Evolution of American Jewish Liturgical Music

Timeline created by kkmunro
In Music
  • 70

    Destruction of Second Temple

    Destruction of Second Temple
    In 70 CE, the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. As a result, instruments were banned from the synagogue as a sign of mourning. New melodies of gentile origin were considered a deviation from the pure Near-Eastern tradition, and, as such, were forbidden. Change was frowned upon; prayer tunes were kept in their original form; no harmonization was allowed.
  • 890

    Biblical Cantillation

    Biblical Cantillation
    By the end of the 9th century CE, rabbis of the Ben-Asher academy in Tiberias developed a system of accents for notating cantillation. this text is known as the Masoretic Bible. Cantillation is used to show the stress of each word, serves as punctuation, indicates each word's melody, and makes the reading unique from every-day Hebrew reading.
  • Salamone Rossi- Synagogue Music for Mixed Choir

    Salamone Rossi- Synagogue Music for Mixed Choir
    Salamone Rossi (1570-1630) was an Italian Jewish violinist and composer. In addition to his bold innovations in the field of instrumental music, he transformed synagogue music. After hearing the new music of the Renaissance, he began to question why synagogue music should continue to sound so old-fashioned. Rossi became the first Jew ever to compose, perform and publish settings of the synagogue liturgy for mixed choir. Songs of Solomon
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWGxUn02vk0&t=570s
  • Chassidic Niggunim

    Chassidic Niggunim
    The Hasidic niggun is a genre of Jewish vocal music often described as a mystical musical prayer or a spiritual language beyond words. Niggunim are songs formed of multiple melodic phrases, typically sung without instrumental accompaniment and without words. Hasidic Niggun: The Moscow Male Jewish Cappella
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngkSSkEm5JI Rizher Niggun (Carlebach)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jxMbRl9c6o
  • Reform Movement

    Reform Movement
    Reform Judaism is a religious movement that has modified or abandoned many traditional Jewish beliefs, laws, and practices in an effort to adapt Judaism to the changed social, political, and cultural conditions of the modern world. Reform Judaism sets itself at variance with Orthodox Judaism by challenging the binding force of ritual, laws, and customs set down in the Bible and in certain books of rabbinic origin. The movement began in Germany the early 19th century.
  • Chazzanim- Enhancing Liturgical Music

    Chazzanim- Enhancing Liturgical Music
    Chazzanim are Jewish musicians who are vocally trained, knowledgeable in Hebrew and nusach, and lead the congregation in soulful prayer. In times past, in addition to knowledge of Biblical and liturgical literature as well as the prayer motifs, the hazzan was required to possess a pleasing appearance ,be married, and have a flowing beard. Today, both women and men are chazzanim and most are fully trained in their field.
  • Conservative Movement

    Conservative Movement
    Conservative Judaism is a religious movement that seeks to conserve essential elements of traditional Judaism but allows for the modernization of religious practices in a less radical sense than that espoused by Reform Judaism. Zacharias Frankel (1801–75), whose ideology inspired early Conservative ideas, held fast to the notion that the Jewish religion is inextricably bound up with Jewish culture and a national identity. He refused to abandon religious customs and traditions as nonessentials.
  • Louis Lewandowski- Composer of Synagogue Music

    Louis Lewandowski- Composer of Synagogue Music
    Louis Lewandowski (1821–1894) was a Polish-Jewish and German-Jewish composer of synagogue music. He advocated for communal singing and included organ to accompany compositions. Today Lewandowski's music forms a central part of the synagogue service in Reform, Liberal, Conservative and Orthodox communities. His music is sung across the world. Psalm 150
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXf7To0fhT8 Lewandowski Festival 2020
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep5eSuNHrOw
  • Famous Chazzanim

    Famous Chazzanim
    Yossele Rosenblatt (1882-1933)- recognized as the greatest cantorial singer of all time.
    Hineni
    https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129635330 Mordecai Hershman (1888 –1940)- a Ukrainian-born American Jewish cantor ("chazzan") and singer.
    Eilu Devurim
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnc59rdf4pY Moishe Oysher (1906-1958)- He is considered one of the most entertaining chazanim ever recorded.
    Chad Gadyo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jr4LSdALxpI
  • Orthodox Judaism

