The Lord's Song in a Strange Land

The Lord's Song in a Strange Land : Music and Identity in Contemporary Jewish Worship

3.83 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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Across the United States, Jews come together every week to sing and pray in a wide variety of worship communities. Through this music, made by and for ordinary folk, these worshippers define and re-define their relationship to the continuity of Jewish tradition and the realities of American life. Combining oral history with an analysis of recordings, The Lord's Song in a Strange Land examines this tradition incontemporary Jewish worship and explores the diverse links between the music and both spiritual and cultural identities. Alive with detail, the book focuses on metropolitan Boston and covers the full range of Jewish communities there, from Hasidim to Jewish college students in a transdenominational setting. It documents a remarkably fluid musical tradition, where melodies are often shared, where sources can be as as diverse as Sufi chant, Christmas carols, rock and roll, and Israeli popular music, and where the meaning of a song can change from one block to the next. The Lord's Song in a Strange Land is the first volume in Oxford's new American Musicspheres series. Featuring a CD of field recordings for many of the songs discussed, the book will prove an invaluable guide for a wide range of scholars and students of ethnomusicology and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 218 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 17.78mm | 317.51g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous halftones & music examples
  • 0195161815
  • 9780195161816
  • 1,659,351

Review quote

"Using as a motif the mystical-romantic Sabbath eve hymn, Lechah Dodi, Summit traces the evolution of melodies through five Boston congregations. He deftly guides the reader-musician and layperson alike-through the religious and musical history, explaining the subtle yet powerful interdependence of sociology, theology, and music. The result is a religious and musical feast. Required reading for anyone who ever hopes to sing a hymn." -Lawrence Kushner, Rabbi-in-Residence at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York "The Lord's Song in a Strange Land is ethnomusicology on a grand scale. It is the study of the way Jews negotiate identity through the music they sing. There is no other book quite like it in terms of its comprehensive scope, depth of insight, and attention to both specific details and comprehensive lessons that the details demonstrate. It is, quite simply, at one and the same time, a marvelous survey of synagogue music, synagogue worship, synagogue worshipers, and the state of Jewish identity at the close of the twentieth century, with chapters that combine scholarly acuity, accessible prose and interesting observations intended for general readers as well as specialists. This is necessary reading for rabbis, cantors, synagogue music committees, classes on religious identity, and just plain curious readers who know music matters and want to know why."-Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Professor of Liturgy, Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion "Jeffrey Summit takes insider ethnography home to Boston, exploring Jewish worship across denominational lines and musical boundaries. An eye- and ear-opening exploration of the changing nature of musical tradition in American Jewish life." -Kay Kaufman Shelemay, Harvard University, author of Let Jasmine Rain Down: Song and Remembrance Among Syrian Jews "Lucidly written and argued...impressively reaches out to a number of readerships." -Journal of Religion "Useful to students in general religious as well as musical studies...this work gives an insider's insights and understanding, and a scholar's attention to the world of Jewish diversity." -Notes "Jeffrey Summit's well-researched book on contemporary Jewish worship in America is a superb way of understanding what keeps Jewish communities inspired and motivated."-Elie Wiesel "In his fascinating The Lord's Song in a Strange Land, Jeffrey Summit, rabbi and Hillel director at Tufts University, studies the link betwen music and identity-spiritual and cultural-in five very different metropolitan Boston congregations....Well-written [and] accessible to anyone interested in the role of music in prayer."-Jerusalem Postshow more

About Jeffrey A. Summit

Jeffrey Summit is the Rabbi and Director of the Hillel Foundation at Tufts University, where he also teaches ethnomusicology and Judaic more

Rating details

6 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 33% (2)
4 33% (2)
3 17% (1)
2 17% (1)
1 0% (0)
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