The Sunday Simcha

Event Hours(1)

  • Sunday

    1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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THIS WEEK’S SUNDAY SIMCHA  ~ May 16, 2021 ~ 5 Sivan 5781
(Program will be in archive following this Sunday’s broadcast)
Request information about this or any past program at [email protected]

Chag Shavuot Sameach! Our Sunday Simcha of May 16th at 1 PM features a range of moving, beautiful, fun, and inspiring songs and prayers for Shavuot just hours before the festival begins at sunset. In another year, we would be celebrating as a global family. This year, we face violence on a scale we have not seen in years. Hold Israel in your heart and pray for—and envision—an end to violence and a thriving of compassion, empathy, understanding, and peace between Jews, Arabs, Israelis, Palestinians, members of every faith and our entire world.

Shavuot is one of the three harvest pilgrimage festivals of Judaism—The Festival of Weeks—marking the change of seasons and the 7 weeks connecting Passover to Shavuot, The Festival of Reaping—marking the beginning of the wheat harvest and closing of the barley harvest, The Festival of the Fruits—Chag HaBikkurim—recalling the farmers’ offerings of the first fruits to the Temple of Jerusalem in early summer, and The Festival of the Giving of Torah—Chag Matan Torah—marking the giving of Torah on Mt. Sinai. It is a festival of gratitude for Eretz Yisrael, for the harvest, for Torah and for our sustenance. We’ll hear wonderful music by Desert Wind, Counterpoint Vocal Ensemble, Escola Eliezer Steinbarg Max Nordau, Osnat Paz, Coro Hebraeico, Lesík Hajdovský & Kateřina Hajdovská-Tlustá, Linda Hirschhorn & Vocolot, Oshy Tugendhaft, Mawaca, Jeremy Gimbel & Shira Tirdof, Hazzan Rotem Cohen and members of The Karaite Jews of America, San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir, Tzevet Avay Shirion, Atzilut: Concerts for Peace, and Helena Vince & Ben Andrews.

Still in our archive is last week’s Sunday Simcha featuring an interview and music from the internationally acclaimed Israeli vocalist, composer, and recording artist Achinoam Nini (Noa)whose long, beautiful discussion covers the arc of her career, her just-released CD titled Afterallogy created with her longtime collaborator, virtuoso guitarist Gil Dor, the background of several of the songs on the CD that you will hear on the program, her life during the pandemic, her future plans and more. We heard several selections from her earlier work as well from a three-decade long career. A stunning program that I hope you won’t miss before it leaves our archive after this Sunday’s broadcast.

If you miss any of our broadcasts or desire to hear them again—or if you have questions about any broadcast—email me at [email protected]. All of our programs remain in our archive at The Sunday Simcha page at WMNF.org following the broadcast through the week.

All of our programs remain in our archive here through the week until the next broadcast. Join me, Joy Katzen-Guthrie, for The Sunday Simcha this and every Sunday from 1-2 at 88.5 FM Tampa, or here at WMNF.org.



LAST WEEK’S SUNDAY SIMCHA  ~ May 9, 2021 ~ 27 Iyar 5781
(Program currently in archive until after this Sunday’s broadcast)
Request information about this or any past program at [email protected]

Still in our archive is last week’s Sunday Simcha featuring an interview and music from the internationally acclaimed Israeli vocalist, composer, and recording artist Achinoam Nini (Noa)whose long, beautiful discussion covers the arc of her career, her just-released CD titled Afterallogy created with her longtime collaborator, virtuoso guitarist Gil Dor, the background of several of the songs on the CD that you will hear on the program, her life during the pandemic, her future plans and more. We heard several selections from her earlier work as well from a three-decade long career. A stunning program that I hope you won’t miss before it leaves our archive after this Sunday’s broadcast.

The Blue Note of New York presented Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor’s livestream World Premiere Concert of Afterology on May 1st. Visit Noa’s site to view her many video projects and hear all of her CDs.



