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Oy To The World

Don’t Know From yiddishradioproject.org? So Try It. You’ll Like It.

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From Jewish jive to vintage matzo commercials, the Yiddish Radio Project serves up tasty tidbits from radio’s golden age. Many of the rarities are turning up on a compilation CD, NPR’s All Things Considered, a road show currently schlepping around the country, and, most conveniently, the Net (yiddishradioproject.org). So why should a surfer who doesn’t know from Yiddishkeit visit the site? For one thing, there’s the swing. Anyone hep to Gershwin and Goodman will savor the sounds of klezmer-jazz clarinetist Dave Tarras and his rival Naftule Brandwein, a meshuggener said to have worn an Uncle Sam outfit illumined by Christmas lights. Then there’s Charles A. Lindbergh’s luftmensch counterpart Charles A. Levine, celebrated in schmaltzy song as the first transatlantic air passenger. And for any schlemiel with the chutzpah to kvetch that nobody could stomach such goodies without understanding Yiddish, there’s the nifty Yid-O-Matic, which uses RealPlayer to provide simultaneous English subtitles. The brainy ”netniks” who cooked up this gimmick have reason to kvell.