Regina Spektor.(Amy Sussman/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

Tablet contributor Ben Harris interviewed Russian-Jewish singer Regina Spektor after a performance at Lincoln Center in February. The concert, a benefit for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, was a challenge for Spektor, who was apparently battling a cold. Still, she performed, raising money and awareness for the organization that helped her family move to the United States when she was a child:

Born in Moscow to a musically inclined family, Spektor began studying classical piano from an early age. Landing in New York without her beloved piano, Spektor found one in the social hall of a synagogue in her new Bronx neighborhood.

“It was really fun to turn on the lights because they had all these stage lights,” Spektor recalls. “It was totally dark, and you make your way in, checking out what lights what. And I practiced there. And it was great because I had nowhere else to practice at all.”

Related: In God She Trusts [Tablet Magazine]
Amid mainstream success, Regina Spektor stays true to Jewish roots [JTA]