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.



The Jazz Temple was a former Packard showroom at Mayfield Road and Euclid Avenue. Coltrane and Dinah Washington  played there. The Jazz Temple was in business from 1960 to 1963. I passed the Jazz Temple weekly on my way to Sunday school at The Temple, the gold-domed Reform temple in University Circle.

Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver was the head rabbi at The Temple. He once spoke at the United Nations, advocating for the founding of the State of Israel. Rabbi Silver’s son, Dan, was the assistant rabbi. Dan  played football at Harvard and occasionally wrote for the Cleveland Edition.

At Sunday school, kids were mostly from Shaker Heights. One kid got a ride in a limo to temple. The driver wore a chauffeur’s cap. The limo wasn’t a Rolls; it was a Buick station wagon.

I couldn’t grasp how temple — the word — fit into the Jazz Temple. Was Jazz a religion too? Many years later, I met former beatniks who had actually gone to shows at the Jazz Temple.

abba-hillel-silverThe Jazz Temple was blown up in 1963. Somebody didn’t like the club or the owner, Winston Willis, a controversial black businessman. At The Temple religious school, we students attended services every Sunday morning to hear Rabbi Silver. (Services were on Sunday, not Saturday, in the 1950s at Silver’s.) Rabbi Silver looked like God. Nowadays, at The Temple East in Beachwood, there is a Abba Hillel Silver memorial study. The rabbi’s desk is laid out like he just stepped out for lunch. He died in 1963, just six days after Kennedy got murdered.

A slightly different version of this appeared 9/5/12. If you need baseball stuff, see my story at City Journal.


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1 Ken G. { 11.02.16 at 10:32 am }

The former chapel in the Maltz Center for the Performing Arts was also “blown up,” in a sense. The strong, beautiful character it had for so many decades has been wiped out.

2 Ken G. { 11.02.16 at 10:35 am }
Sure sorry I missed it. Gone about nine years when I moved here. All those hangouts on that side of Euclid were gone by then.

3 don friedman { 11.02.16 at 12:35 pm }

In ’62 or ’63 I drove from Erie to the Jazz Temple to see Miles and Philly Jo and Coltrane! I moved to Cleveland in ’65. I read Downbeat Magazine all the time and thought jazz clubs were royal looking. The dirty walls of the Jazz Temple and the overall dinge of the place did not match the top shelf musicians who played there. I couldn’t imagine why the best musicians in the world were playing in shabby places. It took me a little while to figure that out. Then I went to ‘Birdland’ in NYC and thought that was like a kitchen. The floor was linoleum!. Early 60’s was like that. Jazz was still coming out of the bop era. The quality of the music didn’t match the décor.

4 David Rowe { 11.03.16 at 8:42 am }

Bet stopping off at the Jazz Temple would’ve been more fun than Sunday School.

5 Arnie Berger { 11.05.16 at 9:56 am }

When I first saw Abba Hillel Silver I was a new arrival to Cleveland, 24 years old, so I saw him not as God but as a prophet. His biography tells of his enjoying lunches with old friends at a delicatessen on Euclid near 105th, telling jokes in Yiddish, for he grew up “Abe Silver on New York’s lower east side, speaking Yiddish. In the same neighborhood and in the same boys club was another boy who would also come to Cleveland: Barnett Brickner.

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