Conference: Hallel v’Zimra: Jewish Liturgical Music, Present and Future
This coming March the Mordecai Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood, together with the University of Chicago, will be putting on a Hallel V'zimra, a large scale conference centered on Jewish music and liturgy. Over the span of 4 days, including a Shabbaton on March 8th and 9th, followed by the conference itself on the 10th and 11th, we will hear from the world's greatest scholars and practitioners and explore deeply the questions each of us face as we craft musical worship in our communities and congregations. For this conference to succeed, we need you - the membership of the ACC - to share your voices, your experiences, and your knowledge. I invite you to read through this Call for Proposals and find yourself in its pages. This is not a typical academic conference that privileges people with PhDs. It is, by design, a space where practitioners from all denominations and musical styles can gather to learn with and from each other in partnership with incredible scholars. So - take a look and think about what you have to share. Maybe bring a few friends together and make a proposal as a group. Perhaps you could reach out to other cantors and sh'lichei tzibur in your community outside of the ACC. The conference committee is excited to see all of the proposals you will submit!
Personally, I am so excited to welcome you to Chicago in March both as a part of the ACC professional development team, and as the local cantor hosting this event. The best part of the cantorate is, of course, the cantors, and I look forward to gathering together with you as we share the best of our combined skill and knowledge at Hallel V'zimra: Jewish Liturgical Music, Present+Future.
Cantor David Berger
The Mordecai M. Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood, The University of Chicago Divinity School, and Indiana University are pleased to announce the conference, "Hallel v’Zimra: Jewish Liturgical Music, Present and Future," to be held at The University of Chicago on Sunday and Monday, March 10-11, 2019.
Music and liturgy hold a rich and often complex relationship in Jewish life.
Each seeks to reflect the values and needs of contemporary Jewish religious communities. Each relies on the other to deepen its own connection to ideas of tradition. Each has developed its own specialists and fields of study. And each stands at the center of debates about enriching the Jewish present and preserving the Jewish future.
Music faces its own set of opportunities and challenges in this relationship as an active mediator of prayer, a source of emotional connection, and a reflection of community. The music we choose for prayer, and the reasons for choosing it, can reflect different priorities, stages of life, schools of thought, and ideas about community.
This conference will bring together scholars, cantors, and other prayer leaders and musicians who explore and/or perform Jewish liturgical music, combining academic inquiry with professional and personal experience.
Formats can include panel discussions, demonstrations, workshops, and different types of break-out sessions. We will focus on North America and Israel, and on the musical “conversations” that take place (or might productively take place) between them.
We are seeking papers and/or workshop proposals on, but not limited to, the following topics:
• How can we frame the relationship of music to liturgy and ritual?
• How does music define the boundaries of liturgy, and conversely, how does liturgy define the boundaries of what we can call music?
• What do we exclude when discussing Jewish liturgical music?
• Many congregations are experimenting by adding instrumental music, or using non-traditional musical forms or styles, in the hope that this will make worship more compelling, impactful, and attractive. Are such experiments succeeding? What criteria should we apply in evaluating the success or failure of these experiments?
• How can we move between models of diverse Jewish liturgical musical practice and claims of Jewish liturgical music “tradition”?
• What new methods can we use for collecting and analyzing data regarding, and thinking about, contemporary liturgical music?
Formal academic papers are not required. Proposals should be rich in content but accessible to a lay audience. Interested scholars should submit a 400-word abstract and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 15, 2018.
Presenters will receive a modest honorarium and will have their travel costs covered and lodging provided. For additional information, please contact Dan Cedarbaum (email@example.com).