Susan
Leviton


SUSAN LEVITON was born and raised in Camden, New Jersey where her father had an auto glass business on Mount Ephraim Avenue. She has been active in the Arts for many years, both as a scribal artist and as a singer of Yiddish songs. Her work in both areas stands on a foundation of deep investigation of historic sources, and bursts out of old molds with liveliness and wonder. As a long-time faculty member of KlezKamp, the National Yiddish Book Center, Circle Lodge, and countless colleges, synagogues, and communities as a scholar-in-residence, Susan's ability to touch people with sincerity and joyfulness makes her a celebrated bearer of cultural heritage.

The program published for the Art & Soul: Arts and Religion Festival held at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in the November of  2004 reads as follows:

In 2004, Susan Levitonís life is filled with transmitting the richness of her culture through Judaic art and Yiddish song. Currently a resident of Harrisburg, PA, Susan earlier worked for over 12 years within the Deaf community in Philadelphia, before turning her attention primarily to the arts. Her mastery of Hebrew calligraphy started with a "simple" assignment--making a ketubah (a traditional Jewish marriage contract) for a friend's wedding. She then studied calligraphy under masters such as Sheila Waters and Ismar David. Her art and design, executed in a variety of media, can be found in specialty shops and galleries, as well as in several installations in major East Coast cities.

Susan's other love, songs sung in Yiddish, the language of Eastern European Jews, is equally compelling to her. One legacy of the Holocaust is the destruction of the cultural milieu in which Yiddish flourished, and there remain few native speakers from that era. Susan feels deeply that "it is our obligation and legacy to sing these songs." In addition to providing vocals for the Old World Folk Band, she also offers workshops, recitals, and scholar-in-residence programs. Susan says, "Playfulness and integrity are serious components of my life. Whatever a person does in a work life should be fun. There should be some joyfulness that you can bring to the work life."

Click here to listen to a podcast of a 2005 performance by Susan Leviton performing at the KlezKamp festival of Jewish music. She released a CD of music sung in Yiddish entitled Zingendik! in 2008, and appears on a compilation CD called Live From Klezkamp! The Staff Concerts 1985-2003.


 



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