Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz, too.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.



If I didn’t lead a klezmer band, I might not hire one.  Yiddishe Cup might be too Jewish for me.

“Too Jewish” means anything — or anybody — more Jewish than oneself.  Example: Franz Rosenzweig, a German Jewish intellectual, said nothing Jewish — no matter how far out — was alien to him.  I tried Franz’s approach: I davened (prayed) with the yeshiva buchers in Boro Park, Brooklyn; drank schnapps at Telshe Yeshiva, Cleveland; and soaked in the mikvah (ritual bath) in Cleveland Heights.  Also, I read Rabbi Sherman Wine’s God-is-dead books.  I covered a lot of humentashn (bases).

Would I hire a klezmer band?


I did.  I hired Yiddishe Cup three times — for my kids’ b’nai mitzvot parties.  (And I got a decent price.)

1. For my daughter’s bat mitzvah party, I also hired a troupe of hospital-therapy dogs for the cocktail hour.

2. For my younger son, we had a DJ party, plus the klez band party.  My son organized the DJ party.  He hired the DJ — himself.

3. My older son had a trivia quiz, plus the klezmer band. That worked out well.  He wound up on Jeopardy!

Yiddishe Cup plays, at minimum, 15 minutes of Jewish music, and we use a dance leader, so everybody knows what to do.

Naturally, the goys like us best.  Jews have hang-ups.

I know about Jews and hang-ups.  I have belonged to more shuls than the Pope.  I was Reform, then Conservative, then Reform, and now Conservative again.

My friends and relatives don’t always hire Yiddishe Cup.  But I go to their parties and have a good time.  The weddings are enjoyable; the bar mitzvahs are sometimes difficult.  The DJ and his “dance facilitators” can be loud and obnoxious.  The DJ announces, “The young adults will gather on the dance floor for a group photo.”

Get in the picture yourself, DJ.  You look 18.   And the “young adults” are not young adults, they’re animals.  Stow the glow sticks.  Bring out the cattle prods.

The optimal level of Jewishness is Yiddishe Cup with therapy dogs.

Yiddishe Cup plays  The Ark 8 p.m. Sat (Feb.4), Ann Arbor, Mich.   Here is an unrepresentative video from last year’s  show:

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter


1 Kenny G { 02.01.12 at 10:00 am }

You should have done this with a Michigan accent.

2 Bert { 02.01.12 at 10:23 am }

To Kenny G:

I did The Ark video with a Michigan accent.

I wrote “The Optimal Level of Jewishness” post with an Ohio accent.

3 Kenny G { 02.01.12 at 10:37 am }

Oh. We hope to go to New Orleans this spring, and someone wrote on Facebook [that New Orleans] natives there speak something like Brooklynese. Something about same dominant ethnic groups, mentioning Jews (actually pretty small number in New Orleans, despite what they wrote).

You did that [video] shtick with a Rochester and Syracuse accent, too- imoh.

4 Jack V. { 02.01.12 at 11:56 am }

Corollaries to “too Jewish” include “not Jewish enough” and “not the right kind of Jewish”. Don’t get me started.

5 marc { 02.01.12 at 2:47 pm }

Yes, but have you gone into the mikvah in Crown Heights,davened at 770, or visited the Ohel [Lubavitcher rebbe’s grave]?

6 Bert { 02.01.12 at 4:42 pm }

To Marc:

That stuff is all too New York Jewish for me.

(By the way, New York Jews are too Jewish for me.)

7 Garry Kanter { 02.02.12 at 10:06 am }

And on the subject of accents, this is comedy gold -Pittsburgh Dad:

8 Garry Kanter { 02.02.12 at 10:08 am }
9 Garry Kanter { 02.02.12 at 12:09 pm }

By the way, New York Jews are too New York for me.

10 jack { 02.08.12 at 7:46 pm }

“The optimal level of Jewishness is Yiddishe Cup with therapy dogs.” YES! you should post a photo from lucy’s bat mitzvah.

11 Kenny G { 02.15.12 at 9:40 am }

Personally, I don’t think “Stratton ” is “jewish enough.”

Leave a Comment