    Orthodox Judaism
    Orthodox Judaism comprises the traditionalist branches of contemporary Rabbinic Judaism. It is chiefly defined by regarding the Torah, both Written and Oral, as literally revealed by God to Moses and faithfully transmitted down through the generations of sages ever since. Orthodox Judaism therefore advocates a strict observance of the Jewish law (Halakha). Some divisions include Haredi, Hasidic, and Modern Orthodox Jews. They fully daven the liturgical text without instrumentation.
  • Reconstructionist Movement

    Reconstructionist Movement
    Reconstructionist Judaism is an American Jewish denomination founded in the last century that seeks to unite Jewish history, tradition, culture and belief with modern scientific knowledge and the way people live today. It teaches that the Jewish religion was created by the Jewish people and was not a revelation from God. Jewish spiritual insights and religious teachings provide important sources of meaning and purpose and religion is seen as the heart of the Jewish search for meaning in life.
  • Max Janowski

    Max Janowski
    Max Janowski (1912-1991), was a composer of Jewish liturgical music, a conductor, choir director, and voice teacher. Max Janowski's choral works include the traditional Jewish prayers "Avinu Malkeinu" "Sim Shalom" , "Yismechu," and "V'sham'ru". Avinu Malkeinu (by Cantor Azi Schwartz)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFZJR9yQpEY Sim Shalom (Zamir Chorale)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8qfgaWJqeY
  • Shlomo Carlebach

    Shlomo Carlebach
    Shlomo Carlebach (1925-1994) was a Jewish rabbi, religious teacher, spiritual leader, composer, and singer. Although his roots lay in traditional Orthodox yeshivot, he branched out to create his own style combining Hasidic Judaism, warmth and personal interaction, public concerts, and song-filled synagogue services. He is considered by many to be the foremost Jewish religious songwriter of the 20th century. Shlomo Carlebach Special
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0Eov3ji1wg
  • Debbie Friedman- Liturgical Music inspired by Folk Music

    Debbie Friedman- Liturgical Music inspired by Folk Music
    Debbie Friedman (1951-2011) was an American singer-songwriter of Jewish religious songs and melodies. Her songs, and the prayers for which she found melodies, continue to reach countless people of all expressions of Judaism. Some of her most famous songs include: Mi Shebeirach, Havdalah, Miriam's Song, L'chi Lach, Devorah's Song, and I am a Latke. Mi Shebeirach
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHKo3CjuzpY L'chi Lach
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8WrShnKTWY
  • Hadar's Rising Song Institute- Power of Communal Singing

    Hadar's Rising Song Institute- Power of Communal Singing
    The Rising Song Institute aims to cultivate the grassroots musical-spiritual creativity of the Jewish people. RSI emphasizes the creativity of musical-spiritual artists connected to the powerful energy of people gathered in community to sing. Led by Joey Weisenberg, RSI empowers people to deepen their connections with traditional Jewish melodies and ancient spiritual modalities. https://www.hadar.org/rising-song-institute
  • Joey Weisenberg

    Joey Weisenberg
    Joey Weisenberg is the Founder and Director of Hadar’s Rising Song Institute, and is the author of Building Singing Communities and The Torah of Music, winner of a 2017 National Jewish Book Award. A devoted student and teacher of traditional Jewish melodies, Joey also composes new nigunim that have moved and inspired Jews around the world. Kol HaNeshama
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVRzPG9j7xE Lincoln's Niggun
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CbtTCLrXjQ
  • Nava Tehila

    Nava Tehila
    Nava Tehila is a Jerusalem based NGO for Jewish renewal. Their main focus is creating musical and engaging prayer spaces where people feel comfortable to come as they are. Nava Tehila’s musical spiritual leaders generate new prayer modalities, compose new music for prayer, and train Jewish leaders in the art of musical and innovative prayer leading. Oseh Shalom
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFdngngTpqo Hallelujah
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV3xV9NJgss