What Can Jewish Music Do?

Nancy Abramson
By :  Nancy Abramson Former Director of H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music. JTS Posted On Apr 13, 2018 / 5778 | Speaking of Text: The Jewish Bookshelf | Prayer

The Torah of Music by Joey Weisenberg (Hadar Press, 2017)

Music allows us to navigate through the loudness, to find the silence. Music organizes the loud sounds so that we can recognize the power of the quiet, acting as an intermediary between God’s loud, external “persona” and the quiet, holy, inner being where truth is found. Music hangs in the subtle balance between sound and silence. It is music that tunes up our beings, that tunes up the entire world, to allow for an interchange between the soft, inner and the loud, outer manifestations of truth.

Joey Weisenberg, a musician, prayer leader, teacher, and author based in Philadelphia, has collected 180 texts from the Jewish musical-spiritual imagination, and reflects on those texts in this new, inspiring book. The work is part concordance, part musings from Joey’s life as a musician and keen observer of Jewish communities around the world. A frequent and beloved guest teacher at JTS, Joey is the creative director of Hadar Institute’s Rising Song Institute, and the composer of niggunim, wordless melodies that have become popular internationally.

The Torah of Music opens us to the transformative power of music to lift us up, to inspire us, and to help us express what words alone cannot. Joey teaches us that singing is not only about singing, it is about listening—to each other, to the sounds around us, to the silence. He shows us how to view the universal power of music through the lens of Jewish text, and how to discover the intersection of infinite song and infinite Torah.