In related interviews, Richard Sandler and Paul Schwendener of the Milken Archive of Jewish Music recall their unique collaboration with Leonard Nimoy z’l on American Jewish Music from the Milken Archive with Leonard Nimoy. The 13 two-part episodes, originally produced with 98.7 WFMT radio in Chicago and broadcast nationally, explore the rich body of Jewish music, both sacred and secular, that grew from the American Jewish experience.
Nimoy, the much-beloved actor, photographer, and author, had a deep and abiding love for his Jewish heritage. Raised in Boston, the son of a barber and grandson of a leather-cutter, Nimoy’s grandmother only spoke Yiddish, so he became fluent in the language. His fluency in Yiddish helped Nimoy land some early work in Los Angeles Yiddish theater.
Nimoy’s work on the American Jewish Music radio series helped cement the reputation of the Milken Archive of Jewish Music as the world’s finest repository of music, oral histories, interviews, photographs and historical memorabilia representing the historical depth and cultural context of the Jewish experience in America.
Richard Sandler is a prominent leader of the American and Los Angeles Jewish communities. Executive vice president and a trustee of the Milken Family Foundation in Santa Monica, he is a former chairman of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. He is also on the boards of the American Jewish University, Milken Community High School and the University of California at Berkeley Foundation.
In an exclusive interview with Radio Chavura, recorded on Friday, February 27th – the same day as Leonard Nimoy’s passing – Sandler recalls his long friendship with the actor, as well as Nimoy’s involvement with the Milken Foundation and the Milken Archive.
Paul Schwendener is the executive director at All-Star Orchestra in New York, which brings together top players from major American symphony orchestras to record a bi-annual series of public television programs and online educational materials for the Khan Academy. In a separate interview with Radio Chavura, also recorded on February 27th, Schwendener recounts his work with Leonard Nimoy on the American Jewish Music radio series. At the time the series was recorded, in 2003, Schwendener was the artist and repertoire adviser for the Milken Archive.
Page Banner: Courtesy of the Milken Family Foundation