Shabbat and the 'Cello

December 5, 2014

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, December 5, 2014.

Shabbat and the ‘Cello

Thelma Yellin (1895-1959) was an English musician who studied with the famed cello virtuoso, Pablo Casals. She grew up in England, one of the aristocratic Jewish Bentwich family, and was an observant Jew. For Thelma, being a professional musician was problematic because of her observance of the Sabbath. In England, a career as a professional musician was out of the question if you weren’t available to perform on Friday nights and Saturdays. In 1919, Thelma made aliya to Israel and married Eliezer Yellin, the son of famed Zionist and scholar David Yellin. In Israel, Sabbath observance was not in conflict with her professional life, and she spent her life traveling throughout the Yishuv (the Jewish Settlements) in Palestine concertizing and teaching. She formed the Jerusalem Music Society in 1921 which organized concerts for the diverse audience of Jews, Arabs, British, and other nationalities, as well as the Jerusalem String Quartet along with her sister, violinist Margery Bentwich. She was famous throughout the Jewish world. The Thelma Yellin High School of the Performing Arts was named after her in 1959.

Thelma and Eliezer Yellin

Thelma Yellin

Shabbat Shalom!