Prayer Leader Summer Institute: Class Descriptions
Three Festivals Liturgy
Rabbi Dr. Debra Reed Blank
This course is devoted to some of the liturgies unique to the Three Festivals, such as the fourth b'rakhah of the festival Amidah and certain piyyutim. We will also study some other units of the festival liturgy that are not unique to it, such as Torah reading, Hallel and Yizkor. For each unit, we will use three approaches. The first is historical, looking at chronological development. Secondly, we will observe literary features, such as structure, theme and use of language. Finally, we will consider the theological message. Each of these approaches (or a combination of them) can be further explored in the student's written work.
Three Festivals Nusach
Cantor Brian J. Mayer
Cantor Becky Wexler Khitrik
Students learn musical modes for Ashkenazic prayer chant and analyze their structural elements. Students then learn the specific motivic content for leading Festival services within the Ashkenazic tradition. In practicum sessions, emphasis is on modal and motivic improvisation within the established framework of Nusach Ashkenaz. Students also learn appropriate congregational melodies for the Festival services.
Cantillation (Trope) for High Holidays
Cantor Vera Broekhuysen
In this course, we will study and practice common Ashkenazi melodies for the ta’amei hamikra (trope signs) used in chanting from the Torah on the High Holy Days. We will also discuss the history, performance practice, and texts of the High Holidays. Each student will prepare to chant one High Holiday aliyah from the Torah readings for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, from punctuated text, as their final assignment. Students will prepare and share a short drash (sermonette or discussion) on each of their assigned texts. Emphasis of the class will be on achieving fluency with the melodies, chanting accurately and with good pronunciation, and demonstrating textual understanding when chanting.
Proficiency in reading Biblical Hebrew.
Ability to learn melodies quickly – students will be asked to learn the trope melodies at home, before each class, and we will spend our class time practicing and applying them to texts. Recordings of the trope melodies that we’ll use are available at https://www.chantingthehebrewbible.com/listen, for those who wish to study them before the start of the course (highly recommended).
Fluency in sight-reading trope from punctuated texts of Torah. Students do not need to already have the Jacobson melodies for the trope systems we study memorized, but they must be comfortable naming and identifying the different te’amim by sight.
Cantor Vera Broekhuysen
In this course, we will study and practice common Ashkenazi melodies for the ta’amei hamikra (trope signs) used in chanting from the Haftarah. We will also discuss the history, performance practice, and texts of the Haftarot. Each student will prepare to chant one Haftarah reading as their final assignment. Students will prepare and share a short drash (sermonette or discussion) on each of their assigned texts. Emphasis of the class will be on achieving fluency with the melodies, chanting accurately and with good pronunciation, and demonstrating textual understanding when chanting.
Prerequisites: Same as Cantillation for High Holidays; see above
Required texts and materials:
Jacobson, Joshua. Chanting the Hebrew Bible (Student Edition), Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia: 2005
Keshet Te’amim Flashcards, personal use size
Pedagogy of Music: Facilitating Tefillah
Cantor Ken Richmond
This course can be taken as a follow-up to Teaching Tefillah or can stand on its own. We'll focus on our relationship with prayer, study texts about tefillah, and explore our role as a shaliach tsibur. We'll experiment with leading various modalities of prayer and with teaching about tefillah within the context of a service.
Singing Communities Workshop
The workshop will consist of three sessions:
Accompanied Repertoire for High Holidays
Cantor Marcie Jonas, Cantor Michael McCloskey
Students learn cantorial and congregational repertoire for High Holiday services that involves instrumental accompaniment, primarily keyboard and guitar.
Jewish World Music -- Iraq and Yemen
Cantor George Mordecai and Zafer Tawil
In the morning session, Cantor Mordecai will reflect on his personal and familial journey through Baghdad and Burma to Australia and the US, to bring forth a model of the transmission of Middle Eastern Piyyut. Repertoire will include music and liturgy from Iraq and Yemen, taught in collaboration with Zafer Tawil.
In the evening, Cantor Mordecai and Zafer Tawil will be joined by Mitch Gordon and Hankus Netsky to present "A Journey of Jewish Music: From Baghdad to Boston." Join them on a journey of Jewish music from family roots in India and Iraq, through Australia and into North America.
Jewish World Music -- India
Morning session will introduce students to Jewish rhythms from Baghdad to India, including “Jewish Calcutta through Music and Memory," “The Jews of Iraq: Antiquity, Inheritance and Escape,” and a Baghdadi-Indian Torah service. The afternoon sessions will examine "Seder Hodu: Passover, Rosh Hashanah and other Holiday Traditions and Melodies," and "From Shipwrecks to Maharajas: The Jews of Bombay and Cochin."
Jewish World Music -- Spain, Argentina and Ladino Influences
Joel Bresler , Cantor Elias Rosemberg, Lisle Kulbach
The morning session will cover "Sephardic Music on Record: A Century of Commercial Recordings," a presentation by researcher, collector, and discographer Joel Bresler. Mr. Bresler will cover the entire range of recorded Sephardic music, from the early 20th century to the present. For attendees looking to expand their Sephardic liturgical repertoire, sources will be provided for written and recorded Sephardic repertoire, and numerous examples will be played during the session.
In the early afternoon session, Cantor Rosemberg will focus on “Jewish Communities in Argentina and South America: History and Sounds.”
In the late afternoon session, Lisle Kulbach will explore the rich Ladino musical tradition. Participants will sing a variety of songs in Judeo-Español, (a form of Renaissance Spanish), from the Sephardic tradition, a tradition that has been carried down orally for hundreds of years. Discussion will include the history of the Sephardim, the style of the music, and how the style of the music is different in the various countries in which the Sephardim have settled. Along with the Jewish tradition, the Sephardic culture also carried the Spanish oral tradition, another fascinating aspect of Sephardic music that will be explored. Written music will be provided.
Jewish World Music -- Eastern Europe
An introduction to the various Jewish musical traditions that flourished in Eastern Europe and the Americas including folk, theatre, Hassidic, cantorial, and klezmer.
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