THIS WEEK’S SUNDAY SIMCHA, June 16, 2019
This Sunday Simcha, June 16th, will begin—as Joy’s first program hosting—a Celebration of Tampa Bay and Florida artists, culture, spirituality, and happenings. Of course, there’s way too much of all that to feature in one show—so the celebration of our region will carry forward through July. This week’s program features music by The Ruach Singers, The Mike Eisenstadt Band, The Bay Area Cantorial Association, Cantor Rick Berlin, Cantor Jennifer Duretz Peled, Bonnie Whitehurst, and Azi Schwartz—as well as music in honor of Father’s Day by Eleanor Reissa, Zion Golan, Tanja Solnik, and Shlomi Shabat. Our guest in studio will be Rande Friedman to discuss his new web site connecting the West Central Florida Jewish Community. Each week, Milot Chochmah—Words of Wisdom—brings rabbis, cantors, and Jewish spiritual leaders from the Tampa Bay Region to share a personal insight or teaching. Rabbi Pinchas Adler of Young Israel/Chabad of Pinellas County—who along with his father Rabbi Shalom Adler, has brought the Dvar Torah to The Sunday Simcha for decades— will share milot chochmah with us. And each week’s program will be spiced up with a touch of humor through A Bisl Freylichkayt—A Little Mirth. This week we’ll enjoy some humor from Tampa Area-based comedian David Glickman. Join us this Sunday, June 16th, from 1-2 PM on WMNF 88.5 FM and here at wmnf.org or via the WMNF App for The Sunday Simcha!
WE NEED YOU!
Your listener support has kept the Sunday Simcha alive for nearly 40 years. Our next pledge drive will be Sunday, June 23rd, when we’ll be calling on you to continue your support. To make a pledge during the program’s pledge drive, call the listener phone line during the show at 813-239-9663, or call the business office during the weekday to pledge, at 813-238-8003, or text 813-433-0885 or email email@example.com to indicate your support is for The Sunday Simcha. Click the tip jar at this site as well to make a contribution to The Sunday Simcha. Visit The Sunday Simcha Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sundaysimcha.
ECLECTIC MUSIC, CULTURE, EVENTS, FEATURES, AND GUESTS
Since 1980, The Sunday Simcha as featured the gamut in Jewish entertainment and information: music from Jewish artists and communities around the globe, local (Tampa Bay Area and 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 grown over the years to include an international listenership, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Our music is 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. The weekly feature—Milot Chochmah—Words of Wisdom—brings insights from rabbis, cantors, cantorial soloists and spiritual leaders of synagogues and Jewish organizations in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco Counties. Community Kvell is a celebration of members of the local community and The Kehillah Calendar provides an overview of coming events in the week ahead. A Bisl Freylichkayt—A Little Mirth—features Jewish comedy and comic songs as a lift to the show’s completion. We are so deeply grateful for your comments, suggestions, ideas, creativity, monetary support and for your ears! We hope you will join us as a listener every week and keep us abreast of music, community happenings and community news/updates for our Community Kvell and any creative ideas you have.
THE SUNDAY SIMCHA HISTORY … A TRADITION IN TAMPA BAY (1980-Present)
Among WMNF’s original programs, The Jewish Sound was hosted by Oded Salpeter from 1980-1985. In 1986, when Oded Salpeter left WMNF to take over a similar position with WKAT-Miami, Mike Eisenstadt officially took over as 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 Weekly Dvar Torah—a tradition carried forward by his son, Rabbi Pinchas Adler. Kevin Frye and Shlomo Schwersky served as hosts of The Sunday Simcha following Mike’s death. After Kevin’s untimely passing in 2016, Shlomo carried on as host with his daughter Jordyn, who had joined the program as a co-host in 2014. During their tenure, they dedicated themselves to informing the public of Jewish news around the world and expanded the library of music on The Sunday Simcha to become highly contemporary. The two announced their plans to retire in spring 2019, after which Joy Katzen-Guthrie came aboard as host of the program beginning June 16, 2019.
