Only a few seats remain for free Embodied Judaism symposium, “The Sound of Ecstasy,” taking place this Thursday.

Limited Space for CU’s Embodied Judaism Symposium

CU Jewish Studies 3x2The Embodied Judaism symposium, “The Sound of Ecstasy,” taking place this Thursday, October 17 from 4:15-6:30PM on the CU-Boulder campus is unlike most traditional academic gatherings! This inaugural project, which includes a symposium and exhibit, highlights the life and work of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and the collection housed within CU’s Post-Holocaust American Judaism Archive.  Bringing together scholars, musicians and religious practitioners, this symposium will focus on the role music plays in Judaism and specifically the contributions of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in using music to awaken the spiritual.

Dr. Jeffrey Summit, an ethnomusicologist and Rabbi from Tufts University, and Dr. Yonatan Malin, a music theorist from the CU’s College of Music, will present ethnographic and interpretive perspectives on the music in Judaism. Musician and CU Hebrew Lecturer Eyal Rivlin, Cantor Michelle Wolf, and Joe Lukasik will accompany the presenters. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and his wife, Eve Ilsen, will open the event.

With stories and musical examples, Summit will examine the role of music in spiritual experience and address the question: “Why do Jews feel so strongly about the music in their Jewish lives?” When women and men speak about music in Jewish worship, within minutes they are talking about deep spiritual questions: What tunes and chants represent the essence of who they are and what they believe as Jews? What music constitutes authentic practice?

Professor and Rabbi Jeffrey Summit
Professor and Rabbi Jeffrey Summit

Rabbi Jeffrey A. Summit, Ph.D. is Research Professor in the Department of Music and in the Judaic Studies program at Tufts University. His research focuses on music and religious experience in the contemporary Jewish community in the United States. He is the author of The Lord’s Song in a Strange Land: Music and Identity in Contemporary Jewish Worship. He is currently writing on the meaning and experience of the performance of biblical chant in North America. Rabbi Summit has also recorded, compiled and annotated a CD for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings entitled Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda, which was nominated for a GRAMMY Award. His new CD, Delicious Peace: Coffee, Music and Interfaith Harmony in Uganda presents the music of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim coffee farmers of the Delicious Peace Fair Trade Coffee Cooperative in Mbale, Uganda.

Professor Yonatan Malin
Professor Yonatan Malin

Malin will present a narrative analysis of one song from Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi’s Galician heritage, “Menuhah V’Simha” (Rest and Joy). The analysis will be dynamic and musical, with audience participation, in order to touch on both the “outer form” and “inner soul” of the song in a Jewish context. Malin’s work introduces a new paradigm for the study of Jewish music, which to date has largely been focused on documenting tradition and maintaining authenticity. New meanings emerge with attention and intention (kavanah), as in Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi’s teachings and the Jewish Renewal movement more broadly.

Yonatan Malin, Ph.D.,  is an Associate Professor in the College of Music at CU Boulder. He teaches courses in music theory and analysis, and he is author of Songs in Motion: Rhythm and Meter in the German Lied. His current research includes analytical studies of music and text in Jewish liturgical music. Professor Malin is also editor of Music Theory Online, a journal of the Society for Music Theory.

Only a few seats remain for this very special and unique event!  Free and open to the public but RSVPs are required and the event location will be advised with RSVP confirmation.  Please email or call the Program in Jewish Studies at 303-492-7143. The event begins with a light reception at 4:15PM.  The symposium begins promptly at 4:45PM.  Attendees will be offered the opportunity for guided tours of the exhibit, “Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and the Origins of Post-Holocaust American Judaism,” after the symposium.

This series is presented by CU’s Program in Jewish Studies, the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries Archives and Special Collections, the Department of Religious Studies and the College of Music. Additional details available at


About Jamie Polliard

Assistant Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder

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