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Concrete Wall

Episode 9 | Mendy Hershkowitz | Living with balance

About the Guest:

According to his website, Mendy Hershkowitz hates bios! That’s understandable because as an arranger, band leader, producer, and music business mogul, it’s difficult to capture all that Mendy is and does.

If you are in the loop with Jewish music, you have likely heard Mendy’s productions on popular Jewish albums, or seen him perform with the Mendy Hershkowitz Band onstage.

Mendy has learned how to not only tap into the artistic side of music but also the business element. He runs “Sonic Duo,” an all-inclusive entertainment and media company equipped with a recording/ production/post-production facility.

In addition to this, he has founded websites and streaming apps to make Jewish music and sheet music accessible to everyone.

About the podcast:

Dive into the Heart of Jewish Music with Mendy Portnoy: Where Music and Soul Collide.

Imagine a young boy, one of nine children, captivated by the melodies of Shabbat prayers. In his mind, the cantor's voice wasn't alone; it soared alongside a full orchestra, transforming the synagogue into a concert hall.

That boy, Mendy Portnoy, grew up to become a world-class producer, shaping the very soundscape of Jewish music with TYH Music and Farbrengable Studios.

Now, Mendy invites you on a unique journey – not just through hit songs, but into the lives and minds of the people who create them.

Join Mendy as he sits down with iconic voices, from soulful singers to talented songwriters and industry insiders. Each episode unveils the stories behind the music, delving into the joys and challenges of the music world, and the individual spark each guest brings to their craft.

Peek behind the curtain and discover the fascinating people who shape the music that moves our Jewish community.

But Mendy's podcast goes beyond celebrity interviews. Growing up in a vibrant family led by an orchestra conductor-turned-Rabbi, music was always woven into Mendy's experience of Judaism.

This podcast is his quest to understand the very essence of "Jewish music" – its origins, influences, and what it means to those who create and embrace it.

Whether you're a music aficionado, curious about the industry, or seeking a deeper connection to the melodies that touch your soul, Mendy Portnoy's podcast is your invitation to listen, learn, and be inspired. Join him on this exploration of where music and soul collide, and discover the vibrant heart of Jewish music.


00:00 who is Mendy Hershkowitz

01:14 Early exposure to music

04:18 Growth in the Monroe community

05:05 rules and restrictions

07:34 “aha moment” listening to a Mona production

11:06 getting starstruck

13:51 Maintaining balance in life

15:35 Music as a career and as a passion

17:17 supportive partners

18:16 Spending time with your children

25:47 importance of melody

28:38 studying music in Monroe

36:06 Who is Marty Laskin

40:03 Importance of learning music with a professional teacher

42:06 Do I need to know sheet music?

45:57 Music is a language

47:57 Being a music innovator vs an imitator

49:36 creating Freilach band

57:09 Respecting who came before you and who will come after

58:01 Sitting in the back of the stage

1:00:54 leaving Freilach band

1:03:19 Moving the keyboard to the front of the stage (metaphorically)

1:04:34 What is Jewish Music?

1:07:54 Who is your clientele

1:09:30 juggling everything

1:13:40 What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

1:14:58 What is coming up for Mendy Hershkowitz


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