The Arty Semite

Cantorial Concert a First for Barclays Center

By Chavie Lieber (JTA)

Who knew the man behind the Brooklyn homecomings of Jay-Z and Barbra Streisand had a thing for heimishe melodies?

Lisa Marie Mazzucco

Bruce Ratner, the developer and majority owner of the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, which opened last September with a Jay-Z show and hosted borough native Barbra Streisand a month later, holds a special place in his heart for cantorial music.

“My parents are both from Eastern European descent, so that type of Jewish music is in my blood,” Ratner said. “I grew up going to my Conservative synagogue in Cleveland, where they had an amazing cantor who I absolutely loved to listen to. And as I got older, I was always buying cantor CDs. The music is just so refined.”

Ratner, the chairman and chief executive of the real estate development firm Forest City Companies, is taking personal pride in having spearheaded efforts to put on the first Jewish event at the venue: a February 28 concert featuring the renowned Israeli-born violinist Itzhak Perlman sharing the stage with Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot. The Barclays performance comes on the heels of the pair’s recent collaboration, “Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul,” an album of Jewish music released in August.

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