The Sunday Simcha

Event Hours(1)

  • Sunday

    1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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THIS WEEK’S SUNDAY SIMCHA ~ August 18, 2019 ~ 16 Av, 5779

Shlomo and Jordyn Schwersky return to host the Sunday Simcha this Sunday, August 18th, bringing an eclectic and vibrant mix of music and commentary in addition to a delightful interview with Rabbi/Comedian Bob Alper and the Dvar Torah by Rabbi Uriel Rivkin of Young Israel of Tampa. Listen to The Sunday Simcha Sundays from 1-2 PM on WMNF Community Radio 88.5 FM Tampa, or via this page or on the WMNF App. The program remains in the archives for live streaming or downloading until the following program on August 25, 2019. Joy returns August 25th to host a special Leonard Bernstein/Broadway/American Jewish music salute on The Sunday Simcha.

Shlomo & Jordyn return to host on August 18th.

LAST WEEK’S SUNDAY SIMCHA ~ August 11, 2019 ~ 9 Av, 5779

This program remains in the archives until August 18, 2019. You may stream the program or download it by right clicking on the listen icon under the “Listen On Demand” box to your right on the red WMNF 88.5 FM WMNF.ORG – SUNDAY SIMCHA bar. You’ll be offered the opportunity to download the linked file.

The Sunday Simcha on August 11th was devoted to Tisha b’Av with a moving program of a cappella music by individuals, groups, choirs and traditional cantillation. Poignant and uplifting a cappella music was presented by The Moscow Male Jewish CappellaMilken Archive of Jewish Music, The Shasha Family of The Netherlands, Eli Gerstner and The Chevra, Simcha Leiner, The Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir, Kippalive, The Yedidim Choir, singer/songwriter Elaine Silver, Cantor Azi Schwartz, and Ofir Ben Shitrit among others. Rabbi Pinchas Adler of Young Israel/Chabad of Pinellas County offered a moving message for Tisha b’Av and its possibility and hope for all of us.

GIFT CD DOWNLOAD ~ Cantor Azi Schwartz and the German National Radio Choir of Berlin

On our recent programs, we have featured breathtaking performances of Sim Shalom, Kaddish, and Hatikvah by Cantor Azi Schwartz (of Park Avenue Synagogue, Manhattan) with Germany’s National Radio Choir of Berlin. These selections are featured on the recent Azi Schwartz CD, Heritage. Cantor Schwartz has made available a download of every song within this collection as a gift, via his own site. You may hear as well as download his recording of the performances in the collection by visiting  The site provides additional details regarding the recording of each selection in the collection as well.

Azi Schwartz will be appearing in concert at the Sarasota Opera House on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 7 PM, sponsored by Temple Beth Sholom of Sarasota. For information on tickets (which go on sale Beginning August 25th), call 941.328.1300 at the Opera House or call the Temple office at 941.955.8121.


Our first A Bisl Freylichkayt on Joy’s first show of June 16, 2019 featured Tampa Bay-based comedian David Glickman (, who, by the way, will show up on future appearances of A Bisl Freylickhayt—we have a lot of David’s material you won’t want to miss). David has contributed this month to Read David’s entertaining feature at!


Hear The Sunday Simcha every Sunday live from 1-2 PM on WMNF 88.5 FM or here at or via the WMNF App. Did you know you are able to download The Sunday Simcha broadcast? Each week the program remains in the archive and may be streamed on this page or downloaded until the next program replaces it. To download an mp3 of the broadcast, right click on the listen icon under the “Listen On Demand” box to your right on the red WMNF 88.5 FM WMNF.ORG – SUNDAY SIMCHA bar. You’ll be offered the opportunity to download the linked file and to rename it and save it on your desktop or where you desire. Note that if you bookmark this file, it will be gone after next week’s program because it remains in the archive only until then—so download it if you wish to save it.


Our appreciation to The Jewish Press of Tampa Bay (Pinellas/Hillsborough) for its extensive feature on The Sunday Simcha on April 5, 2019, reprinted online at

Rabbi Nathan Farb of Tampa’s Cong. Schaarai Zedek on our 7.7.19 Sunday Simcha


Since 1980, The Sunday Simcha has 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 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 6.6.19

The Sunday Simcha 6.16.19 with (L to R) Zachary Aborizk, Joy Katzen-Guthrie, Mark C. Guthrie, and Rande Friedman


Among WMNF’s earliest programs after going on air in 1979, 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 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 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.