SUNDAY SIMCHA  ~ May 2, 2021 ~ 20 Iyar 5781
Request information about this or any past program at [email protected]

Our Sunday Simcha featured music of Jerusalem in preparation for Yom Yerushalayim, which began sunset, May 9th. Additionally we featured an interview with Brandy Gold of Tampa JCC’s and Federation and Drew Eberhard of Vivid Theatre Productions regarding the opening of their new production, Brighton Beach Memoirs, running Thursday, May 6-9, 2021 at the Cohn Campus JCC in Tampa. View more information on the production here. Our music included recordings by Ellie Flier, Nava Tehila Community of Jerusalem, Ari Goldwag, Hadassah Siglob, Ha-Parvarim, Shoshana Damari, Noa, Coro Voces de Israel, Coro Centro Union Israelita de Cordoba, The El Avram Group, Legend of Kazimierz, Nourith, and members of the Jewish Amsterdam Chamber Ensemble. A Bisl Freylichkayt—A Little Mirth—was provided by Allen Sherman.

Jerusalem Panorama

Panorama of Jerusalem, early 20th century, Library of Congress



LAST WEEK’S SUNDAY SIMCHA  ~ April 25, 2021 ~ 13 Iyar 5781
Request information about this or any past program at [email protected]

This Sunday Simcha is a tribute to Earth Day and Earth Month, in which more than one billion people and 193 nations have committed to the care and restoration of our planet. I am bringing you a diverse range of Jewish and Israeli artists with songs of earth’s imagery at the heart of our people, our prayer, our experience, and our Torah—A Tree of Life—including recordings by David Broza, Aviva Chernick, Jane Roman Pitt, Rebecca Schwartz, Beit Tefilah Israeli, Light in Babylon, Deborah Katchko-Gray, Savina Yannatou and Primavera En Salonico, Shlomi Saranga, Ofra Haza, Herbie Mann, and Daniel Kahn. A Bisl Freylichkayt—A Little Mirth—is provided by comedian Mark Schiff.

NASA PHOTO: Earth From Space, October 2000

Our spectacular earth. This true-color NASA image from October 2000 is a combination of data from two satellites: The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite collected the land surface data over 16 days, while NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) produced a snapshot of the Earth’s clouds.



SUPPORT THE SUNDAY SIMCHA

The Sunday Simcha is one of only a handful of programs remaining on the air on American radio devoted entirely to Jewish music and culture.
We do have premiums for your donations. If you desire one, please request it when you  make your pledge and we will let you know what is available. 

To Make A Pledge:

√  Call the office during business hours at 813-238-8001 and make a pledge in support of The Sunday Simcha.
√  Click the tip jar above to pledge in honor of The Sunday Simcha or pick up a premium by requesting one. 
√  Email Joy at [email protected].
√  Visit The Sunday Simcha Facebook page & leave a message for Joy www.facebook.com/sundaysimcha.

WMNF Sunday Simcha Summer Pledge Drive Show 6.23.19

Laura Taylor & Shlomo Schwersky join Joy Katzen-Guthrie, Summer 2019 Pledge Drive Program


THE SUNDAY SIMCHA: A TRADITION IN TAMPA BAY  (1980-Present)

Since 1980, The Sunday Simcha has featured Jewish entertainment, culture, and information with music from Jewish artists and communities around the globe, local Tampa Bay/Central Florida events and activities, news of Jewish culture, arts, and happenings from around the world, comedy, interviews, and weekly spiritual features. Our audience has an international listenership, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

Among WMNF’s earliest programs after the station signed on air in 1979, The Jewish Sound (as originally named) was hosted by Oded Salpeter from 1980-1985. In 1986, when Oded took a similar position with WKAT-Miami, Mike Eisenstadt took over fully as programmer/host (after serving as a reporter/guest host frequently in the years prior), giving it the name by which it has been known since—The Sunday Simcha. Until his passing in 2005, Mike dedicated himself with whole heart to this program and to WMNF Radio as he brought news of the local Jewish community, Israel, and Jewish community worldwide and aired news and cultural features in addition to the range of Jewish music and comedy for which the program became well known.

Rabbi Shalom Adler, Founder of Chabad/Young Israel of Pinellas County, brought listeners a recorded or live Weekly Dvar Torah—a tradition carried forward by his son, Rabbi Pinchas Adler, in a live interview each week. Kevin Frye and Shlomo (Steve) Schwersky served as hosts of The Sunday Simcha following Mike’s death. After Kevin’s untimely passing in 2016, Shlomo and daughter Jordyn Schwersky, co-hosted the program, dedicating themselves to giving Jewish news around the world and expanding the music library of the program. The two announced their plans to retire in spring 2019; Joy Katzen-Guthrie took over as host of the program beginning June 16, 2019.

