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.



Esther Isenstadt, a bassist, ran classified ads in the Cleveland Jewish News in the 1970s-80s: “Sophisticated music for discriminating people” . . . “Leave your records at home and bring LIFE to your party” . . . “From ‘The Hora’ to ‘Beat It.'”

I didn’t see her much around town. She worked the senior-adult circuit while Yiddishe Cup played the glam jobs: bar mitzvahs and weddings. Seriously, that’s where the money was. Esther played classical and pop, and some Jewish.

Many years later (2003), I ran into Esther at The Weils, an assisted living facility. She was 86. I told her I had one of her recycled Tara Publications Israeli songbooks. I had bought it used at the Cleveland Music School Settlement. She smiled. Then she didn’t smile, and said, “I never thought I’d end up here!”

Esther had played in four suburban orchestras, raised a family, taught elementary school, led party bands and taught ESL in “retirement.” I had learned “Shir Lashalom” (“A Song of Peace”) from Esther’s book. That tune was a must-play in 1995 — the year Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.

Esther had rubber-stamped Esther Isenstadt Orchestras in her songbooks. A Jewish bandleader with a rubber stamp. I got a rubber stamp.

Maybe I’ll follow her into The Weils. But I doubt it. I’m more a Menorah Park guy. Closer to town. (Esther died in 2010.)

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1 Steven Mark Greenman { 04.14.21 at 9:14 am }

I don’t think I ever met Esther but I also have lots of “used” music with her signature stamp.

2 Ken Goldberg { 04.14.21 at 11:46 am }

Yes, I think the Weils location is awful. So is South Franklin Circle’s. The latter – not at all within walking distance of downtown Chagrin Falls for most people – is across the street from the major cemetery in the area and next to very unattractive Chagrin Falls Park. Maybe one reason The Weils is no longer a kosher facility (unless this actually changes under Menorah Park jurisdiction – highly unlikely) is kosher food can’t travel that far out…. I’m quite certain it was Esther who had arranged for the band we had gotten for our wedding in 1976. I think my brother-in-law John Weil had suggested her.

3 bill jones { 04.15.21 at 11:01 am }

Thanks for the remembrance, Bert. We need to keep acknowledging, with insight, little known but influential members of the Jewish community, like Esther.

4 Dave Rowe { 04.19.21 at 8:04 pm }

I’ve hooked up with a guy with a McCartney bass – it’s violin shaped – just like the one Paul played in the early days – the chicks down here are screaming out loud.

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