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3.25.16 Issue

by Linda Pollard, Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation

Rocky Mountain Jewgrass is coming to Omaha. The Jewgrass concert, part of the Joy of Laughter Live Comedy Series sponsored by the Meyers Family Legacy of Laughter Endowment, will be held on Sunday, April 3, at 1:30 p.m., in the Jewish Community Center Auditorium. Rocky Mountain Jewgrass will deliver a family-friendly concert for the entire community. A reception with light refreshments will follow the performance.

Rocky Mountain Jewgrass, a four-member group from Denver, brings their unique style of music to Omaha for the second concert in the Joy of Laughter comedy series. Jewgrass is a mixture of bluegrass instrumentals, Jewish-content lyrics, and a healthy dose of irreverence. The results are great music, witty lyrics and an entertaining afternoon suitable for all audiences. Former Omahan Saul Rosenthal, founder and lead vocalist of the group, said, “Our shows are very family-friendly. To truly appreciate our humorous lyrics, I think you would need to be about 10 years old.” He went on to say that his 10- year-old grandson laughs at their songs, while his 3-year-old granddaughter does not. “Little kids often dance at our shows, which is perfectly fine,” Rosenthal concluded.

Saul Rosenthal composes all the music for their original songs and usually writes all the lyrics, while other band members often help. The other members of the band are Ben Cohen, who plays banjo and a multitude of other instruments, Gail deVore who plays fiddle and washboard, and Eric Roberts on bass guitar.

Rosenthal is also the cantor of Congregation Rodef Shalom, and while jamming before services in 2007, the band accidently fell into the bluegrass beat when Ben Cohen started playing his banjo. Soon they found their new sound, and they started performing for groups outside of the synagogue.

Rosenthal lived in Omaha from 1976 through 1982 and taught at Creighton University. In 1982 Rosenthal changed careers to join the Denver office of the Anti-Defamation League, where he worked until he retired as regional director in 2001. Not ready for full retirement, he made another career change when he opened his own public relations firm, which is still operating today.

The Meyers Family Legacy of Laughter Endowment Fund at the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation was established by Vicki Perlmeter and Bruce and Mike Meyers in loving tribute to their parents, Bernie and Roie Meyers. With a broad smile, Mike Meyers talked about the endowment fund, “The mission of the Meyers Family Legacy of Laughter Endowment is to keep that laughter alive, to spread joy to the residents of the Rose Blumkin Home and the Jewish community it serves. If we can bring a smile, a chuckle, a giggle, or a guffaw to people who have earned the right to have a good, healthy laugh, then the full and happy lives of Roro and Bobo will have added up to something truly meaningful: The Joy of Laughter.”