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Music is the pulse of Jewish spirituality – song charts the biorhythms of the Jewish soul.'

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

Each word or phrase in the bible has a sign to show how it should be sung. There are traditional weekday, Sabbath and Festival modes that are followed. This may be the oldest form of musical notation – and yet it is completely contemporary as it is used in every orthodox synagogue across the world today in a very similar manner. It is constantly being refreshed with new compositions for cantors, service leaders, choirs and congregational singing. The power of Synagogue Music is the potent role that it plays in the act of prayer. Its role is show how to punctuate and interpret the words in a way that is aligned with the mood, character and meaning of the text. It enables participation, vocal, emotional and intellectual. It's about entertainment, about beauty and engaging the worshipper and creating an environment that allows a conduit to be opened in order to reach a place beyond ourselves.  

See links on the right to articles, activities, reviews and pictures of the JMI Synagogue Music Section.

JMI Synagogue Music Section

Set up in 2003, the Mission of the JMI Synagogue Music Section is to raise to the highest standards, the appreciation and practice of Jewish cantorial and choral music, spanning a wide spectrum of Jewish worship.
Consultant, Stephen Glass Director of Music, Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, Montreal

International Advisory Board:
Cantor Naftali Herstik (Jerusalem)

Cantor Joseph Malovany (New York)
Alberto Mizrahi (Chicago)
Cantor Sol Zim (New York)
Cantor Joseph Levine (Philadelphia)
Cantor Josee Wolff (New York)
Cantor Jaclyn Chernett (London)
Victor Tunkel (London)

Cantorial Branch
Alex Klein (Manchester)

Aims of the Cantorial Branch

  1. To encourage a new perception of the value of cantors and the cantorial art
  2. To refresh the repertoire of the cantor for 21st century congregations while being faithful to tradition
  3. To encourage the highest standards of delivery and conduct in cantors and lay prayer leaders
  4. To engage with a younger generation and a wider audience in the music of the synagogue
  5. To encourage and facilitate collaboration between lay leaders, rabbis, cantors, and lay prayer leaders in the music of their synagogue.

Activities to achieve these aims

1. Regular training programmes
2. Seminars and discussions
3. Cantorial concerts with young cantors and varied repertoire
4. The Julian Klein scholarship to send a young cantor to the Tel Aviv Cantors’ Institute for a year
5. Web page expansion to include training and reviews

Everyone will be welcome to participate in the Cantorial Branch activities.

How you can help:
If you believe in these activities, please consider making a bequest to the Barry Weinberg Fund for Jewish Music, or the Julian Klein Memorial Scholarship Fund via the ‘Donate or Pay’ button on the JMI homepage.

Other Cantorial Websites of Interest
The JMI Cantorial Branch collaborates with many organisations and individuals in the UK and abroad for the furtherance of knowledge and appreciation of the cantorial art. JMI recommends several websites that deal with synagogue music. The links below either deal exclusively with cantorial music or also deal with different aspects of Jewish music. (Israel) (Dworkin) (Shor)

last modified: September 28, 2011

Synagogue Music Home


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The Jewish Music Institute is an independent Arts organisation based at SOAS, University of London. It is an international focus bringing the ancient yet contemporary musical culture of the Jews to the mainstream British cultural, academic and social life. Its programmes of education, performance and information highlight many aspects of Jewish music throughout the ages and across the globe for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.