Tikva Records and the American Jet Set

[This post is part of a series updating the award recipient projects of the Jewish New Media Innovation Fund.]

by Roger Bennett, David Katznelson, Josh Kun and Courtney Holt

Since we received the Jewish New Media Innovation Fund grant last year, we at Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation focused on a project that revisited the amazing history of Tikva Records. Tikva Records was founded in 1947 as an independent Jewish record label. For the next 30 years, it would record an eclectic range of Jewish-American songs, including klezmer pop, cantorial singing, Catskills medleys and Israeli folk tunes. Think of it as the Jewish “Motown”. The project allowed us to explore a number of ways to touch, educate and entertain people with this project. Josh Kun, one of the Idelsohn founders, spoke with NPR’s Terry Gross about the project and some of the musicians featured on Songs for the Jewish-American Jet Set, which you can listen to online.

We initially released a physical box set of music and text, which can be purchased on Amazon and, as a companion piece, we developed the first of our apps, which serves as a free companion to the project and allows people to sample the music, read the text, check out related video and see integrated social activity and personal stories. The app itself has had over 5,000 comments to date.

Also in support of this project, we launched the first ever Jewish Pop-Up Store in San Francisco’s mission district this past December, which ran the full month with great programming celebrating Tikva’s history and sound. The store was part performance space, part gallery space and served as a mecca for Jewish vinyl collectors. The centerpiece of the store was another free app we developed to explore the sound of Tikva, allowing anyone to remix their favorite Tikva music and share with their friends.

We blogged all of the events at so you can see what you may have missed. The store was a great success with over 25,000 people visiting during the month.

We are now hard at work on plans for our next project coming this fall and are grateful to the Jewish New Media grant for giving us the ability to launch these two apps in support of our project.

The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation is a critically acclaimed all-volunteer non-profit organization. We are a small but dedicated team from the music industry and academia who passionately believe Jewish history is best told by the music we have loved and lost. In order to incite a new conversation about the present, we must begin by listening anew to the past.

The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation is a 2011-2012 recipient of the Jewish New Media Innovation Fund, a pilot collaboration of the Jim Joseph FoundationRighteous Persons Foundation, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation that supported projects offering innovative ways of using new media to encourage the next generation of Jews to engage in life and community Jewishly.