With an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary, Klezmer, Chassidic, Israeli, Yiddish, Ladino, Mizrachi, Liturgical, and a variety of Jewish folk, pop, and film music from artists around the globe, features include Milot Chochmah—Words of Wisdom—in which rabbis, cantors, and Jewish spiritual leaders from the Tampa Bay Region to share a Dvar Torah, personal insight or teaching. Programs are spiced with a touch of humor via A Bisl Freylichkayt—A Little Mirth. Community Kvell is a celebration of members of the local community, and The Kehillah Calendar provides events in the weeks ahead.

We are grateful for your comments, suggestions, donations and for your ears! Join us weekly, hear our program in the weekly WMNF archive on this page, and contact us any time at [email protected]


The Sunday Simcha 6.16.19

(L to R) Zachary Aborizk, Joy Katzen-Guthrie, Mark Guthrie (Executive Producer), Rande Friedman (jewishintampabay.com) on Joy’s first broadcast as Host of the Sunday Simcha, June 16, 2019



THANK YOU, JEWISH PRESS OF TAMPA BAY

Deepest appreciation to The Jewish Press of Tampa Bay (Pinellas/Hillsborough Counties) for its extensive features on The Sunday Simcha, first on April 5, 2019 — reprinted online at https://www.jewishpresstampa.com/articles/oh-joy-new-sunday-simcha-host-to-keep-focus-on-music-and-culture/ and at https://www.jewishpresspinellas.com/pageview/viewer/2019-04-05) — as well as on September 6, 2019  — reprinted online at https://www.jewishpresspinellas.com/articles/sunday-simcha-host-named-new-programmer-of-year/ and at https://www.jewishpresspinellas.com/pageview/viewer/2019-09-06#page=8).

At the WMNF Volunteer Appreciation event on Sunday, August 18th, I (Joy) was named WMNF New Programmer of the Year 2019. I am so grateful to be acknowledged for the programs I bring you and to be part of the legacy of this broadcast. In the months that I have had the joy of hosting The Sunday Simcha, I have been told by both Jewish and non-Jewish listeners how much this program means to you. Thank you for allowing me to represent this community and to be part of a dedicated team of broadcasters and staff at WMNF that brings creative, insightful, memorable, and important music and information to the Tampa Bay region and an international audience of listeners.

Mark C. Guthrie & Joy Katzen-Guthrie

Mark Guthrie (Executive Producer) & Sunday Simcha Host Joy Katzen-Guthrie with their award at The WMNF Radio Volunteer Appreciation Event 8/18/19

New Programmer of Year Award 2019

WMNF Radio New Programmer of the Year 2019 THANK YOU!





Hosted By...

Joy Katzen-Guthrie  [email protected]

Joining the Sunday Simcha as its new host in June 2019 is Palm Harbor-based Cantorial Leader and Jewish educator/concert/recording artist (among other genres of music) Joy Katzen-Guthrie.

A resident of the Tampa Bay region since 1981, Joy is originally from Memphis. She moved to this area after receiving degrees in broadcast communications and music from Stephens College in Columbia, MO, becoming active with the Jewish community immediately after relocating to the area—at the time joining Temple B’nai Israel in Clearwater (in 1981) and serving in volunteer positions with that synagogue and with the JCC and Pinellas Jewish Federation. In the years since, she served as Cantorial Leader with congregations in Gainesville, Bradenton, Sarasota, and the Tampa Bay region as well as a visiting concert artist/cantorial soloist/scholar in residence for congregations and educational organizations outside our area. She has been a concert artist of Jewish and much other music, and is a longtime instructor/concert artist for OLLI at Eckerd College (from 2000 to present) and USF OLLI (from 2000-2006) along with a number of other educational programs. Many of those courses are of Jewish interest in addition to music history and culture, music of stage/film, and other subjects related to entertainment. She served as a creator and scholar in residence for six Jewish heritage tours to China and another to Turkey and has developed Jewish heritage tours to other areas of the world in conjunction with several travel agencies that have offered those tours to their clients. Joy also has been a contributor to the Encyclopedia Judaica on the subject of the Jews of Alaska, and she speaks nationwide on the subject of the Jews of China.

Joy's husband, Mark Guthrie, with whom she operates Tune-of-the-Century Music®, a recording studio and music/audio engineering services, will assist Joy on the program as Executive Producer.

