Daniel Arkin over at Brooklyn Ink has done everyone a great service by conducting an oral history with the founders and staff of JDub Records. At one point, we had the good luck of sharing offices with JDub, which turned a meaningful idea into a successful project before closing up shop last year.
Here’s a small part of the exchange between Aaron Bisman and Ben Hesse, the co-founders of JDub.
Bisman: The American Jewish world had done a really crappy job of creating meaningful culture for young people beyond Jewish summer camps and a few other things.
Hesse: Jewish music was just cornball.
Bisman: The idea was, I want to make music that some high school kid in the Midwest can play in his car and bump and really feel: ‘It’s cool, it’s mine, it’s Jewish, and I’m totally proud of that.’ I remember being sixteen, working at Camp Ramah in California. One day I went to a Phish show at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Fifty-thousand people there. Trey [Anatasio], who’s not Jewish, broke into ‘Avinu Malkeinu,’ singing in Hebrew, and doing a damn good job. I looked around and saw recognition on other people’s faces. It was a powerful, transformative moment. We wanted to create those moments for other people.
Read the whole thing. It’s a great story.
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.