Bet you didn’t expect to find those two components, “Yiddish theater” and “Neil Sedaka” in the same headline. Well, now you have! The National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene will be honoring pop singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka, the son of a Turkish Jewish father and a Polish-Russian Jewish mother, at its 2012 annual gala, June 12, at New York’s Town Hall.
Sedaka will be awarded for his “colossal impact on American music.” Fellow honorees will be Yiddish song-anthologist Chana Mlotek for her “contributions to the preservation of the Yiddish folklore,” and Dr. Jay Wisnicki, “for his commitment and support for Yiddish culture and yiddishkeit.”
Sedaka’s late ’50s, early ‘60s hits included the decidedly non-Yiddish sounding “Calendar Girl,” “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen,” and “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.”