Photo Credit:
Neil Sedaka

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.”


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Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth,,, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.