Each week, Milot Chochmah—Words of Wisdom—brings rabbis, cantors, and Jewish spiritual leaders from the Tampa Bay Region to share a Dvar Torah, personal insight or teaching. Our thanks to Rabbi Pinchas Adler of Young Israel/Chabad of Pinellas County, Rabbi Josh Hearshen of Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Rabbi Aaron Lever of Menorah Manor, Rabbi Nathan Farb of Congregation Schaarai Zedek of Tampa, Ron Becker, Spiritual Leader of the West Pasco JCC/Beth Tefillah,  Rabbi Joshua Lobel of Temple B’nai Israel of Clearwater, Hazzan Jodi Sered-Lever, Spiritual Leader of Congregation Mekor Shalom of Tampa, and Rabbi Jason Rosenberg of Congregation Beth Am of Tampa for joining us in our last eight broadcasts, as well as to our guests in the studio, Rande Friedman—who discussed his new web site connecting the West Central Florida Jewish Community, connecting Jewish synagogues, organizations, clergy, events, culture, food, and community in Pinellas, Pasco,  Hillsborough, Marion, Citrus, Hernando, and Polk counties at the moment, with plans to expand further into the Bradenton/Sarasota region in the future, gives you an opportunity to input your happenings, news, opinions, and experiences of Jewish life that you wish to share with our entire region. Rande also mentioned that he is seeking WWII vets with whom to video interviews. If that is you, please let Rande know, or if you have any questions or need information, contact Rande via the site email or And our thanks to Allison Oakes of Hillel Academy of Tampa for joining us in the studio as well as Rabbi Danielle Upbwin-Weizman and Matt Bar and MysterE of Bible Raps for joining us in an interview regarding their community-wide KESHER event at Temple B’nai Israel on August 18th.

Each week’s program also is spiced with a touch of humor via A Bisl Freylichkayt—A Little Mirth. We have enjoyed humor from Tampa Area-based comedian David Glickman (, the brilliant Victor Borge (Borge Rosenbaum), Allan Sherman, Stan Freberg, Benji Lovitt, Elon Gold, and the 1965 hit comedy LP, You Don’t Have to Be Jewish.

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.

WEEK OF August 4, 2019 AND BEYOND

The Sunday Simcha brings you the Kehillah Calendar — brief updates of community happenings in the immediate weeks ahead.
Details are provided below. Send us word of your community events and news at

Monday, August 12, 7-9 PM: Shuffleboard Showdown at Tampa Height’s only indoor shuffleboard venue. Food, drink and shuffleboard. 2612 North Tampa Street (Just north of Columbus Avenue). For details, visit

Thursday, August 15th at 6 PM: Congregation Rodeph Sholom of Tampa features an 80’s Music Bingo Night. Play, sing and dance to some top hits from the 80’s and prizes. The evening includes chorizo dinner, bingo, snacks, and fun. Registration required at

Beginning August 14th, Hillel Academy of Tampa begins complimentary 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, or emailing

Thursday, August 15th, 6 PM – Congregation Rodeph Sholom of Tampa (2713 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa 33629) presents an 80s Music Bingo Night. Play, sing, and dance to top hits from the 80s and win prizes. Chorizo dinner, bingo cards, are snacks are included. Registration is required. For details, call  813-837-1911 or visit

Sunday, August 18th from 11 AM to 1 PM: Congregation Kol Ami, Tampa, holds an open house to welcome its new rabbi, Rabbi Rachel Blatt and her family. Food and games will be available. For information, call 813-962-6338.

