The Jewish Advocate: Old B&B record striking a chord with young Jews

Originally published in The Jewish Advocate.

Bagels and BongosA record cut more than 40 years ago in Boston is at the center of a new nonprofit organization’s efforts to grab the attention of young Jewish adults. “Bagels and Bongos” was a hit for the Irving Fields Trio in 1959; now, a group of community-minded individuals are hoping “Bagels and Bongos” will strike a chord with unaffiliated Jews in their 20s and 30s.

The folks behind the record launch are Reboot Stereophonics, a division of Reboot, a nonprofit described by Jules Shell, one of its founders, as “starting an open space for conversation … about identity, about who we are.”

Fields is still active at age 90, playing six nights a week at Nino’s Tuscany in midtown Manhattan. Last week, he spoke with The Jewish Advocate by phone to reminisce about the Boston roots of “Bagels and Bongos.”  Continue reading

The Jewish Advocate: Wiesel, fascinated with Jewish tales, still spinning them

Originally published in The Jewish Advocate.

BOSTON – For 31 years, Elie Wiesel has been sharing his “Fascination with Jewish Tales” with increasingly large audiences of his long-running lecture series by the same name. Next week, Wiesel kicks off Boston University’s annual three-lecture series with a talk entitled “Why Pray?”; it will be held at Metcalf Hall on the university’s Commonwealth Avenue campus.

“I love tales, I always have,” Wiesel told the Advocate in a telephone interview Monday. He credits the centrality of storytelling in his life to his early upbringing in the Hasidic world of Eastern Europe. “Hasidism is not only tales, but it’s also tales. No other religious movement concentrates so much on storytelling and tales as the Hasidic movement,” he said.

His love of storytelling is apparent even in a phone conersation, which continually veered onto tangents as new anecdotes sprang to Wiesel’s mind. Whether adding color to facts or imparting advice to a young reporter, Wiesel cannot help himself when a story comes to mind.

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