Issue 7.1: Music and Spirituality

Music and Spirituality

Editor’s Thoughts

Music is a ubiquitous human experience. In the modern world especially, we are inundated with an endless flow of sounds ranging from the simplistic to the intricate, which elicit a full spectrum of emotional reactions. As Jews, we must ask ourselves how to react to the daily experience of ... Read more →

The Magic of Zemirot

A similar scene has played out in my life hundreds of times.  The setting is sometimes my camp’s dining room, a high school retreat, a seminary Shabbaton, or, more recently, Koch auditorium in Stern.  The people are different, yet the roles that they play are similar.  It is the middle of ... Read more →

Is Teshuva Fair? Two Contemporary Views Regarding the Mechanisms of Repentance

Ever since we were children our teachers have taught us to believe that God will forgive our misdeeds if we perform teshuvah. Year after year we review this cardinal teaching of our faith, so that by the time we have graduated out of the Jewish day school system we practically take it for ... Read more →

Jewish Music for Carnegie Hall

The cliché goes, “Music is a language of the heart.”  As a Yeshiva University music major, I believe this claim as long as we take out the last three words.  To say that music only speaks to the heart is like saying that Torah only speaks to the mind.  Like any other language, music can ... Read more →

Infinite Glue

 “I have five days of music in my iTunes library.” “When do you listen to it?” “In my room to chill out, or while I’m exercising.” “[Clueless Freshman (a.k.a. Me)] Why isn’t there any singing on campus? [Well-adjusted Super Senior]No one has time.” Melody has been a ... Read more →

Music to My Ears: A Scientific Elucidation of Kol Ishah

The interpretation of the prohibition of hearing a female voice has evolved through halakhic discussion. A woman’s voice, as assessed by the Jewish sages, is considered to be attractive and/or sensuous and therefore, the rabbis set up laws to prohibit men from hearing female voices when ... Read more →

Prayer to a Beat

This summer I sat towards the back of a Kabbalat Shabbat service in the Slifka Center at Yale University as an advisor on the Tikvah-Straus High School Summer Program. In front of me stood the opening of a joke: a Roman Catholic, a Lutheran, a Conservative Jew, and an Orthodox Jew following the ... Read more →

An Interview with Cantor Bernard Beer, Head of the Belz School of Jewish Music

Cantor Beer has been on the staff of the Belz School of Music since 1967, and has been the head of the school since 1985. DN: When were you inspired to become a professional hazzan (cantor)? CB: I would say, in a way, I was almost born into it. I lived in Borough Park. In […]

Impressionism and Jewish Art

  I had something I painted from my window in Le Havre: the sun in the fog and in the foreground some masts sticking up. They wanted to know its title for the catalogue; [because] it couldn’t really pass for a view of Le Havre I replied, ‘Use Impression.’ Someone derived ... Read more →