Air Canada passengers stuck aboard a delayed flight on Wednesday were treated to an impromptu onboard klezmer concert.
When Eminem (who is white) is the most popular rapper, Tiger Woods (who is part African American and part Asian) is the greatest golfer and Serena and Venus Williams (African Americans) dominate women's tennis, should it upset us that Jewish Culture Festivals are run by non-Jews for audiences of primarily non-Jews, and that klezmer music is performed by non-Jewish performers for non-Jewish audiences?
These thoughts came to mind reading Ruth Ellen Gruber's "Virtually Jewish" (University of California, 2002), an account of the renaissance of Jewish culture in Europe often in places where Jews no longer live, and a discussion of the complexities and contradictions it has engendered.
Within minutes of my opening the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) Virtual Shabbat CD-ROM, people gathered around my desk. Klezmer music was coming from my computer, and kitchen cabinets, appliances and refrigerators were all dancing on my screen.
After an introduction by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, founder and director of NJOP, I clicked on a picture of a kitchen and started this lively revue; other choices could have been a dining room, a synagogue or something labeled Hebrew crash course.