The New American-Jewish Songbook
Music, Humor, Schmoozing
Sunday mornings 8 AM – 11 AM
The New Radio Flavor of Chagigah
Chagigah is your Sunday morning oasis for enjoyable Music, Humor and Schmoozing. Chagigah has been a Sunday morning listening tradition for more than 40 years, broadcasting from downtown Boston on WERS-FM, and streaming world wide. We thank you for making Chagigah one of America’s most listened to contemporary Jewish radio programs.
Hal Slifer, celebrating his third year as host and producer of Chagigah, has freshened up our very popular program to make it a fun listening experience for our diverse community of Chagigah listeners. Our Featured Hosts introduce and explore with you the many styles and flavors of Jewish singers and songwriters from The United States, Israel and from around the world.
We welcome your requests, ideas and thoughts, and you can reach us at HalSlifer@WERS.org.
Producer and Host of Chagigah
Known as the Jewish Historian for his video work with Jewish organizations and his Legacy Videos for hundreds of Jewish families, Hal brings his talented Jewish radio programming skills to Chagigah. Hal worked in radio upon his graduation from Boston University and lived the nomadic life of a radio DJ before he traded in his microphone for a video camera.
Hal has perfected the Family History style of interviewing and brings his radio talents to the airwaves of WERS. Before taking over as host and producer of Chagigah, Hal worked as the fill in DJ for WERS’ George Knight and Company morning show.
On Chagigah, Hal enjoys reminiscing about his Jewish roots and childhood while playing the best in Contemporary Jewish music, Schmoozing with his guests and laughing along with his audience, with the best of Jewish humor.
Hal is married and lives in Newton, MA with his wife Dee and their son David.
Cantor Steve Abramowitz
Cantor Steve Abramowitz, following undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego, embarked on a 14-year career in radio and television broadcasting. Along the way, Steve remained active in the synagogue of his youth, teaching religious school, getting active in a young adult group, and lay leading a Kol Nidre service.
He directed religious schools in Gloucester and Holliston, while finding his true passion as Cantor at Temple Ner Tamid (TNT) in Peabody, from September 2009 to February 2019. This year, Steve will be leading High Holidays services at B’nai Tikvah in Canton, MA. He hopes to continue teaching Jewish Liturgy to Hebrew College graduate students online.
Steve has accepted a position teaching English Language Learners with Fitchburg Public Schools. Steve is married to Meredith, a Speech and Language Pathologist, and is the proud father to 9-year-old twins Ella and Gabriel.
Joey Baron never imagined he would be doing what he is doing now. After all, he was a jazz and rock’n’roll fan who knew nothing about ‘Jewish music.” Eight years ago, he gave up the increasingly meaningless career as an advertising creative director to start the Boston Jewish Music Festival. Thanks to the recent merger of the Festival with the New Center, Joey is now the Artistic Director of the Jewish Arts Collaborative, perhaps the greatest job in the world. He’s also worked as a community organizer, a dorm director, a kite salesman, a flower deliverer, a teacher, and an Uber driver. Even when growing up in Mattapan, Joey has always been the guy who turned his friends on to his latest musical finds.
Now, with Joey's Gems, he gets to share his finds with WERS listeners, near and far.
Bassist Jim Guttmann informs Chagigah’s klezmer segment with the experience of over 35 years of klezmer research as well as performing with Boston’s Klezmer Conservatory Band and close to 50 years of music performance from the Beach Boys & Rolling Stones to Mozart & Stravinsky to jazz & funk. On Chagigah’s Klezmer Correspondent segment he shares the insights he has gained as the klezmer music revival has moved from the recreation of traditional performances to fusions with old idioms and contemporary music styles.
Jewish Chorale Highlights
Josh’s passion is music, the varied ways in which Jews express themselves musically, the traditional cantillation of the Hebrew Bible, and choral music. His research has led him to explore music in the Holocaust, the Early Baroque Italian Jewish composer Salamone Rossi, the history of Jewish choirs, and popular music in Israel.
