Jewish Music

Jewish Music

Man and woman playing guitars and singing while leading worship services

Once the High Holidays are over, I’m often left wondering what we can we do to get people back into the sanctuary before the next Rosh HaShanah rolls around.

Cantor Lizzie Weiss
young man playing guitar

Synagogue music experienced a radical transformation in the late 1960s, as sing-along tunes that originated in youth group and camp settings replaced the earlier performance-oriented style. The duo, Kol B’Seder, made up of Rabbi Daniel Freelander, then a voice major at the Hartt School of Music, and Cantor Jeff Klepper, then a Kutz Camp-trained song leader, helped usher in the new era of Jewish liturgical folk music.  Their 1973 setting of “Shalom Rav,” like Debbie Friedman’s “Mi Shebeirach,” have since become so ubiquitous worldwide as to be considered traditional.  

I asked Rabbi Freelander, who is now executive director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, how a small cadre of camp-based singer-songwriters launched a revolution that got Reform Jews singing in the pews.

Aron Hirt-Manheimer

Until I joined my synagogue, my only knowledge of religiously based choirs was watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on TV. I had no idea synagogues had choirs!

Howard Lev
musical notes on sheet music for the Jewish high holidays like Yom Kippur and Rosh HaShanah

Transcontinental Music Publications, now a division of the American Conference of Cantors, invites composers to submit new musical settings of Shabbat texts for consideration for one of its first new projects, Shabbat Anthology Volume VIII.