Monday, November 22, 2010

Messianic Judaism in this month's Sh'ma

Have you heard of Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility?  It's a great monthly publication featuring a variety of Jewish voices on one unified theme.

The theme of this month's edition of Sh'ma is sound in Jewish life, and it contains a casual mention of Messianic Judaism on the front page.  From "Funny, You Don't Sound Jewish: Three Stories about Sound":
A few years ago, I was interviewing a Christian songwriter who told me that he had been commissioned to write a song for a Messianic Jewish congregation. He expressed curiosity as to why the congregation’s rabbi seemed to prefer songs in a minor key. I laughed and tried to explain how the terms “lament” and “mourning” (which, for the record, I don’t even believe to be inherent to Jewish prayer) have been woven throughout Jewish liturgy. A preference for the minor keys still seems synonymous with “Jewish music,” despite the fact that Jews have written songs as varied as “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” “Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn” and “I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night (and Party Every Day).”
The author goes on to say that what makes a song Jewish is not "a Jewish songwriter, [minor scales], a clarinet, or a fiddler.  Nevertheless, there is something we can hear as Jewish music."

I think you readers who are involved in music in your communities will appreciate this article, as well as many others in this issue.  I particularly liked the very first story in the article linked above, about speaking Hebrew in your own dialect rather than trying to sound like someone else.  I have found Sh'ma to be a great read...and right now you can subscribe digitally for free.  Have at it, spark gatherers!

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