Philadelphia Sher Project featured in Kehillah newsletter!

The Philadelphia Sher Project was featured in the Kehillah of Center City (Philadelphia)’s newsletter last week.  Check it out below.  Here’s the Kehillah’s web site for more info.

Kehillah of Center City Funds the Musical Initiatives Project at Congregation Kol Tzedek

Thanks to a grant from Federation’s Kehillah of Center City, the Philadelphia sher, a klezmer song and dance, is making a comeback!

Meredith Aska McBride, University of Pennsylvania senior, is an active participant Kol Tzedek’s Philadelphia Sher Project. McBride has been taking lessons with the eminent klezmer trumpeter Susan Watts, whose family has deep roots in the Philadelphia Jewish music scene. Along with the Kol Tzedek Simcha Band, McBride learned to play the sher, a klezmer song with deep roots in the city, but known by very few people today.

Last month, the group performed with renowned drummer Elaine Hoffman Watts, (Susan’s mom). Congregant Naomi Segal, who danced the sher as a child, taught the dance to concert attendees. “People had a great time dancing and the band certainly had a great time playing,” said McBride.

“Without Federation’s grant the Philadelphia sher would remain a hidden treasure,” noted Kol Tzedek’s rabbi, Lauren Grabelle Herrmann. She added, “Our Musical Initiatives Program aims to educate Jews about this rich spiritual and cultural legacy and to integrate music into the fabric of community life.”

The $2,250 grant funded Kol Tzedek’s Musical Initiatives Program, which includes two projects. The Davening Leaders Program trains 5-10 community members to become proficient prayer leaders, and the Philadelphia Sher Project aims to return this klezmer song and dance to active use. Community members will participate in the project through research, performance and education.

Federation’s Department of Jewish Life and Learning has seven Kehillot–community outreach arms–which foster collaboration among community institutions and provide a venue for interaction and cooperation.

Each Kehillah allocates Community Partnership Grants within its geographic area, like the one given to the Musical Initiatives Program. For more information on these grants and how to apply, contact Rabbi Shira Stutman at or 215.832.0856.

For additional information about the Kehillah of Center City and its grants, contact Susan Stanek at or 215.832.0597.


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