Jews and African Americans, as two distinct ethnic groups, historically struggled for freedom and searched for a homeland, but each group felt in the other’s music the deep sentiments of their common history. “Black Sabbath-the Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations” is an album that the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation released in September. The album showcases African American artists from the 1930s to the 1960s singing Jewish songs, including Johnny Mathis, who made a special visit on February 3 to the San Francisco for “A Johnny Mathis Homecoming”. An exhibition at the museum bears the album’s name and runs through March 22. A visit to this exhibit at the CJM is one way to mark National this month. Visitors can relax in a gallery where tracks from the album are piped in, and headphones are available at listening stations where more song titles are available. A sampling of the music can be heard at http://bit.ly/d0xx4d.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum website has information on current and future exhibits. Museum passes are available at the Fremont Main Library for library cardholders to borrow. Each pass allows admission for two adults; there is no charge for those ages 18 and under. Contact the Fremont Main Library at tel. (510) 745-1401 to reserve a museum pass.