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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

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Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

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The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 16, 2006 / 25 Mar-Cheshvan 5767

Melodies and prayers

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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Does it really matter if liturgical music is "authentic"?


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On Saturday night I was listening to one of the programs on Israel radio while waiting for some inspiration to write my weekly article on a Jewish topic. The program featured prayers, hymns and melodies sung by a young Sephardic cantor. The young man had a beautiful lyric tenor voice but the melodies that he sang were certainly strange to my Ashkenazic ears. The music was exotic sounding, distinctly Middle Eastern in tone and pitch and in a strange way, very provocative and unsettling. I then wondered whether this music and melodies, put to the words of Psalms and our traditional prayers, was perhaps more authentic than the melodies that I am accustomed to hearing being sung in our synagogue.


Perhaps the songs of the Levites in the Temple long ago were more closely allied with the Sephardic type prayer music of today than with the Ashkenazic tunes that are routinely sung in Ashkenazic synagogue prayer services. And I was then struck by a heretical thought — does it make a difference which tune or melody is allegedly more authentic? Who can say?


Music and melody has certainly evolved over the past millennia so that there is probably no really authentic melodies and music from the Temple still extant amongst us. There is an opinion that I heard taught in the name of a great sage of the sixteenth century that the haunting melody used by Ashkenazim for the Kol Nidrei prayer as well as the lilting tune used for the Kaddish on the High Holy Days are vestiges of melodies of the Levites in the Temple. But as I mentioned, there can be no proofs regarding this matter any longer.


The evolution of synagogue music is readily visible in our very own times. Fifty years ago there were no "Carlebach" melodies sung in the Ashkenazic synagogues. Today these melodies are sung regularly in all Ashkenazic synagogues the world over. The melodies of the current popular singers of Jewish music — Chasidic, yeshivish, even pop music and Israeli songs — are also part of the melodic liturgy of Ashkenazic synagogues.


In the Sephardic world as well, new melodies, though similar in tone, pitch and style to the traditional ones, have also entered into the services in some Sephardic synagogues. A great deal of this change is due to the influence of the dramatic change in popular music over the past half century. The "golden oldies" aren't so golden any longer.


Thus to a generation whose ears have been trained to hear the current types of music and melodies, the synagogue service to be meaningful has also had to adapt and change its musical component. It is no secret that synagogues that are sparsely attended on most Sabbaths are filled to overflowing on a "Carlebach Shabat." Demand influences supply and this is true even when synagogue liturgical music is concerned.


And there is no doubt that melody and musical tone and atmosphere enhance the synagogue prayer service and encourage the participation of all those in the synagogue in the fervent recitation of the prayer service itself.


This phenomenon of new music entering the liturgical services of Jewry is not a new one restricted to our times. Rather, it has a long and continuing history. Many of the more popular and traditional Chasidic melodies sung in the courts of the various Chasidic groups during prayer services are melodies borrowed — some adapted and some taken whole cloth — from Napoleon's French army, Russian, Polish, Romanian and Hungarian peasant songs and other varied sources of Eastern European origin.


Becoming part of the liturgical treasure of Jewish prayer has now sanctified these melodies. It seems that music is also fungible and once the melody is out there then anyone can adapt it to one's own particular needs and purposes. The task of the Jewish people in the world is to take the mundane and elevate it spiritually and to convert the seemingly profane into holy vessels.


Our synagogue melodies and music stand as testimony to this effort of ours over the ages.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Berel Wein --- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com Comment by clicking here.


© 2006, Rabbi Berel Wein