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Growing Jewish Musical Mould

Daniel FreelanderFilmed at Limmud Conference 2013

Jews love familiar melodies, even after they grow mouldy. We get stuck and resist being open to different approaches that can sometimes move us forward. Jewish music is merely a ‘cover’, a ‘midrash’ on a Jewish text. New music creates new mould on our sacred textual ‘host’. Hopefully, the new musical midrash interprets the text, creates understanding, inspires deeper meaning. Sometimes, the new mould smells badly. Sometimes it is remarkable. But we need to be open to the new, lest our musical interpretations of our tradition become stale and rotten.

Daniel Freelander is senior vice-president of North America’s Union for Reform Judaism. He lectures on synagogue trends, and served as director of NFTY youth movement. For 25 years, he has directed the North American Jewish Choral Festival, and with Jeff Klepper, composes and performs ‘American Nusach’ melodies.

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