Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony is arguably his most important concert work and most profound musical expression of his crisis of faith. But its linchpin is actually a variation on Hasidic legend from Ukraine in which a rebbe confronts God for failing to protect the Jewish people. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now in its tenth week, our new web feature looks at the meaningful ways composers and musicians from Ukraine—among them, Sholom Secunda, Alexander Olshanetsky, Lazare Saminsky and Yossele Rosenblatt—shaped the American Jewish musical landscape of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from klezmer and cantorial traditions to Yiddish theater and Jewish art music.
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