72nd Annual Hadassah Concert to Feature Klezmer Band

By Beth Orenstein

Bethlehem Group of Hadassah Greater Philadelphia Chapter

The Manhattan Klezmer Band is bringing its toe-tapping, Eastern European party music imbued with Jewish tonalities and spirituality to Congregation Brith Sholom in Bethlehem at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8. 


The hour-long concert is the 72nd annual sponsored by the Bethlehem-Easton Hadassah Group to benefit Hadassah, the Zionist Relief Organization of America, and the Hadassah Medical Center in Israel that serves all people regardless of race or religion. 


“We will be playing traditional Klezmer music: horas, bulgars and freylekhs, and other traditional dances with some doinas thrown in for good measure,” said Pennsylvania native Jay Rattman, who is the band’s clarinetist. 


Expect some improvisation, too. “We have a fairly extensive repertoire, and we usually tend to come up with a set list right before we play depending on what we're in the mood to play,” Rattman said. 


The band started as a student ensemble at Manhattan School of Music in 2008. It was the school's first Klezmer ensemble and was coached by the clarinetist, David Krakauer. Every member of the band has since graduated, but it continues to play together around New York City where the members live. It also plays a few times a year at the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, where Rattman grew up. 


The group includes Sara Sherman on piano, Rebecca Steinberg on trumpet, Joanna Sternberg on bass, Ben Sutin on violin, and Rattman on clarinet. During a reception afterward, band members will "meet and greet" anyone who wants to say hello. 


Tickets for two including the dessert buffet are $60 and are available at the door. For ticket information, call Carole Maisel at 610-554-3788 or email hadassahbe@gmail.com.