The New American-Jewish Songbook
Music, Humor, Schmoozing
Sunday mornings 8 AM – 11 AM
The New Flavor of Chagigah
Chagiagh has been a Boston Radio tradition for almost 40 years on WERS and worldwide on WERS.org. Hal Slifer, your host and producer, has freshened up this very popular program to make it more contemporary and enjoyable to our diverse community of listeners.
What has made Chagigah so popular is that Hal listens to what you, our Chagigah Community, has to say about our programming. You, the listener has a say in the flavor of music and entertainment that you hear, each week on Chagigah.
Our Featured Hosts introduce and explore with you the many styles and flavors of Jewish music. Each week we bring you over 15 fantastic special features for you to enjoy. during our three hour program.
Chagigah is your radio link to wonderful Music, Humor and Schmoozing and we thank you for making Chagigah one of the most popular contemporary Jewish radio programs for our Boston and worldwide audience.
All your requests, ideas and thoughts are answered personally by Hal and his staff when you e-mail 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, a San Francisco native, grew up going to Friday night services. By age 8, he was singing the Shabbat Kiddush. At the oneg, congregants would tell him "You're going to be a Cantor someday!" "Actually," young Steve replied, "I want to be a sportscaster!"
Following undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego, Steve returned to San Francisco to embark on a 14-year career in radio and television broadcasting. Steve served as producer, guest booker, mobile studio operator, game creator, parody songwriter, and occasional stunt guy. 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.
Feeling a spiritual void, Steve enrolled at Hebrew College, where he was accepted into the new Cantor-Educator program. By taking advantage of summer classes, Steve completed the 5-year Masters/Ordination program in four years. He directed religious schools in Gloucester and Holliston, while finding his true passion as Cantor at Temple Ner Tamid (TNT) in Peabody, since September 2009. Steve earned a second teaching masters at Lesley University, and formerly taught English Language learners at public schools, but most recently combined his Masters expertise at MetroWest Jewish Day School in Framingham.
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.
Cantor Gaston Bogomoini
Sabor Latino for Your Jewish Soul
Cantor G’s segment aims to bring to the audience a musical journey with the best taste of Jewish Latin American rhythms, from Argentina to Mexico, featuring the widest variety of melodies composed by Jewish Latin composers, Israeli songs with Latin influence, and well-known songs arranged to a Latin style. Fasten your seat belt…get ready to dance, laugh, clap and sing, and enjoy the freshness, warmth and mishigaz of this amazing section.
Argentinean-born Cantor Gastón Bogomolni is the cantor at Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus in North Miami Beach. Aversatile, soulful, and energetic edu-tainer and international performer.
Cantor Gastón is the immediate past president of the New England Board of Cantors, Executive Council member of the Cantors Assembly, the Cantors Assembly liaison to the National Ramah Commission, a member of the Board of Shalshelet, and former advisory board member of the Boston Jewish Music Festival. Cantor Gastón is very active in the educational network offering lectures, scholar-in-residence programs, concerts, and workshops throughout the year around the world. Bogomolni is a pioneer ethno-musicologist researcher in South American Jewish Music. Cantor Gastón is currently pursuing his rabbinical studies through the Rabbinical Seminario in Argentina.
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.
Ariana Cohen Halberstam
Chagigah Movie Maven
Ariana loves to tell the Chagigah audience the latest in Jewish films seen locally and on Netflix and Amazon. Before joining the Boston Jewish Film Festival as artistic director, Ariana was the Associate Director of Film Programs at the JCC Manhattan where she worked on the ReelAbilities Film Festival, Other Israel Film Festival, Israel Film Center Festival, and other film programming. She has also worked in post-production on several documentary films and in television.
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.
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.
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.
Cantor Elana Rozenfeld
Love of Yiddish
Cantor Elana Rozeneld is the unofficial Cantor in Residence at WERS as she has appeared in concert on Chagigah many times and enjoys sharing her love of Yiddish music with our listeners.
Cantor Elana Rozenfeld was raised in Scarsdale, New York. During Shabbat services at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, Elana listened intently to the sweet sounds of chazzanut chanted by Cantor Jacob Mendelson, who, unsuspecting, planted the seed that blossomed into her cantorial career. Elana developed a passion for the Hebrew, Yiddish, and Ladino languages, particularly as they are used in Jewish music to express the emotional and spiritual complexity of our people. Cantor Elana’s feature on Chagigah, Love of Yiddish, is one of the only sources of hearing great Yiddish music and stories on the radio.
Listen To Her Voice
Judith’s weekly feature on Chagigah spotlights the stories and contributions of Jewish women in music.
Educator, historian, and writer Judith Rosenbaum is the Executive Director of the Jewish Women’s Archive, a pioneering national organization that documents Jewish women’s stories, elevates their voices, and inspires them to be agents of change. Judith became JWA’s Executive Director in 2014. Prior to that, she served for nearly a decade as JWA’s Director of Public History and Director of Education, developing its major programs and educational initiatives.
Judith Rosenbaum regularly publishes in both academic and popular journals and blogs including Tablet, The Forward, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Week, Tikkun Magazine, Sh’ma Magazine, PresenTense, Reform Judaism Magazine, MyJewishLearning, Kveller.com, and Role/Reboot, as well as in several anthologies, including Gender and Jewish History, Women of Katrina, Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice, and The Women’s Passover Companion: Women’s Reflections on the Festival of Freedom.
Arts About Boston
When it comes to Jewish arts and culture, there's an abundance of riches in Greater Boston - something for everyone. Each week, Penny, a freelance journalist specializing in Jewish subjects and the arts, will feature what's new and happening in the arts scene - from concerts to exhibits, theater to the area's rich literary life, and more.
Penny is the Boston area correspondent for JTA.org, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and writes regularly on local news for Jewish Journal. Her articles can also be found in the Times of Israel, the Boston Globe, Hadassah Magazine, JewishBoston.com and other media outlets. The arts have always been a guiding light in her life.
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.
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!