It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of the year already…

This week, we wrap up the semester with a surprise guest, some concluding presentations by students, and an Israeli Folk Dance Workshop taught by students.

On Tuesday, we will hear several presentations focusing on popular music, from rock to songs that reflect the history of Israel’s military conflicts. We will also spend some time preparing for the upcoming final examination (aka, the “unfinal”).

On Thursday, our “Skype guest” will be dr. Edwin Seroussi, professor of musicology and director of the Jewish Music Research Center at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a leading authority on Jewish music and on music in Israel, and the co-author of one of the textbooks we read this semester. He was also a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley in 2010, when he taught a course on the Intersection of Judaism and Islam in Music.  Edwin’s appearance in class is an excellent way to summarize what we have learned thus far, and to chart how the conversation could develop further. (Hint: also, an excellent way to prepare for the unfinal).

Our concluding act will be a student-led workshop devoted to Israeli folk dances (riqudey ‘am), one of the keystones of national culture in Israel. Since during the semester we’ve often been practicing the rather unforgiving (but oh, so rewarding) task of listening to songs’ music and not to their lyrics, it only seems fit to introduce dance without music. See how folk dances are portrayed in historical film footage taken in the street of Haifa in the 1950’s (from the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive of The Hebrew University).

[youtube http://youtu.be/dlm5N57u4fY]

P.S.: Edwin Seroussi is not the surprise guest (or, at least, not the only one) this week…

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