Indie Jewish music from the 1950s to the 1970s and pop-up record shop in San Francisco!

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"Songs For The Jewish-American Jet Set: The Tikva Records Story 1950-1973" is a new compilation celebrating the indie Jewish record label that raged in the latter half of the last century. Tikva had an eclectic roster, cranking out everything from Israeli folk and klezmer to cantorial singing, Catskills comedy, political spoken word, and 60s rock from the Jewish diaspora. And then, it all suddenly ended. Not willing to let this rich bit of music and Jewish history vanish into the lost record crates of history, my pal David Katznelson and his co-conspirators at the non-profit Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation curated this collection of the best of Tikva. We've posted about Idelsohn Society before -- they're the ones who reissued such amazing classics as Irving Fields Trio's "Bagels and Bongos" and The Barry Sisters' "Our Way," and compilations like the Jewish minstrel collection "Jewface" and Gershon Kingsley's "God Is A Moog."

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To celebrate the release of "Songs For The Jewish-American Jet Set: The Tikva Records Story 1950-1973," the Idelsohn Society is opening a pop-up Jewish record store and community space in San Francisco's Mission District. The fun starts on December 1 and goes for one month only. Boing Boing is thrilled to be the media sponsor for the shop, called The Tikva Store. There's a slew of special concerts, listening sessions, and other programs on the schedule, featuring the likes of Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, a tribute to the Burton Sisters, Old Jews Telling Jokes, members of Dengue Fever, Fool’s Gold, Rebecca Bortman of My First Earthquake, Jeremiah Lockwood of the Sway Machinery, Ethan Miller, Luther Dickinson, Zach Rogue, and Dan Lebowitz. David Katznelson and I are planning a special Boing Boing event for the shop too, and we'll keep you posted as the plans unfold.

Meanwhile, check out the Tikva Store schedule and please enjoy this free track from Songs For The Jewish-American Jet Set, The Sabras' "Ho Yaldonet" (1967). You can download the MP3 from here.

More on the song:

By far the most coveted cult album from the Tikva catalog is 1967's Jerusalem of Gold, the only release from Hebrew reverb specialists The Sabras. Though they formed in New York City with one American and three Israeli members, the band took their name from the tough Israeli prickly pear cactus that had become the familiar Zionist handle for Jews born on Israeli soil. The cover makes the quartet look like a Vegas novelty act (wide-collared, chest-hair-bearing gold lame shirts, an Ottoman handlebar mpoustache, electric guitar poses, a dumbek over the knee), but what's inside is a bit more serious: twelve slices of fuzzed out diaspora garage rock. They are at their tightest on the lean and mean "Ho Yaldonet" ("O Little Girl"), a stomper that should certainly earn them a spot on the Israeli version of Nuggets.

The Tikva Store

Songs For The Jewish-American Jet Set: The Tikva Records Story 1950-1973

The Sabras' "Ho Yaldonet" (


  1. You should dig up Yid Vicious and The Cash’s album “Never Mind The Foreskin, It’s Yid Vicious!”, Edinburgh circa 1994.

  2. This is amazing.
    I am a record collector from Israel and I come across many of Tikva records here in Israel.
    Many of them are very interesting and document a “lost” side of Jewish/Israeli music recorded in USA.
    The story of the Sabras and the track “Ho Yaldonet” above is an amazing story.
    Back in the early 60’s in Israel Rock music was considered as “bad culture”.
    It took a little longer for rock music to immigrate to Israel and there was a debate what was the first Israeli rock record.
    I don’t remember which record was considered to be the first rock record recorded in Israel but it was dated around 1965/6.

    And then, like it always happens, I think it was Yoav Kutner, Israeli top radio DJ (the Israeli John Peel some may say) was researching for a program he made and found Zal Jungreis & The Echos EP with “Ho Yaldonet”! (Bezael didn’t sound to him like a name for a rock star so he shortened to Zal).

    There was no info on the record, so he did a short research, and reached Bezalel and discovered that this was recorded in Tel Aviv in 1963!
    So no doubt, the song you hear above is the first ever rock song recorded in Hebrew/Israel.

    In the mid 60’s Bezalel decided to move to USA to learn orthodontics and released 3 albums on Tikva Records (one as Bezalel, one as The Sabras and one as Bezalel & the Sabras).

    For me, I discovered this EP on a CD reissue when I worked as a DJ in campus radio.
    I managed to contact Bezalel and hear his story directly from him as I was researching Israeli 60’s underground rock music.

    All these years I was looking to find the original “Ho Yaldonet” EP.
    This is an extremely rare EP, pressed maybe at 500 copies, god knows how many survived.
    When I bought my house from an old religiuos couple, they left a box of records.
    When I browsed the box with zero expectations, I was amazed when a perfect mint copy of “Ho Yaldonet” was waiting for me there, a gift for my new house…
    You can see a picture of the original EP

  3. I have to admit that an album of Jewish niche music appeals to me in the same way that The Shaggs “Philosophy of the World” does; there’s something there, and that something might even be good, but I’m not sure how willing I am to explore that avenue to confirm.

  4. “decided to move to USA to learn orthodontics and released 3 albums”

    Exactly what my mother would’ve recommended were I a musician. Great narrative, Omer.

  5. Don’t forget “¡ Mazeltov, Mis Amigos !”  the Latin version of traditional Jewish songs.. it’s pretty great.

  6. please, please, please shoot footage of the old jews telling jokes portion of the Idlesohn Society’s program for bOINGbOING, Pesco!  I need this.

  7. “Ho Yaldonet” (1967) Sounds like something that might have influenced Danny Sanderson…does anyone else hear the echo?

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