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 New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



I couldn’t get Alice, my wife, to go to KlezKamp. I went without her (1989). I took our kids Teddy and Lucy, and spent a lot of time in the game room and swimming pool that year. The pool was slightly larger than a silver dollar, and you had to coat yourself with skin cream, or get a rash. The kids and I went to New York City afterward. Lucy, then 5, made me carry her everywhere. We weren’t going too far. We ate at Popeye’s on Times Square.

When we got back to Cleveland, my wife said, “The kids look anemic!” But we ate beans and rice and lemonade at Popeye’s, Alice! (The kids weren’t crazy about the borscht and herring at KlezKamp.) Alice never trusted me with food-and-kids.

The next year Alice came to KlezKamp, and we brought the entire family, including toddler Jack. Alice took folk dancing classes but the sessions weren’t enough exercise for her. She found an indoor tennis court which was dusty and dark, like playing in a parking garage.The balls turned gray in a minute. Also, we went skiing on Christmas. I thought the slopes would be empty. No, a lot of Asians and Jews were there. Also, we sneaked into The Pines resort for ice skating. The Pines was a 1950s Borscht Belt movie. Trivia contests in the lobby.

We kept going back to KlezKamp, and every year Alice would complain, “I can’t believe we’re going to KlezKamp again!” After 12 years, we hung it up. Alice had learned all the dances, the kids were thoroughly brainwashed with klez and Yiddishkeit, and I had met all the old klez guys: Max Epstein, Felix Fibich, Danny Rubenstein, Velvel Pasternak, Paul Pincus, Leon Schwartz, Ray Musiker, Ben Bazyler, Sid Beckerman, German “That’s Herman in Russian” Goldenshteyn, Howie Leess and Elaine Hoffman Watts. KlezKamp was great.

Jack, drums, Lucy, clr, Klezkamp 1993.

Jack, drums, Lucy, clr, KlezKamp 1993.

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1 Robin Lieberman { 04.03.19 at 11:39 am }

Bert, this may not be current but I enjoyed reading it. was this one of your first postings of your blog? Eatiñg at Popeyes reminds me of why I did not continue taking students to Quebec while I was teaching. my intention was to expose my students to a different culture in their own. While we were in Quebec City I arranged several meals for us and was especially happy to take them to an authentic quebecois restaurant. But every time they had some free time they turned the trip into what I called a junk food Jamboree! Popeyes was one of the few fast food places and they frequented did it whenever they could!

2 MARC Adler { 04.03.19 at 1:55 pm }

I remember meeting you and your family at lunch at Klezkamp eating at your table.

3 Gerald Ross { 04.04.19 at 7:32 am }

Looks like KlezKamp is being revived this year at the Ashokan Center near Woodstock NY.

4 Irwin Weinberger { 04.05.19 at 10:23 pm }

You evoked some great memories of my trips to Klezkamp with your family. I feel those were really special times. Nice blog Bert.

5 Merlin Shepherd { 08.10.20 at 5:21 am }

That shot was taken by Al Winn z’l during an Oom-Chicks class, led by me. I’m in the pic, kneeling with Lucy. Just sayin’

Hope you and the family are doing well Bert. mit a grus fun UK

6 Bert Stratton { 08.10.20 at 8:18 am }

To Merlin Shepherd:

Thanks for the photo credit. Good to hear from you.

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