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Easter Term Cambridge Forum for Jewish Studies Meeting

When May 28, 2015
from 05:00 PM to 06:30 PM
Where Milstein Seminar Rooms, Cambridge University Library
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“Choral Music and Western Modernity in Jewish Music”

Rachel Adelstein, Visiting Research Fellow in the Faculty of Music and Corpus Christi College

Groups of singers have supported Jewish worship ever since the Levites sang in the Temple, and we have records of Jewish choral music appearing in the Italian Renaissance and Enlightenment-era England.  But the great rise of the synagogue choir in both Europe and the United States came in the nineteenth century along with Emancipation and Reform.  In this talk, I explore the phenomenon of the synagogue choir as a way in which Jewish communities mediated their encounters with their host cultures, and how choirs became a tool to assist congregations in their engagements with modernity.
Rachel Adelstein is an ethnomusicologist.  She received her Ph.D in 2013 from the University of Chicago, where she completed her doctoral dissertation entitled Braided Voices:  Women Cantors in Non-Orthodox Judaism.  She is currently working on a project with the working title of The Musical Lives of British Synagogues, with a particular focus on the musical traditions of progressive congregations.  She has also written about music and the memory of the Holocaust, as well as artistic expressions of Jewish feminism.
Attendees are invited to continue the conviviality of the afternoon at the Anchor Pub following the lecture.
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