Shabbat Around the World

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2 Shabbat Around the World Featuring: Alani Sugar (violin/guitar), Howard Katz (cello), Doris Sugar (piano), David Madoff (flute/claves) and Russ Kaufman (percussion) and Beth Israel Youth Chorus Cuando el Rey Nimrod/ Shalom Alechem Psalms 95 & 96 Yismechu Psalm 98 ( Zamru) Psalm 99 ( Mizmor L David) L cha Dodi 1 L cha Dodi 2 Tzadik Katamar Mi Chamocha V shamru Siyahamba Traditional Ladino ( Spain) Bendigamos al Altisimo (Spain/France/ Curacao) folk melody arr. Janowski ( Eastern Europe) Suki Berry ( Argentina) Yoel Sykes ( Israel) Abayudaya, arr. Rosenszweig ( Uganda) Italian, arr. Glaser (Italy) Lewandowski ( Germany) Yoducha Rayonai ( Turkey) Los Bilbilicos (Spain/portugal) Zulu, arr. Zilberman (Africa)

3 Shabbat Around the World Background Tonight s service features music from and inspired by Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities around the world. Ashkenazi originally referred to Jews who settled along the Rhine River in Western Germany and Northern France while Sephardi originally referred to the Jewish communities of Sefarad, namely the Iberian Peninsula. Over time, the term Sephardi expanded to include communities of Morocco, Turkey, Iraq, Africa and many others. Today, the term Sephardic music has come to include essentially everything that is not Ashkenazi in origin. Where does the music come from? Throughout history, Jews have lived in communities dispersed throughout the world and Jewish music was shaped by the countries and cultures in which we lived. Sometimes, the melodies of secular songs were set to prayer texts as in the case of V Shamru, a Shabbat text set to the melody of a popular Ladino folksong, Los Bilbilicos. Other times, music was written in a certain style and with a specific text in mind, like Lewandowski s Tzadik Katamar. How old are these melodies? This question is a difficult one to answer. The primary reason is that the music of Jewish communities was generally not written down until the late 19th and early 20th century. Jews did not formally study the notation of music in great numbers like their non-jewish counterparts and instead relied on an oral tradition to transmit music from one generation to the next. This is especially true in Sephardic communities that relied heavily on oral tradition. One notable exception is Salamone Rossi, an Italian Jewish composer in the 16th century. Rossi composed many choral settings of Jewish music and his music is still frequently performed today. By the beginning of the 19th century, Jews were starting to make their way into the formal music conservatories of Europe. Louis Lewandowski was one such composer, who began his formal music studies in 1833 at the age of 12. Lewandowski, the first Jew admitted to the school, studied voice, piano and later composition at the Berlin Academy. Upon graduation, he was appointed choirmaster of the Berlin synagogue and later the Neue Synagogue. During his tenure as music director, Lewandowski composed masterful arrangements of prayer texts for cantor, choir and organ. Many of his compositions are still sung today in synagogues around the world.

