This course offers a wide-angled perspective on the different cultures voiced in Israel through music, presenting an overview of traditional, popular, and art music, and focusing on their role in the formation of Jewish national culture in the Middle East from the end of the 19th century to the present. Jews who immigrated to Palestine from the four corners of the world brought with them a host of diverse musical cultures, many of which had never come in contact with one another before. These diverse worlds of sound developed through the 20th century, sharing common traits, and joining (and clashing) in shaping “Israeliness.” The study of this complex musical universe requires historical, musicological, and anthropological tools. Topics include: the musical cultures of the Jews throughout the Diaspora and their meeting in Palestine with the rise of Zionism; the creation of national musical institutions (orchestras, opera theaters, musical academies, broadcasting stations, festivals, etc.); the multiple encounters between Jews and Arabic music; the role of music in the politics of conflict and peace; the relationship between sounds and history; music connections between Israel and the Diaspora, with particular attention to the San Francisco Bay Area.

(PDF of Syllabus)


1. Encyclopedia Entries & Resources

Grove: “Israel,” “Jewish Music” (Parts I, III:1, IV:1 and V:1 & 2 i-ii) and “Middle East,” in Grove Music Online,

EJ: Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik eds. Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed. 2007: (your starting point in investigating issues in Jewish Studies)

2. Required Books

Hirshberg, Jehoash. Music in the Jewish Community of Palestine 1880-1948. A Social History, Oxford University Press – Clarendon Press, Oxford-New York 1995 ML345.P3 H57 1995

Regev, Motti and Edwin Seroussi. Popular Music and National Culture in Israel, University of California Press, Berkeley 2004, ML3502.I75 R33 2004 (also on Ebrary through OskiCat:

3. Reading Assignments (PDF files on bSpace)

Ariel, Yaakov. “Hasidism in the Age of Aquarius: The House of Love and Prayer in San Francisco, 1967–1977” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, 13/2 (Summer 2003): 139-165

Bohlman, Philip. “Inventing Jewish Music,” in Eliyahu Schleifer and Edwin Seroussi eds. Studies in Honor of Israel Adler, Yuval: Studies of the Jewish Music Research Center, vol. 7, Magnes Press, Jerusalem 2002: 33-74

Brinner, Benjamin. Playing Across a Divide. Israeli-Palestinian Musical Encounters, Oxford University Press, Oxford-New York 2009: Ch. 2 (37-66) & 5 (113-131)

A Festival of Faith: The Musical Legacy of Cantor Reuben Rinder, in Francesco Spagnolo ed. Jewish Digital Narratives of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life:

Fleisher, Robert J. Twenty Israeli Composers: Voices of a Culture, foreword by Shulamit Ran, Wayne State University Press 1997: Chapters 2 (67-78); 12 (209-217); 18 (271-279); 20 (289-299)

Loeffler, James and Joel Rubin eds. Hearing Israel: Music, Culture and History at 60, special issue of Min-Ad. Israel Studies in Musicology Online, 7/2008-2009 II:

Oz, Amos. A Tale of Love and Darkness, London, Chatto & Windus 2004: 1-29

Segev, Tom. One Palestine, Complete. Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate, Metropolitan Books, New York 2000: 202-223; 295-313

Seroussi, Edwin. “Music: The ‘Jew’ of Jewish Studies” Jewish Studies 46/2009: 3-84

4. Sources for Weekly Listening Assignments (mp3 files & PDFs of CD booklets on bSpace)

Ben-Haim, Paul. Piano Music of Paul Ben-Haim (Sonatina 1946, Melody and Variations 1950, Suite no. 1 1933, Suite no. 2 1936, Sonata 1954, Five Pieces 1943), Centaur CRC 2506, 2001

Duo Kol Tof. Darki be-yadai. Camino en mano, kol tof 2003

Fleischer, Tsippi. Oratorio 1492-1992, Vienna Modern Masters VMM 3013, 1992 and Israel at 50: A Celebration with Music of Tsippi Fleischer, Opus One 175 CD, 1999

Flute and Strings from Israel (Serenade / Paul Ben-Haim; Quartet / Menachem Zur; Poem / Ami Maryani; Maqamat / Oedoen Partos), Music in Israel MII-CD-20, 1996

Gadalnu Yachad. Osef hayovel shel yisrael ­­– Israel’s 240 Greatest Songs in Celebration of Its 50th Anniversary, (11 CD’s and Hebrew Booklet) Hed Artzi Music, Acum 15950, 1998

Israeli Violin Concertos (Ben-Haim 1960, Sherif 1986, Zehavi 1998), Living Era 1038, 1998

Kol Oud Tof Trio. Gazelle, Magda Music, MGD037, 2002

Musical Traditions in Israel: Treasures of the National Sound Archives, NSA, Jerusalem 1999 online at

