Academy for Jewish Religion, California - Clergy & Alumni Association

Position: Cantor Educator

Thesis Title:
An Examination of the Therapeutic Qualities of Music
And The Jewish Communal Worship Experience of Comfort and Healing (2016)

Why does music have this power to evoke such deep emotions? How do different melodies signify distinct events in the Jewish ritual calendar? What inner rhythm does the human body and soul beat to every day? Why do the opening notes of Kol Nidre chanted by the cantor bring worshipers to the memory of sitting in the synagogue on Yom Kippur night? Music and melody have the power to sooth, offend, create nostalgia, irritate, calm, energize…and heal. How can something that seems so intangible have the ability to affect our lives so deeply?

Before we are born, the rhythm of life has been set in motion. From our time in the womb, music, vibration, and pulse serve a vital purpose in our development. Many scholarly works explore this power of music. The practice of music therapy has grown within the recent decades and continues to evolve according to new discoveries and the patients’ needs. Music therapists have been called to the bedside of patents with an array of different ailment, some similar to those of Saul in the passage above. Other practitioners of music therapy, including but not limited to teachers, clergy, chaplains, and even parents have documented the effects that music has on those who need healing. In the following pages we will explore many different ways that music influences our lives, and the healing power of music and its use in communal settings will be explored.

Email: Ltash925@gmail.com

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