4 About the Music Psalms 95 and 96: Bendigamos al Altísimo Bendigamos is a text sung after meals in Spanish and Portuguese communities because its meaning is similar to that of Birkat Hamazon. It is written in modern Spanish and it s melody is used for many texts including the Song of the Sea. I first encountered this melody at B nei Jeshurun in Manhattan, where it is used to sing the psalms of Kabbalat Shabbat. It probably originated with Spanish-speaking Jews of Bordeaux, where is it now sung in French. From France, it likely traveled to Curacao in the mid 19th century. From there it may have traveled to Amsterdam and New York. Alternatively, the song may have originated with Sephardic Jews in Spain in the 15th century as a secret way to say Birkat Hamazon after Jewish practice in Spain was forbidden. Lecha Dodi: The Jews of Abayudaya The Abayudaya ( Lugandan for People of Judah ) are a Jewish community of approximately 1,000 people in Eastern Uganda near the town of Mbale. Today the community is home to several synagogues and Jewish schools. When I mentioned that tonight s program would feature music from the Abayudaya, I learned that a member of their community recently came to visit Beth Israel and to share the story of the Abayudaya with our community. Lecha Dodi II: The Jews of Italy Jewish presence in Italy spans more than 2000 years, despite many periods of persecution and expulsion. During the Spanish Inquisition, many Jews found refuge in Italy under the rule of King Ferdinand I of Naples, but less than 100 years later, the Jews of Rome and Venice, were confined to Jewish ghettos. Jews experienced a brief respite from persecution under the reign of Napoleon and an uneasy existence until Italy s entrance into WWII in Jews were interned in Italian concentration camps and later deported to death camps in An estimated 7,500 Italian Jews perished in the Holocaust and today the Jewish population of Italy is approximately 43,000. Tzadik Katamar: Louis Lewndowski and the Jews of Germany Jews have a long and difficult history in Germany. The earliest Jewish communities settled in Germany in the 5th century, but they faced constant persecution. Louis Lewandowski ( ), was born in Wreschen ( today Poland) and at the age of 12, left his family to move to Berlin. His musicality was quickly discovered, and he became musical assistant to Cantor Ascher Lion. Through his natural talent and introduction to the Mendelssohn family, Lewandowski became the first Jew to attend the Berlin Academy of the Arts. In 1840, he became choirmaster for the Berlin Jewish community where he composed beautiful, controversial prayer music for cantor, choir and organ including Tzadik Katamar. His life contributions are celebrated each year in Potsdam at the Louis Lewandowski Festival.

5 Mi Chamocha: Yoducha Rayonai and the Jews of Turkey The melody for Mi Chamocha was originally composed for Yoducha Rayonai, a poem written by R. Israel Najara (16th century, Tzfat). This melody is emblematic of Turkish Jewish music, and would likely be accompanied by oud ( fretless string instrument), and Darbuka ( Middle Eastern drum), rather than piano or other western instruments. Jews have lived in Turkey for over 2,000 years, although the bulk of Ottoman Jews arrived from Spain after the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition. Today, most Turkish Jews live in Israel and about 18,000 remain in Turkey. The majority of Jews in Turkey live in Istanbul, home to the Neve Shalom Synagogue, the largest Sephardic synagogue in Istanbul. V shamru: La Rosa Enflorese (Los Bilbilicos) and the Jews of Spain This melody for V shamru comes from La Rosa Enflorese (Los Bilbilicos), a ladino folksong where the singer speaks of nightingales singing longingly for their mates, an apt metaphor for our relationship to God as expressed through our observance of Shabbat. Jews have lived in Spain ( Sefarad in Hebrew), since Roman times, although they experienced many periods of great persecution. Those that remained in Spain through these periods of persecution, experienced success and freedom under Arab rule in the 12th century. However, in the 13th century, power began to shift to Catholic rulers culminating in the Spanish inquisition and expulsion of Jews and Arabs from Spain. Jews took their music with them to places like Algeria, Albania and Morocco in the form of Sephardic songs, poetry and liturgical chant. Some even believe that the modern Spanish guitar is a descendant of the oud, commonly heard in middle eastern music. Siyahamba: The Jews of South Africa Although the story of Jews in South Africa begins in the 1500s with the Portuguese Inquisition, Jews did not arrive in great numbers until the 1800s. The first congregation of South Africa was founded in the mid 1800s in Cape Town and the Jewish population of South Africa continued to grow until it reached its peak in the 1970s. Today, South Africa is home to approximately 70,000 Jews, the majority of whom live in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Siyahamba originated in South Africa, likely as a Zulu folk song. It s title means we are walking in the Zulu language. It has since appeared in worship services of many faiths as well as in many secular and educational settings. I first encountered this song during a song session with singer and story teller, Nick Page and later at a Shabbaba 92Y training at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan led by Karina Zilberman. The song also appears on Karina s album, Shabbabaland.

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