Joy has radio experience as well. When she moved to the Bay Area in 1981, she joined WPLP News/Talk Radio as Traffic Director, then Executive Producer and finally Operations Manager; she also was an announcer/producer and Public Affairs Director for WXCR Classics 92 and traffic reporter for WDAE/W101, all in the 80s. She has retained a part-time voiceover career in addition to music in the years since.

Joy had an association with longtime Sunday Simcha host Mike Eisenstadt, appearing as a guest on his program several times (and on other programs at WMNF) in addition to working often with Mike’s band and Simcha host Kevin Frye through the early 90s. She traveled to Israel with Mike and his group in 1999.

Her vision of Sunday Simcha involves a wide variety of Jewish music from around the world—traditional and contemporary, Ashkenazic, Chassidic and Sephardic, Yemenite and African, European, Latin American, Oriental, American, liturgical, stage, and folk—and of course, a wide collection of Israeli artists from a range of recorded music of Israel and the Middle East from the mid-20th century to the present. She envisions free-ranging musical programs as well as themed programs developed around holidays and Jewish festivals and various subjects of Jewish life, as well as composers, performers, and genres. Another aspect of the show will be features with the region’s Jewish clergy and community leaders along with visiting artists, speakers, and scholars to the Tampa Bay area.

For Joy, the aesthetic experience of Jewish music and Jewish culture and its significance culturally and historically from around the world is of great interest, and she'll share her enthusiasm of those subjects with listeners.

Shlomo & Jordyn Schwersky  [email protected]

After serving for 13 years as hosts of The Sunday Simcha, Shlomo and Jordyn Schwersky retired as hosts in June 2019—but we are so pleased they will continue to be heard as guest hosts for The Sunday Simcha when Joy is unable to be present because of prior commitments or travel.

Shlomo moved to Clearwater in 1972 and has been an active member of the Jewish community ever since, and a WMNF volunteer beginning in 1984 when he first hosted WMNF’s morning show and afternoon drive time show. He joined Kevin Frye as co-host of the Sunday Simcha in December of 2010 until Kevin's untimely passing in 2016, when he took over as host of The Sunday Simcha with his daughter, Jordyn, who joined the program as a contributor in 2014.

Jordyn Schwersky was born and raised in the Tampa Bay Area and has been an active member of the Jewish community since attending pre-school at the Golda Meir Jewish Community Center. She received her Bachelors degree in Journalism and spent five months working as a reporter at the Jerusalem Post in Israel. Jordyn began her stint with the Sunday Simcha by joining Kevin and Shlomo as a guest host until she became Shlomo's official co-host in 2016. She has been honored to bring her voice to the Tampa Bay airwaves.

Both Shlomo and Jordyn devoted themselves to expanding the WMNF Sunday Simcha music programming, particularly with regard to current and rising artists. Their devotion to Jewish music, Jewish culture, and Israel shines through everything they do and has added a unique and fulfilling distinction to the Simcha that has made it a favorite with listeners around the world, Jewish and non-Jewish alike.

In August 2020, Shlomo took over as President of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Florida's Gulf Coast. He has been a Federation Board Member for more than a decade and is a member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and B'nai B'rith International, as well as a former board member of Temple B'nai Israel of Clearwater.

Kevin Frye  

Kevin Frye served as host of The Sunday Simcha from 2005 (taking over the show after Mike Eisenstadt's passing), until his own passing in December 2016 at only age 48.

How does one describe an individual as vital, gifted, and beloved as Kevin Frye? "He was a teacher who touched countless lives in his career, a dedicated man of faith, and wonderful friend to so many," said his friend and colleague John Stephan to Creative Loafing magazine in 2016. The words only begin to capture what Kevin was to all of us.

He came to the Tampa Bay Area in 1972 from his native New York, graduating from USF with a Master's Degree in Music Conducting after undergraduate studies in trumpet performance.

And boy could Kevin make that trumpet sing! His instrument and his voice became a centerpiece of The Mike Eisenstadt Band for more than 15 years until Mike died—after which he took over the band, serving as its Director until his death 11 years later. He was also a dedicated member of the Florida Wind Band, as well as Orchestra Director at Madison Middle School, where his love and enthusiasm for music influenced everyone who met him and served as an inspiration to his students.

