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.



A friend, who had moved away, rented a room at a hotel by I-271, in suburban Cleveland, to sit shiva. He hung around that room for a couple days. Visitors knocked on the door, which was kept ajar. Ten Jews in a suite by I-271, chanting Hebrew prayers. Subversive. My friend left town after three days. It was no picnic, that hotel, except for a picnic I brought in: $204 worth of chicken Marsala and sides from a kosher caterer named Norman.

I knew Norman from klezmer gigs. Way back he had thrown dirty plates all over the kitchen floor at the Crawford Auto Museum. So many plates, my band couldn’t roll our musical gear and carts over the jumble. It was like a Greek party center at 4 a.m.

Then a wedding client asked me about Norman’s work, and I said, “I wouldn’t use him.” She told Norman. Thanks. Norman called me, bitching and moaning. He said his messy auto-museum gig had been his first off-premises catering job. I hadn’t known that. I told him I wouldn’t bad-rap him again. It wasn’t loshn hora (evil gossip), my trashing him. You’re obligated to tell the truth when asked for a business reference.

I spent $204 on Norman for hot food at an I-271 shiva. Everything is kosher now between Norman and me, I think.

(Norman is a pseudonym)

Next week’s post will go up on Thursday instead of Wednesday because of Yom Kippur.

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1 Ken Goldberg { 09.28.22 at 9:27 am }

So he’s one of those skimpy “3-day shiva” types unless, of course, he continued it at a different location. “3-day shiva,” throwing dirty plates – there might be a connection in rebellious behavior.

2 Joel Feuer { 09.28.22 at 8:07 pm }

Lshana tovah, a healthy year to you and family. Greatly enjoy the stories you post and have in WSJ. And great idea with shiva in hotel- cant fit people in apartments, houses may not be suitable, children may be asleep at 7pm, etc…

3 Ken Goldberg { 09.30.22 at 12:43 am }

Some have a shiva in a nursing home or whatever the institution the deceased had been living in. I was against that for my mother. In that case my father could have participated more but I really didn’t want it there but in my brother and sister-in-law’s home.

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