Two approaches to be discussed in class this week.
First, the “linguistic model” (a tree…):
Then, a “mind map”:
And, finally, a visual approach to Jewish liturgical diversity that combines both models:
If it all seems cryptic, it’s because–at least in my view–it has a lot to do with labyrinths…
Where we discuss how questioning the sources of freedom is as radical an act as it was 2k years ago (give or take).
This Fall Semester Jewish Nightlife will return to UC Berkeley, and feature weekly workshops with the internationally acclaimed artist, Victoria Hanna (Jerusalem). The course will include history, performance, ethnographic fieldwork, and an in-depth study of Jewish protective amulets from The Magnes Collection.
Find out how to register here (for Jewish Studies) and here (for Music).
Stay tuned for more information, but in the meantime, enjoy Victoria Hanna’s video, 22 Letters…
…and read & download the course flyer:
Almost all abstracts/proposals for this semester’s research papers are in (as planned according to the course syllabus). As it is often the case when empowering students to select research topics according to their interests and strengths, the variety of the subjects that will be researched by the class is stunning.
From the aesthetics of 18th-century Kabbalistic musical rituals to the development of synagogue music in South India, from the cultural origins of Israeli secular shirah be-tzibur (communal singing) in nocturnal liturgies to the roles of women in the synagogue, from comparative fieldwork in UC Berkeley Jewish and Catholic student religious gatherings to the study of (religious) nightlife in Israel, Korea, and Las Vegas, our semester seems to be producing a lot of original thinking.
In the midst of this diversity, however, are some core and consistent disciplinary approaches. As outlined since the beginning of the semester, the study of (Jewish) nightlife is necessarily a multi-disciplinary endeavor, and the approaches adopted by the students in the class seems to confirm just that. (Phew!).
Below is a graph the summarizes the disciplinary trends expressed in the abstracts submitted this week:
There are seven groups of papers, listed in order of magnitude:
- Religious studies and ethnomusicology (liturgy and piyyut)
- Area studies (Jewish communities in the global diaspora)
- Musicology (Jews and popular music in America and beyond)
- Musicology (Jews and art music in the synagogue, 18th-20th centuries)
- Comparative studies (ritual and nightlife in Jewish and non-Jewish communities)
- Gender studies (women in Jewish ritual)
- Intellectual history
Now, I guess we will have to wait for the papers to flow in to see the results of this semester’s work. Looking forward…
Kol berue ma’ala umatah (“All creatures above and below” [in Heaven and on Earth])
Bakkashah with acrostic “shelomoh” (Solomon)
Attributed to Solomon ibn Gabirol (Malaga-Valencia, 11th centurty CE)
On bakkashot see Idelsohn p. 157
Publication history (selection) based on Davidson’s Thesaurus
Otzar hatefilot, Vilnius 1914
Arba’h ta’aniyot, Constantinople 1780
Bet av, Livorno 1877
Bet habechirah, Livorno 1880
Bet ya’aqov, Tunis 1898
Bakkashot yerushalayim, Jerusalem 1913
Bakkashot rash”ad, Ms. Bodleian Library (Oxford)
Zavche shlemim, Constantinople 1728
Z”Y Izmir, Smirne 1766
Yigal, Jerusalem 1885
Yiztchaq yeranen, Jerusalem 1855
apa, Mezhirov (Ukraine) 1793
Liqute zvi hachadash, Warsaw 1879
M. Argil 1, Livorno 1878
M. Tunis 1, Livorno 1861
Machzor Elohei Ya’aqov, Jerusalem 1908
Meshat Binyamin, Jerusalem 1909 (Persian)
Mishmeret hachadash, Baghdad 1908
Sidur ya’avatz (Italy), Altona (Germany) 1731
Sidur tefilah, Mantua 1676
In class, we discussed how the publication history of a piyyut can be researched, and how it points to the following directions:
– Social history: impact of a liturgical poem on a given community, or on a network of communities across the global Jewish diaspora
– Intellectual history: the intellectual debates involved in the creation and diffusion of a piyyut, and the spiritual dimensions involved in its textual and musical meanings
– A “history of feelings” (in the nexus between text and music)
We discussed all of this around the fact that the class is learning and rehearsing the poem illustrated above.
As we move into Week 6 of Jewish Nightlife, it’s time to take a look at how cultural historians understand the “rise” of nightlife in the Modern Era.
Here’s a link to an article in the BBC News Magazine:
Check out this reference:
In his new book, Evening’s Empire, historian Craig Koslofsky puts forward an account of how this happened.
“Associations with night before the 17th Century were not good,” he says. The night was a place populated by people of disrepute – criminals, prostitutes and drunks.
“Even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night.”
That changed in the wake of the Reformation and the counter-Reformation. Protestants and Catholics became accustomed to holding secret services at night, during periods of persecution. If earlier the night had belonged to reprobates, now respectable people became accustomed to exploiting the hours of darkness.
This trend migrated to the social sphere too, but only for those who could afford to live by candlelight. With the advent of street lighting, however, socialising at night began to filter down through the classes.
In 1667, Paris became the first city in the world to light its streets, using wax candles in glass lamps. It was followed by Lille in the same year and Amsterdam two years later, where a much more efficient oil-powered lamp was developed.
As we had discussed previously, and continue to explore during the coming weeks, the history of “Jewish nightlife” begins in the 16th century. It’s associations are with the prohibited, the mysterious, and especially the mystical. Through the influence of Jewish mysticism (often referred to as “Kabbalah”), new rituals were created, and existing night-time rituals acquired new meaning and significance.
It goes without saying that you can take a look at Evening’s Empire in our University Library.