Nights in Canaan – Early Songs of the Land of Israel (1881-1946), ed. Yakov Mazor, Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel no. 13, AMTI CD 9804, 1998 An Invitation to Piyut online at

Qolot meyisrael – Ethnic Voices from Israel: The Melting Pot, NMC, ACUM 20421-2

Sheriff, Noam. Mechaye hametim (Revival of the Dead; Genesis), Signum SIG X110-00, 2000

Sheriff, Noam. Psalms of Jerusalem, Col Legno WWE 1CD 20061, 2000

Titgadal wetitqadash betokh Yerushalaim (Jerusalem in Hebrew Prayer and Song), GEMA 66.21201

World Music from Israel: The Deben Bhattacharya Collection, Fremeaux, CD FA 079, 1998

A Note on Song Lyrics: The course involves listening to songs with Hebrew and Arabic lyrics. However, knowledge of these languages is not a requirement for the class, which focuses on sounds rather than texts. Some English translations are available in the required books (see above, no. 2); other translations are often available on-line at websites such as

Attendance and participation

Attend all lectures, discussion sections and field trips, listen to and read all required materials, fulfill your assignments as scheduled, and participate in the discussions. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the course, a variety of approaches are expected to emerge through class work and individual study. Your focus may be more on traditional, popular or art music, on texts, on the historical or anthropological aspects of the course. Explore additional sources, follow cultural/musical news from Israel online, suggest alternative ideas, be creative.

Reading and Listening

Obtain the required books (and bring them with you to class!), download the required files, make time to go to the Library and to learn how to use its Electronic Resources (connecting from Off Campus as well), and work on the musical sources following the Weekly Listening Assignments made available to you as PDF files. You are expected to be familiar with the readings and musical materials listed as Course requirements (nos. 1 to 4) ahead of each class, thus actively participating in developing the course throughout the Semester. Follow the Reading/Listening and Discussion schedule included in the Syllabus for more details, and refer to the weekly assignments to plan your listening sessions. You are also welcome to look into the additional recommended resources (p. 7 of this Syllabus), and to find more on your own. In doing so, please follow your instinct, your curiosity, your research interests, and do not hesitate to consult with the instructors during and after class.

Assignments and Evaluation

1. Weekly written responses: 1 (one) typed page, based on the weekly reading & listening assignments, must be completed by all students every week by Tuesday morning.

2.  Weekly sections: meet on Wednesdays (10-11 am Morrison 128; 1-2 pm, Morrison 124)

3.  Midterm exam: in class, probably on October 29.

4. Projects may take the form of a class presentation, a performance, or a paper (or a combination of these, all to be approved in advance by the instructors: deadline for submitting your complete proposal is October 17). Class Presentations & Performances will take place after the 10th week, while papers are on the 11th week (November 12). Refer to the following pages for guidelines on completing the assignments, and consult with the instructors about your projects (office hours: Thursday 11:30-1pm & by appointment).

5.  Final exam: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 (3-6pm).

Your final grade will be based on each assignment (30% on weekly written responses, 10% on mid-term, 30% on project/s and 10% on final exam) and on your participation and attendance (20% of final grade; 3 un-excused absences will lower your grade and affect your evaluation).

Discussion and Reading/Listening Schedule

Refer to the Course Requirements (nos. 1-4) to prepare for class according to the following schedule. Listening assignments are in italics. While listening to music files, it is important to read the accompanying notes (available on bSpace). Handouts will be provided in class each week, describing these assignments and indicating the individual tracks required.


Course Topics

Reading/Listening Assignments



Week 1



Mapping the Field: Sources, Resources, Maps and Timelines


Become familiar with course resources; download files from bSpace; write Response #1

Oz: A Tale of Love and Darkness +
choose: Bohlman: Inventing Jewish Music or

Seroussi: Music, the ‘Jew” of Jewish Studies

Week 2


Worlds of Jewish Music, Part I

Sacred/Secular, Art/Popular

– September 10: Global India exhibition tour & Guest Lecture

Researching and reconstructing Jewish Women’s Songs from Kerala (India) in Israel, Barbara Johnson (Ithaca College)

Grove “Jewish Music” (I and III:1);

Musical Traditions in Israel

Week 3


Worlds of Jewish Music, Part II

Musical Exile and the Land of Israel

– September 19: Field Trip #1

*Submit weekly response #1 on September 17

Regev-Seroussi: Intro and 1;

Hirshberg: 1

Titgadal wetitqadash… +  World Music from Israel

Week 4


Creating Popular Music for the “Jewish People”

From Settlement to Statehood: Music and Cultural Politics in Palestine Before 1948

– September 26: Field Trip #2

*Begin planning your Project

Grove “Israel”; Hirshberg 2, 5, 12;

Segev & “Classified Palestine Songs”


Nights in Canaan;

Piano Music of Paul Ben-Haim

Week 5


Creating Art Music for the “Jewish People”

Orientalism Made in (Eastern) Europe

Hirshberg: 9-11; Fleisher: 2 (J. Tal)

