February 17, 2011
Yisroel Juskowicz: all creative talents at once
His first creative works were classroom caricatures. His latest works can be heard in concert and read in published books. Yisroel Juskowicz takes on all talents at once.
The debut album “The Narrow Bridge” was released this past November and his Juskowicz’s book, “The Hidden Path,” is due out in the spring. But despite his busy schedule, Juskowicz’s music, paintings and his entire demeanor embody peaceful serenity.
Juskowicz, 33, began his career as an artist drawing caricatures during class at Talmudical Academy in Baltimore and selling them during recess in seventh grade. As Juskowicz matured, his drawings did as well. Not only did art become a means of getting closer to G-d, but the online shiurim that Juskowicz listened to, while he painted, sparked the thoughts and ideas that would eventually evolve into the full fledged chapters of his book.
Juskowicz took his writings to Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf, a well-known Baltimore author and publisher, who liked what he read and he agreed to publish the book. Juskowicz describes his upcoming book as “very eclectic and a little like Reb Aryeh Kaplan, with lots of Jewish spirituality and outreach and a lot of stories.”
Additionally, Juskowicz asked a guitar-playing friend to teach him the basics and then he added that instrument to his list of talents. As the songs kept coming to his mind, Juskowicz wanted to record an album and he started saving up money to finance the project.
“It was just amazing; I probably have two or three albums worth of songs, each one different than the next,” said Juskowicz. “I took them to C. Lanzbom, the most incredible guitar player on earth. I was flattered that someone like him, who had spent so much time accompanying Shlomo Carlebach, thought my songs were like Reb Shlomo’s songs.”
It took two years to record the twelve songs on “The Narrow Bridge,” eight of the pieces are Juskowicz’s own compositions. Aside from Lanzbom’s contributions, Juskowicz is joined on the album by singers Eitan Katz and Nochi Krohn, adding to the songs tranquil, heartfelt and beautiful simplicity.