Sunday, August 18th, The Jewish Federation of Pinellas/Pasco presents the community-wide KESHER event, CHAI LIFE: HEALTH, SELF AND COMMUNITY at Temple B’nai Israel, 1985 S. Belcher Rd., Clearwater.  9 AM (registration and coffee) followed by 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM Program and Community Lunch. For all ages, with learning, events and programs for kids, teens, adults. For details, visit

Wednesday, August 21st, 11 AM and 7 PM, The Bryan Glazer Family JCC presents its first annual Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival Summer Film Series event, “Winter Hunt,” at Carrollwood Village Cinemas, 11778 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa. The box office opens one hour prior to showtime. For information, visit

Wednesday, August 21st, 1-3 PM – The Florida Holocaust Museum (55 -5th Street, S., St. Petersburg) presents “Lights in the Darkness,” an Arts About Town Excursion. This guided tour includes a private presentation by Professor Emeritus Howard Kerner, “Heroes of the Holocaust: Noble Tales Emerging from the Darkness.” Transportation is available, registration required. For details and registration, call 813-291-2253.

Wednesday, August 21st, 6:30-8:30 PM, The Bryan Glazer Family JCC presents Connection to Innovation, a discussion of local innovation and industry trailblazers using technology to become more sustainable, socially responsible, efficient, and relevant in major cities around the globe. Refreshments are included. For details, call 813-575-5900 or visit

Friday, August 23rd at 7:30 PM: Congregation Rodeph Sholom of Tampa brings Shabat en español, an uplifting service in Spanish followed by dinner. Spanish and non-Spanish speakers welcome. Sponsorship opportunities are available for this event. Advance registration required for dinner ://

Saturday, August 24th at 7:30 PM, the Bryan Glazer Family JCC will present its summer gala/fundraiser, The J’la: An Evening Benefiting the Tampa JCCs. The event will also honor Bryan Glazer for his community vision and leadership. For details, call 813-575-5900.

Sunday, August 25, 1-4 PM – JCC Scrabble Tournament, Bryan Glazer Family JCC, 522 North Howard Avenue, Tampa. Time to brush up on your double-letter words, anagrams and bingos. Game, snacks, prizes and more.Choose your level of competition – casual or more rigorous, you’ll be paired up to match your preference. Open to JCC members and guests of all ages and skill levels. Scrabble sets provided or bring your own. This is a casual tournament, and not an official NASPA Scrabble Tournament. Register online in advance.

Sunday, August 25, beginning at 3 PM, Young Israel of Tampa will dedicate its new Torah scroll. Final letters will be added to the Torah at 3 PM. Torah parade is at 5 PM, followed by Hakafot celebration beginning at 6 PM at the Norman Jewish Center, 13207 N. 52nd Street, Temple Terrace, FL 33617. For information, call 813-832-3018 or visit

Friday, October 4th – Application deadline for Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Institute Coming this fall. Do you have a passion for making a difference? Want to take a leadership role in making the Jewish community stronger? Experience the Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Training Institute (HCBLI) for emerging leaders this October. Applications are now available online. Apply by September 20 for application discount. For more information, please contact Lisa Robbins.

October 27-November 3, 2019 – Mission to Experience and Explore Israel with the Tampa JCCs & Federation has only a few spots left. 8 days, 7 nights. To see full itinerary and make reservation, contact or call 813-769-4726.

HOLD THE DATE: Sunday, November 24th, from 9:30-12:30 PM, The Jewish Federation of Pinellas/Pasco presents SPEAKING AND LIVING OUR VALUES, followed by lunch. For details, visit

HOLD THE DATE: Sunday, December 8, 2019 – Young Professionals Annual Bucs Tailgate & Game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they face the Indianapolis Colts for the first time in eight years. For more information, contact Lisa Robbins.

HOLD THE DATE: Sunday, April 26th, 2020! The Jewish Federation of Pinellas/Pasco presents CONNECT TO ISRAEL, a morning program followed by lunch. For details, visit

Young Israel of Tampa seeks to complete its new Norman Jewish Library. If you would like to help, visit

For a detailed list of Tampa Bay Area region and surrounding regional happenings, visit:


WMNF Sunday Simcha Summer Pledge Drive Show 6.23.19

Laura Taylor & Shlomo Schwersky join Joy Katzen-Guthrie on The Sunday Simcha Summer Pledge Drive Show on June 23rd.

We are thrilled that WMNF exceeded its goals for the 2019 Summer Pledge Drive. Our thanks to all who supported The Sunday Simcha during this period. 

