What is Klezmer? Short klezmer background:
Klezmer is the traditional music of the Jews who lived in Eastern Europe. Klezmer is a combination of 2 words in Hebrew, “Klei “(כלי) and “Zemer”(זמר) which means- tools and singing. The modern form of this folk music evolved in the 19th century in Eastern Europe. The Klezmer bands were traveling around performing their shows among the Jewish communities and were invited to perform in weddings and events in the community life.
The bands were a lot of times traveling with Roma people musicians as they shared same social status. They were influencing each other both musically and linguistically. In the Yiddish slang of klezmer, there are many words from the Roma language.
The traditional instrument in the Klezmer is the violin, clarinet, double bass and more.
Burstein’s Klezmer Basement
Every Saturday night in Jerusalem there is aKlezmer show in the ultra-orthodox Jews area. The show is open for “outsiders” and they are very welcoming
tourists. It is a live music show with comical aspects. It might be one of the few chances you will get to be in contact with ultra-orthodox Jews who are willing to talk freely about their way of life and experience.
As it happens at the end of Shabbat, they also perform the Jewish ceremony of ending Shabbat (הבדלה, ‘Havdala’). They serve a traditional Jewish dish called ‘Kugel’, which is baked noodles or potatoes mashed together. Don’t have high expectations, it is defiantly not hummus.
The dish is so familiar with the European Jews that a famous Rabbi once said:” The one who doesn’t eat kugel on Shabbat, we should be concern about his Judaism”.
This is the best thing to do in Jerusalem on Saturday evening, a live klezmer show.
Noticed all the bookshelves around?
The basement is also a storage of a large Yiddish library, with many special and unique books. the place is associated with the Yiddish museum in the central bus station of Tel Aviv. If you are interested in that topic this place can have added value for you.
How do I get to the Burstein’s klezmer basement in Jerusalem?
It is located on Yermiyahu 52 Street. The entrance is a bit hard to find, and a bit underground. It is literally underground, it’s in the basement…
The show is every Saturday night. As you already know, Shabbat’s ending depends on the sunset, and it changes from winter to summer.
In winter the show starts at 21:00
In summer the show starts at 22:00
Cost: 50 ILS.