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.



I’m a German klezmer musician. Everyone thinks that fascinating. Everyone has questions for me.

Here are the answers:

I didn’t know any Jews. I just liked the music. My aunt told me, “Why do you play that silly music? You’re German!” I don’t think klezmer is silly music! I’ve studied Yiddish and I’ve been to klezmer conferences, and I have Jewish friends now.

Every year I play memorial programs, and each time at the Kristallnacht commemoration in my town there is always at least one Jewish tourist who comes up to me and says, “Are you Jewish?” And I say no, and he’s says, “You have to be!” Sometimes I tell him my grandfather is Romanian. It’s not true; I am German, but if a Jewish person insists I’m Jewish, who am I to disappoint him?

I am a klezmer musician, or a German klezmer musician. Your choice. I never wanted to be a Jew, and I never wanted to be not a Jew. Somebody once said, “You’re not really a Jew unless at one point in your life you didn’t want to be a Jew.” So maybe I am Jewish.

An American once called me a “poseur.” I had to look that word up. He claimed to be a klezmer musician from Cleveland, Ohio. He told me I shouldn’t play klezmer music because I’m not Jewish. He was emphatic about that. The middle of the United States is too red, I think.

Do I feel guilty about the Holocaust? Why should I? I don’t follow the tradition of my great-grandparents. If you think I’m a bad person for playing music from somewhere else, then you know damn little about music.

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1 comment

1 Bert Stratton { 05.03.23 at 10:25 am }

btw, my Wednesday-morning email blast isn’t working right now.

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