Aha Moment: John Zorn with a schmear

Studio 360

Niki Russ Federman, fourth generation of the smoked fish dynasty Russ & Daughters, resisted joining the family business.

“Selling food, smelling like smoked fish at the end of the day,” she says, “those are things that I felt I wasn’t educated to do.”

But then, Federman experienced a revelatory moment brought on by hipster klezmorim and the musician-composer John Zorn.

“I looked at what it meant to be the fourth generation of a tradition,” she says. “I looked at what Russ & Daughters meant to not only myself, but to so many New Yorkers who had some connection to this city, or to being Jewish or just loving food and what would happen of Russ & Daughters wasn’t there.”

(Originally aired January 29, 2010)

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