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Regina Spektor Performance Hits Close to Home

Russian-Jewish singer active in Jewish causes

Stephanie Butnick
April 09, 2012
Regina Spektor.(Amy Sussman/Getty Images for The New Yorker)
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.”

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.