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Experiencing Jewish Music in America: A Listener's Companion

  • Insitute for Israel and Jewish Studies 1140 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)

Experiencing Jewish Music in America: A Listener's Companion offers insights into an extensive range of musical genres and styles that have been central to the Jewish experience, beginning with the arrival of the first Jewish immigrants in the sixteenth century and the chanting of the Torah, to the sounds of pop today. It lays the groundwork for the listener’s understanding of music in its relation to Jewish studies by exploring the wide range of venues in which this music has appeared, from synagogue to street to stage to screen. Each chapter offers selected case studies where these unique forms of music were—and still can be—heard, seen, and experienced. 

This book gives readers unique insights into the challenges of classifying Jewish music, while it traces its history and development on American soil and outlines “ways of listening” so readers can draw clear connections to Jewish culture. The volume thus brings together American Jewish history, the story of American and Jewish music, and the roles of the individuals important to both. It offers the reader tools to identify, evaluate, and appreciate the musical genres, and reflect the growing interest of the past decade in the academic study of Jewish music. Hear from Tina Frühauf as she shares some of the music that has informed the Jewish experiance in New York. 

Supported by the generosity of the Kaye Family.


Tina Frühauf serves on the faculty at Columbia University and is associate executive editor at Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale in New York. She serves also on the doctoral faculty of The Graduate Center, The City University of New York. An active scholar and writer, Frühauf’s research is centered on music and Jewish studies, especially in religious contexts but also art music, historiography, and Jewish community (through participatory action research), often crossing the methodological boundaries between ethnomusicology and historical musicology.