Klezmer (M-W 1949, OED no entry?)

Kathleen E. Miller millerk at NYTIMES.COM
Fri Jun 21 16:36:36 UTC 2002

At 08:56 AM 6/21/02 -0400, BArry Popik wrote:
>  I decided see OED's "klezmer," an Jewish instrument [sic] surely as old
> as the bagel.  OED has no entry.  I tried "klez*".  It's not there!  THIS

The first cite in the New York Times is in 1944, Dec. 4, "The first of a
series of five programs on 'Folk Art in Jewish Tradition,' to be directed
by Corinne Cochem and sponsored by the Seminary School of Jewish Studies,
will be given at 8:45 o'clock tonight in the Unterberg Auditorium and 122d
Street. Tonight's program will be 'At Jewish Weddings,' consisting of
excerpts from wedding songs sung by the Klezmer, itinerant musicians in
Eastern Europe who played at wedding parties. Miss Cochem will teach the
audience the Shers, which are traditional folk dances for weddings."

I know it doesn't antedate the draft the OED has going but, and forgive me
if this is overstepping my boundaries, it seems unsurprising to me that a
Yiddish word that doesn't show up in a publication that serves as the paper
for a city with a population of 1,750,000 mostly Ashkenazi Jews (1914 est.
today's slightly less at 1.5 million) until 1944, is absent from a
publication that hails from a country that has a current Jewish population
of roughly  .4 %

It is in the New Oxford American.

Kathleen E. Miller
Research Assistant to William Safire
The New York Times

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