DONATIONS ARE WELCOME YEAR-ROUND to support this station and this program. The easiest way is to click the Tip Jarabove with any donation—or take advantage of the great premiums for donors below. Select a premium and make your pledge and voila! It will be on its way.

Available for a $54 pledge are these:

• Gracia: a CD by Israeli Ladino artist Sarah Aroeste (signed)
• Ora de Despertar(Time To Wake Up): CD of original Ladino children’s music by Sarah Aroeste (signed)
• Eternal: a novel by award-winning author Dara Horn
• Sinners and the Sea: a copy of the novel by Rebecca Kanner (signed)
• Stand With Israel T-shirt: available in S, M, L, XL, and 2X
• The Histories of the Jewish People of Pinellas County: 700+ pages of Jewish history/photographs of Pinellas County by Herman Koren
• Three-CD Set
of Jewish music by Joy Katzen-Guthrie: Seasons of Joy/The Heart of Ancient Promise/How Good and How Pleasant (signed by request)

• And many other gifts from the WMNF collection upon your request when you make a pledge.

Available for an $88.50 annual pledge as a Circle of Friends member ($7.37/mo)
The WMNF 40th Anniversary Radioactive T-shirt.

Available for Circle of Friends Members pledging $50A Month($600 annually):
Your name/dedication inscribed in stone on WMNF’s People’s Patio.

To Make A Pledge:

√  Call the office line at 813-238-8003 and indicate your support is for The Sunday Simcha.
√  Click the tip jar on this page to pledge in honor of The Sunday Simcha or pick up a premium with a pledge below.
√  Email us during the week at
√  Call our program during the show to speak with Joy and make your pledge at 813-239-9663.
√  Or visit The Sunday Simcha Facebook page and leave a message for Joy at

Thank You Gifts available from The Sunday Simcha
Gracia, a CD of Ladino Music, by Sarah Aroeste
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A signed copy of Gracia, a collection of Ladino songs by Ladino recording artist Sarah Arrestee.

$54.00Add to bag

Eternal, A Novel, by Dara Horn
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A copy of the novel Eternal, by award-winning author Dara Horn.

$54.00Add to bag

Joy Katzen-Guthrie: Three CD Set
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This three CD-set of Joy Katzen-Guthrie’s original collection of Jewish songs includes SEASONS OF JOY features songs/narration explaining the holidays of the Jewish year. THE HEART OF ANCIENT PROMISE features Yiddish & Hebrew standards (with English translations). HOW GOOD AND HOW PLEASANT features music from the Friday evening Shabbat service. Upon your request, the CD’s will be signed.

$54.00Add to bag

40 Years RadioActive T-Shirt
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On September 14th, WMNF will be celebrating 40 years of local, independent radio.  Celebrate this anniversary by supporting 88.5 and getting a “40 Years RadioActive” T-shirt. Purchase for $88.50, or even better, join our Circle of Friends and buy it for $7.37 a month. Both in men’s and women’s style.  The women’s shirt is a V neck.

$88.50Select options

Sinners and the Sea, for Sunday Simcha
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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
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Learn about the individuals and families who built the Jewish community in Pinellas County from Dr. Herman Koren’s extensive research of the Jewish people, organizations, and history/development of Pinellas County from 1883-2005. A monumental volume more than a decade in the writing, of enormous interest to any who desire to know of the Jewish history of the West Central Region of Florida.

$54.00Add to bag

Sarah Aroeste CD: Ora de Despertar, for Sunday Simcha
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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
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Stand with Israel T-Shirt

Available in:

S (one available)

M (one available)

L (six available)

XL (five available)

and 2X (one available)

$54.00Select options

40th Anniversary WMNF Brick Paver
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You can set in stone your love of WMNF on our People’s Patio! Put your name or dedicate it to a loved one! 100% tax-deductible!  For a limited time includes a WMNF 40th Anniversary logo.  Be a part of the celebration get the paver for a Circle of Friends monthly contribution of $50.00.

$600.00Add to bag

These are exclusive gifts of The Sunday Simcha, more Thank You gifts available

Hosted By...

Joy Katzen-Guthrie

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

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  

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