddishe Cup plays, at minimum, 15 minutes of Jewish music, and we use a dance leader, so everybody knows what to do.

Naturally, the goys like us best. Jews have hang-ups.

I know about Jews and hang-ups. I have belonged to more shuls than the Pope. I was first Reform, then Conservative, then Reform, and now Conservative again.

My friends and relatives don’t always hire Yiddishe Cup. Nevertheless, I go to their parties and have a good time. The weddings are most enjoyable; the bar mitzvahs are sometimes difficult. The DJ and his “dance facilitators” can be really loud and obnoxious. The DJ announces, “Will the young adults please gather on the dance floor for a group photo.”

Get in the picture yourself, DJ! You look 18. These “young adults” are not young adults, they’re animals. Forget about the glow sticks. Bring out the cattle prods.

The optimal level of Jewishness is my band, Yiddishe Cup, with therapy dogs.


About the Author
Bert Stratton is a musician and landlord in Cleveland, Ohio. He is an occasional contributor to the New York Times, Jerusalem Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer and City Journal. Byliner chose his essay "The Landlord's Tale" as one of the best magazine articles of 2012. He blogs at "Klezmer Guy: Real Music & Real Estate."