He is Professor of Music at Northeastern University, where he directs the choral program. He also teaches in the cantorial training program at Hebrew College. In 1969 he founded (and still directs) the Zamir Chorale of Boston, an ensemble that specializes in musics from the Jewish traditions, and that has achieved an international reputation. He has guest conducted and guest lectured throughout North America, as well as in Europe, Israel and Australia. Over 100 of his works have been published and performed by choirs around the world. He has also authored more than fifty articles, and a couple of big books.
Dr Alan Kaplan
Jewish Family Issues
Dr Kaplans’s goal on Chagigah is to help our listeners to resolve common conflicts that arise in relationships. By addressing issues that are relevant to our audience, he can help them to develop the tools that strengthen their relationships. Through communication focusing on listening, understanding, and inclusion; tackling these issues can lead to resolution.
Dr. Alan Kaplan is a clinical psychologist with offices in Brookline and Lexington. He works with couples and individuals with a focus on relational issues. He comes from a enriched Jewish background and strongly identifies with the culture and history that has been a consistent part of his life. Dr Kaplan has a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Boston College.
Jewish Films-Jewish Culture
Charlie publishes Boston Arts Diary, featuring reviews and pieces about film, theater, poetry, dance, performance art, plastic art, and whatever else by way of general artistic interest comes his way. He has a doctorate in philosophy and has taught philosophy of art, among other things, at Boston area colleges over the years. As well, he has been a software developer and consultant, and a literary editor. As a reviewer and interviewer, he has published in Jewish and non-Jewish outlets in Boston and elsewhere, has published academic offerings as both philosopher and software developer, and has had a couple of plays produced. He is past president of Temple B'nai Brith in Somerville, MA.
Only in America
Sam Posman, known affectionally to our Chagigah listeners as 'Songbook Sam,' hosts the Chagigah feature Only In America, which pays tribute to and honors great American Jewish performers, singers and musicians, who have helped shape the American musical scene in the 20th and 21st century. As Sam notes, "From Al Jolson and George Gershwin to Sammy Davis, Jr. to Richard Tucker to Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand, every great artist has a great story".
Sam, who emigrated from Eastern Europe, with his family when he was only 4 years old, has always had an interest in individual American success stories. After working over 35 years in advertising sales management for a major media company in New York, he now lives with his family in Florida.
Playing music and featuring Jewish singers and songwriters has always been enjoyable to Mike with his diverse taste in music and this comes alive each week on his feature, Chagigah Classics.
His love for Jewish music comes from both his parents. His father loved buying the latest Jewish records - and all types including cantorial, Yiddish, and the Chassidic Song Festivals and of course his favorite Shlomo Carlbach. Mike’s Mom was in the Synagogue's choir and she was also in a singing group that raised money for Israel as they sang at nursing homes and Jewish events singing Hebrew and Yiddish songs.
Mike lives in Millburn, New Jersey with his wife Janet and daughters Pam and Laura. He is a member of Congregation B'nai Israel.
Each week, Michele will share Jewish sayings, humor, music, and sparks of aliveness ignited by family memories and the wisdom and wit of our people. Let the stories, nuggets, and melodies lift your spirits and imagination.
Michele Tamaren is a Positive Psychology Life Coach, Author, Inspirational Speaker, and Spiritual Director living in Marblehead, MA. She presents at national and international conferences and mentors individuals and small-groups.
Fun Features on Chagigah:
The 9:30 Schmooze
Each week, Hal will have a special interview with someone special in the Jewish Community about their life, history and career. In the past, Hal has had conversations with David Broza, Neshama Carlebach and many other important singers who bring flavor and enjoyment to our Chagigah Jewish American Songbook.
Many times during Chagigah we bring you great jewish humor and music from the talented comedians and songwriters who enjoy the American Jewish Schtick. We welcome your thoughts and ideas as we plan our weekly Chagigah Comedy features.
Two Tunes for You on Chagigah
You get to be the Chagigah DJ as you choose two specials songs from your favorite Jewish and American singers and groups. Call in or e-mail your suggestions.
Your Thought and Comments
If you have an idea for a musical feature, a comment about the show, or want to choose some music from our Chagigah Jewish American Songbook, you can send an e-mail to HalSlifer@WERS.org
Hal promises to answer each and every e-mail as he wants to hear your thoughts and ideas to make Chagigah your most enjoyable radio experience. Hal would love to schmooze with you!