Listen to The Sunday Simcha Sundays from 1-2 PM at 88.5 FM in the Tampa Bay region as well as via live-streamed and archived broadcasts on this page and on your phone via the WMNF App.
TAMPA BAY KEHILLAH CALENDAR ~ COMMUNITY HAPPENINGS IN THE WEEKS AHEAD
Each week, The Sunday Simcha brings you the Kehillah Calendar
— brief updates of community happenings in the immediate weeks ahead. Additional details are provided below. Send us word of your community events and news at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday night, June 17th, Teens of the Israel Scouts will perform an interactive concert of music and Israeli culture at 7 PM following evening minyan at Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg. Call for more information at 727.381.4900 or visit www.CBIStPete.org/event/israelscouts.
Wed., June 19th, The Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival Summer Series kicks off with the film “Leona” at Carrollwood Villagio Cinemas at both 11 AM and 7 PM. For information, call 813.769.4725, or visit https://www.tbjff.org/.
Friday, June 21st at 6:30 PM is Congregation B’nai Israel’s fourth annual Pride Shabbat. A luncheon celebrating Pride follows the 9 AM Shabbat morning service on June 22nd, and CBI will participate in the St. Pete Pride Festival on Sunday, June 23rd. For information, visit cbistpete.org/event/prideshabbat or call 727-381-4900.
Sunday, June 23rdat 11 AM, Weinberg Village presents its Oldest Jewish Americans Brunch onat 11 AM, honoring community elders over age 90. For information, call 813-769-2814 or visit https://weinbergvillage.org/event/oldest-jewish-american-brunch.
Sunday, June 29that 7 PM, The Florida Holocaust Museum presents a Peace Love & Rock’n’Roll concert to coincide with the close of its Rock’n’Roll Revolution exhibit. Call 820-0100 or visit https://www.flholocaustmuseum.org for information.
Saturday, July 6that 2:30 PM, The Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival presents the film SEDERS AND CIGARS—A HISTORY OF JEWS IN TAMPA at The Tampa Theatre. Doors open at 1:30 PM. For more information, CALL 813-274-8286 OR visit https://tampatheatre.org
Beginning August 14th, Hillel Academy of Tampawill offer bus service for students all over the Tampa Bay area, starting with the Fall semester of 2019. More information is available by calling 813.963.2242, visiting https://hillelacademytampa.com, or emailing email@example.com.
HATIKVAH ~ Cantor Azi Schwartz and the National Radio Choir of Berlin
Closing our program of June 16, 2019 was the breathtaking performance of Hatikvah by Cantor Azi Schwartz (of Park Avenue Synagogue, New York) with the National Radio Choir of Berlin. This selection is included on the CD “Heritage.” I mentioned on the program that Cantor Schwartz has made available a download of each song on this collection as a gift, via his own site. You may hear as well as download his recording of Hatikvah and the remaining performances in the collection by visiting https://cantorazischwartz.bandcamp.com/album/heritage-2. The site provides additional details regarding the recording of each selection in the collection as well.
Thank You Gifts available from The Sunday Simcha
Sinners and the Sea, for Sunday Simcha
A signed copy of Rebecca Kanner’s novel about the great flood and the life of Noah’s wife
$54.00Add to bag
History of the Jewish People of Pinellas County, for Sunday Simcha
Learn about the individuals and families who built the Jewish community in Pinellas County.
$54.00Add to bag
Sarah Aroeste CD: Ora de Despertar, for Sunday Simcha
A signed copy of Ladino artist Sarah Aroeste’s children’s CD, Ora de Despertar
$54.00Add to bag
Stand with Israel T-Shirt, for Sunday Simcha
These are exclusive gifts of The Sunday Simcha, more Thank You gifts available
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.
After serving for more than a decade 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.
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.
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 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.