Michael Dorf has always been a really big inspiration behind my launching Shemspeed and the Sephardic Music Festival. When I was a DJ at WMUC I would get promo cds of albums he was releasing on his Knitting Factory and Alternative Jewish Music label. Between the releases from his imprint and the work of John Zorn I sensed something really hot happening in Jewish music. I formed a punk klemer jazz group called Juez while still in Maryland and after graduating I moved to NY and started Shemspeed a label devoted to Jewish music that infused hip hop and rock.

I was really excited when Michael Dorf approached me about making a website for his latest project dubbed, Jews, Rock and Roll. Under my company Bancs Media, we created a responsive site with tickets and information about this traveling Pop Up Museum which is set to tour as a traveling exhibit for traditional museums, exhibition spaces, and “Pop-up Museums” in short-term storefront rentals in 10 to 15 cities across North America. Over 500,000 people will see the 5,000 sq. ft. exhibit over two-three years. The exhibit is organized, around five specific eras: The Rise of the American, The Rise of the Teenager, The Rise of Counter Culture, The Rise of Record Industry, The Rise of the Post Modern/Ethnic American.

The exhibit tells the story of Jews in America, illustrating the history and influence of Jews in popular music from the 1930’s to today’s pop stars. This exhibit explores how a small group of immigrants had such a significant and positive influence in shaping American pop culture.

If you’re in NY on May 26th go check out their launch event! Tickets here.


– Erez Safar

About the author


Founded by Erez Safar, Shemspeed is an independent recording label & promotional agency devoted to producing and developing dynamic multi-cultural artists and interactive media.