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. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.

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 New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



I’m a funeral strategist. I advise mourners, like my wife, who occasionally gets disoriented at funerals. I don’t.

funeral strategistThe Jewish funeral parlor in Cleveland is BK Broiler (aka Berkowitz Kumin). Many funeral services are only 15 minutes. Others go way too long. It’s bad when too many relatives speak. Three relatives is plenty.  On the other hand, I once attended a funeral where nobody spoke. That was 12 minutes. The sweet spot is 25 minutes, with two to three personal eulogies.

I arrive at the funeral parlor 20 minutes before, to work the family room, where only relatives sit. I want to reminisce, catch up with friends.

A tip to eulogists, don’t say, “She enjoyed traveling in her later years.” That’s so boring. Talk about the person’s youth, instead.

BK Broiler employees wear dark suits and act polite. They never say anything off script. They say, “This ends our service here. Please go to your cars and turn on your lights.” The satin black, throw-away yarmulkes are always new, never recycled.

Why does B-K  have no windows, at least in the chapel? Are windows against Jewish law?  (Shuls must have windows, my rabbi told me.) Maybe mourners don’t want to see bums walk by.  Non-Jewish funeral parlors don’t have windows either, I’ve noticed. Think about it. Or don’t think about. It’s my job to think about it.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter


1 Dave Rowe { 03.02.16 at 9:59 am }

Lyle Lovett sings about liking funerals because you get to see people you won’t see “until the next time somebody dies.”

2 David Korn { 03.02.16 at 10:26 am }

Thank you for a nice little piece.

3 Ted { 03.02.16 at 1:37 pm }

I liked this one.

4 Ken Goldberg { 03.02.16 at 3:14 pm }

Why no windows? That’s an easy one:

a) Mourners don’t want strangers looking in, and attendees probably don’t want people to peer inside, either;
b) People at a funeral, or the preliminaries, should be concentrating on the depth and significance of what’s going on inside, not being tempted to look outside. The burial is entirely outside, anyway;
c) It seems that funerals go with a fairly dark atmosphere, and if there are windows, they’d provably be covered, so what’s the point? Also, covered windows sort of symbolize being shut out from the world – like being in a casket. Not an amenable image for a funeral – or anywhere else, either.

If the family or whoever is in charge want the blending with nature, then the whole enchilada can be held graveside – weather permitting.

5 Don Edwards { 03.03.16 at 10:17 am }

This piece completely nails it on funerals – thank you.
Windows in a funeral parlor would be unthinkable.

6 Harvey { 03.09.16 at 9:35 am }

You want BK freaky? You help carry your loved one’s casket to the hearse in the parking lot, they slide him in, slam the hatch, you turn around and one of the polite employees is handing you an audio CD of the service. The one that just ended seconds ago. Labeled, with the name of your loved one. Next!

Leave a Comment