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The Oral History of JDub Records

A look at the decade in which the awesome JDub Records came and went

Adam Chandler
November 12, 2012
JDub Purim Party 2011. (Dan Sieradski)
JDub Purim Party 2011. (Dan Sieradski)

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.