Brodner’s Cartoon du Jour: Rosenblatt

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


In our time and place, the humility of atonement and the calling to account have a deep imperative. Just open a newspaper or any news website. How fine a mass atonement and a dawning self-awareness would be.

This all brings to mind Cantor Yosele Rosenblatt. A recent Times piece about an intrepid audio amateur in Crown Heights who is meticulously restoring Rosenblatt’s old records said this about the cantor:

“Mr. Rosenblatt was born in Russia in 1882 and toured Eastern Europe as a child prodigy. In 1912 he immigrated to the United States and became the cantor at Ohab Zedek, an Orthodox synagogue then on 116th Street in Harlem. Blessed with a penetrating bell-like tenor with a range of two and a half octaves, and a gift for coloratura and falsetto, Mr. Rosenblatt had the ability to squeeze the pathos or elation out of every prayer.”

He was a celeb in his time and became most famous, perhaps, for singing in the first full-length “talkie” film, The Jazz Singer. Here, playing himself, he reminds Al Jolson of his father and of the huge tank-car of guilt he should be feeling. (Jolson can’t quite get Bill Demarest into the concert. I’m sure Preston Sturges could do it, but that’s another movie.) The cantor would not perform “Kol Nidre” in the movie, because he felt that it was a prayer and not appropriate for popular performance. In any case, you can see and hear this man called the “Jewish Caruso.”

I have included Max Bruch’s “Kol Nidre” below, performed by the incomparable Jacqueline Du Pré. Peace.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate