In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 12, 2005 / 9 Tishrei, 5766

Let's lay to rest accordion's geekiness

By Lenore Skenazy

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | My friends, it is time to unburden yourselves of your secret. The one you've been harboring for years, hot-faced with shame. Admit it: You love the accordion.

Oh how its chords stab straight to your heart! How it makes you pine for the old country, even if you were born in a cab on the Cross Bronx Expressway. So melodious and moving is the accordion, it deserves much more than snooty snickers. Yet for far too many folks, it is the love that dare not squeeze its name.

Having recently laid Myron Floren — Lawrence Welk's accordionist — to rest, let us lay to rest, too, the hoary notion that the accordion is, in a word, Myron Floren-esque. Okay. That was two words. The single word is: dorky.

"For baby boomers, the accordion got associated with cheesy music from the '40s and '50s and blazers and ties and big smiles," says Doug Nervik, an East Village accordionist who admits the shiny instrument always "sexually attracted" him.

Ahem. Well. Anyway. Says Nervik of the Welk-accordion association: "It's not that." Welk's "champagne music" was just one tiny corner of the accordion world, and the most cheese-chocked one, at that. But beyond the Welk reruns forever defining Channel 21 as the goofball in the PBS pantheon, an astounding array of cultures has called upon the accordion. Gypsy dances, klezmer tunes, Argentina's tango and Dominican merengue all depend on the squeezebox, as do such polar extremes as polkas and zydeco.

The accordion can handle this range because it is such a versatile instrument. Or, at least, such a loud one.

"There was a time, before the electric guitar, when it was the instrument to play down South because it didn't require amplification," says Marilee Eitner, a member of New York's all-female accordion orchestra, Main Squeeze.

I'll get back to the all-female accordion orchestra, but as I was going to say, since its invention in 1829 Vienna, the instrument has presided over countless country fetes because it has always been, basically, a portable, affordable orchestra.

And that may have contributed to its downfall. "There may have been an economic stigma against it," says Eitner, "because it was a piano substitute for people who couldn't afford real pianos."

Still, there is no denying that the sound the accordion makes when played by the right person — or, in the case of Main Squeeze, the right 14 persons — is thrilling.

"It can be sad and silly and it can move you to tears," says Walter Kuehr, who conducts the orchestra when not presiding over Main Squeeze, his accordion shop on the lower East Side.

Kuehr arranges songs by everyone from Madonna to Stravinsky for his posse, and when I heard them rehearsing, the giggles hit hard. But then tears crept in, too.

The accordion may look a little too shiny and sound a little too loud, but there's a reason so many cultures — and Channel 21 — keep it around. It always manages to squeeze the heart.

If that's dorky, so is art.

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JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

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