Mameloshn's shtick for Hanukkah is all the Buzz

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Print

By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

Sit back on your tuches, nosh on latkes and kibbitz with fellow Oak Parkers next week because it's time again for Hanukkah at the Buzz. The community's Yiddish singing group, Mameloshn, will be treating listeners for a 14th year to some of their tunes for the occasion.

Hanukkah is the main event for Mameloshn — Yiddish for "mother tongue" — said its organizer, Mike Bass. The group's singers and instrumentalists have been performing songs in Yiddish for 18 years. Yiddish is a High German language of Jewish origin very similar to Hebrew. It's spoken today in many Orthodox Jewish communities around the world.

Bass was working as the adult education chairperson at Oak Park Temple and decided to present a program about Yiddish lullabies. Two members of the temple began to sing and play them together, and eventually the group grew. There are now about a dozen current members who meet monthly.

"This took off and it's continued to kind of grow and prosper," Bass said.

A few years after the group was formed, Bass reached out to Buzz Café owner Laura Maychruk about the members holding a Hanukkah event there. They've been singing and playing for Hanukkah ever since.

Maychruk said the Buzz started offering a dinner special of latkes, or potato pancakes, with sour cream and applesauce, which is traditional Hanukkah fare. Mameloshn is a big hit, she said, and the group packs the café every time. Sometimes singers have had to bring their own chairs to accommodate the large crowd.

"Their passion for their music is evident in their singing — they really sing from the heart," said Max Weiss, the rabbi at Oak Park Temple. He said the group is made up of older singers who remember Yiddish language and music from their youth and younger ones who are seeking to preserve it. Weiss said their performances have brought to the temple a level of awareness about Eastern European Jewish culture, connecting many congregants with their roots. They sing at the temple about four times a year.

Besides the temple's holiday services, Bass said Mameloshn performed at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie for Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. They do a similar program for the holiday in Oak Park that now includes art and music. Bass said they've also developed a program for Tu Bishvat, the New Year of the Trees, which they performed at Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Their songs are performed from their original Yiddish compositions or the group translates songs to Yiddish, Bass said. Audience participation is always a goal.

In the group's 18 years, Bass said members have come to learn how expressive Yiddish is concerning the human condition and Jewish culture. The other wonderful thing is the ability to share the songs with their families during holidays, Bass said. He continues to be a part of Mameloshn because it's a group of friends who have grown together musically.

The Hanukkah celebration at the Buzz Café will be held Dec. 13. The program will have a children's portion that runs from 6 to 7:15 p.m. The show will continue for teens and adults from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. Song sheets will be available for audience members and they'll light Hanukkah candles and say prayers.

To reserve a seat and a latke dinner, visit www.oakparktemple.com/yiddish-mameloshn.html.

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and OakPark.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.


            
SubscribeClassified
MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad

Latest Comments