Kevin was devoted to the Tampa Jewish community, not only through music, but through participation in community events and synagogue life. He was a gift to The Sunday Simcha, keeping it alive after all of us were stunned to lose Mike, and he brought continuing joy to all in the Tampa Bay Community and to listeners of the Simcha around the world.

Mike Eisenstadt   

The name Mike Eisenstadt remains a legend in the Jewish community of Florida and well beyond. Mike not only brought joy through Jewish music, but was renowned in Jewish life and community life in Tampa Bay. No matter where he went around town, it seemed as if everybody knew Mike. Originally from Bristol, Rhode Island, he caught the music bug from his multi-generation family of klezmer musicians. The “Buckler Family Band” gathered for many a family simcha and community event.

But it was The Tampa Jewish Federation's need for music entertainment for a fundraising gala in 1988 that inspired the creation of The Mike Eisenstadt Band—which for the next 27 years under Mike's direction became the band that everyone Jewish (and many others) in Florida called for a Simcha—locally in the Tampa Bay Area, as a touring and recording group, and as one of the state's most successful rock'n'roll party bands.

But klezmer was Mike’s musical love. Taking over as producer and host of The Sunday Simcha in December 1985 after the departure to Miami of Oded Salpeter, the program's original host (1980-1985 as The Jewish Sound), Mike renamed the two-hour broadcast The Sunday Simcha in 1986 after asking listeners to suggest a new name. From more than 100 submissions, he selected the name The Sunday Simcha and devoted himself wholeheartedly to WMNF Radio and his radio audience.

A highlight of Mike's shows was his "Mazel Tov" section at 11:45 AM. The segment became increasingly popular as more and more listeners called or wrote Mike to provide their "mazel tov's." Including announcements of meetings, events, and news of interest to the Jewish community, Mike expanded The Sunday Simcha to the role of community bulletin board. Frequent guests visited the show to discuss a wide variety of issues, ideas, and concerns of the Jewish community. Combined with diverse Jewish music and comedy, the program was great fun to hear and gained a tremendous audience. All in a pre-internet/email era, by the way—when Mike invited listeners to mail in their announcements, news, ideas, and comments to the station's street address, then on Nebraska Avenue—and a steady stream of them did.

As an authority on Jewish humor, Mike served as a lecturer for the Florida Humanities Council as well. He and his wife Debbi were founding members of Congregation Kol Ami in Tampa, where Mike was a constant presence and served a term as President. In 2001, after 25 years as a volunteer Jewish community activist, Mike took over as Director of Community Relations for the Tampa Jewish Federation. Additionally, he was a member of the Board of the Tampa Jewish Federation and Jewish National Fund as well as a co-founder of Tampa PRIMER (Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting).

Then there were the trips to Israel that Mike and Debbi organized and led. Many in the community experienced the fun, insight, and discovery anew of Israel through traveling with Mike.

In 2003, Mike and his band recorded a first collection, "Ta'am," that included contributions from Cantor Moshe Friedler, at Bill Dudley's studios north of Tampa (Yes, that's host of WMNF's Live Music Showcase, Bill Dudley). In late 2004, as he battled cancer, he and his band joyfully recorded his CD "Chazak!" ("Strength!") at Morrisound Studios in Tampa and enjoyed a massive CD release party in early 2005 in which the entire Jewish community and many more turned out.

When Mike passed away in September of 2005, the entire Tampa Bay community and Sunday Simcha listenership felt a gaping hole. Just before he died, the Tampa Jewish Federation honored Mike and Debbi for their contribution to the Tampa Bay community. After his death, in 2006, WMNF Radio dedicated the “Mike Eisenstadt Live Music Studio”—still so named today—an integral part of life at WMNF Radio and the studio from which live broadcasts continue to emanate.

For eleven years after Mike's death, Kevin Frye took over as bandleader and retained the name "The Mike Eisenstadt Band” to carry on Mike's legacy and music. After Kevin Frye's untimely death in 2016 and again after the passing of one of the band's devoted longtime pianists, Bonnie Lefkof (Bonnie Lynd) in 2018, the surviving members of Mike's band have continued to perform individually, though the collective joyous force that was The Mike Eisenstadt Band now lives only in unending memory and in the joy of his recordings. It is possible still to view the band's website as it remained before Kevin's death at http://www.eisenstadtband.com.