Piano Music of Paul Ben-Haim;

Flute and Strings from Israel

Week 6


Popular Music, Armies, and Wars

From Independence to Lebanon (Songs from 1948, 1967, 1973 and 1982)

Regev-Seroussi: 2, 3, 5

Gadalnu Yachad;

World Music from Israel

Week 7


Art Music: Dream & Reality

Operas and orchestras before 1948

– October 15: Guest Lecture
Music and Food in Israeli popular culture, Yahil Zaban (Tel Aviv University & UC Berkeley)

*Submit all project proposals by October 17

Hirshberg 4, 8

Research websites listed in bSpace

Week 8


Art Music, Old Themes

Israeli Composers and Jewish (Musical) History

– October 24: Lecture by Rachel Colwell
Israeli Jews and Djerban (Tunisian) Song

Grove  “Jewish Music” V:1, 2 i & ii) Fleisher: 12 & 20 (T. Fleischer & O. Zehavi)

Sheriff; Israeli Violin Concertos; Israel at 50

Week 9


Integrating the “Other” I: The East

From the Bus Station to the Charts. Jewish Musicians from the Lands of Islam and musiqah mizrachit in Israel

* Midterm is this week!

Grove “Jewish Music” (IV:1); Regev-Seroussi: 9

Gadalnu Yachad

Week 10


Beyond East and West: Musical Encounters

Guest Lectures

1. November 5: Doron Kima, composer

2. November 7: Benjamin Brinner (UC Berkeley), author of Playing Across a Divide. Israeli-Palestinian Musical Encounters

Brinner 2, 5; Loeffler & Rubin (McDonald)

Ethnic Voices from Israel

Week 11


Integrating the “Other” II: The West

From San Remo to Tel Aviv (via Woodstock): Pop, Mediterranean Culture, and America.

*Class presentations/performances begin

*Papers due on November 12

Regev-Seroussi: 6-7

Gadalnu Yachad

Week 12


Music, Israel and the Diaspora: Case Studies

Israeli music and the San Francisco Bay Area: innovators, supporters, critics

– November 21: Guest Lecture
Rabbi Dorothy Richman (Berkeley)

A Festival of Faith: The Musical Legacy of Cantor Reuben Rinder (online narrative) + Ariel, Hasidism in the Age of Aquarius

Week 13


Music, Israel, and the Diaspora: Case Studies

Celebrating Sepharad: Women, Songs, Tradition and Composition

*Happy Thanksgiving! (No class on Nov. 26)

Fleischer: 18 (B. Olivero)

Israel at 50; Oratorio 1492-1992; Duo Kol Tof; Kol Oud Tof Trio

Week 14


Beyond World Music Conflicts

Israel in the Landscape of Contemporary Music

*Last weekly response due on Tuesday 4/17

Regev-Seroussi: Conclusion

Gadalnu Yachad

Week 15


Reading & Recitation Week No assignments due this week
Final Tuesday, December 17, 2013 | 3-6 pm Instructions will be given in class



Guidelines for Class Participation and Assignments

Ensure that you have access to all the required reading and listening materials listed in the syllabus, and that you are familiar with them ahead of class (before Tuesday morning of each week). If you miss class, or if the assignments do not seem clear enough, it is your duty to promptly ask fellow students and/or the instructors for further clarification.

Preparing for class means being familiar with all the assignments for each week. Take notes while you read/listen to music, and use the weekly assignments and the CD notes while you listen to the required musical tracks (all required musical tracks will be available on bSpace). Use the resources offered by the Library (such as Oxford Reference Online) to verify terms and notions that may seem unfamiliar. Some assignments may be easier, while others may prove harder to grasp. Struggling with the learning materials is part of your work for the class. Noting what seems most challenging and sharing it with the class is extremely important. Ask questions in class or in writing. Do not get behind, and if you feel that you are behind, immediately ask for assistance.

Class participation means: attending all classes, being on time, asking questions, submitting written (or other) materials, bringing additional documents/materials/ideas to class (and sharing them with the class and/or the instructors), keeping up with the assignments schedule, keeping in touch with fellow students and assisting them if they are in need.

Weekly written responses. Submit short reports on your assignments to the instructors each week (3rd to 14th week). Limit them to 1 page (print your name/s and date on top of each page!), and reflect on at least one written and one musical source among those assigned. These written responses can be prepared individually, or by pairs of students (chevruta), in the dialoguing tradition of Jewish learning (provided that the responses actually reflect your weekly dialogues).

Projects involve working on a specific topic, carried on by individual students or by small groups (max 3 students). In order to accomplish these projects you need to: select a topic, find fellow students with whom you want to work, and consult with the instructors so that you can submit a proposal (a title and a few written lines, or abstract, due by October 17), and, if you wish, a prompt. All students find different learning paths: consulting with the instructors will help you to focus on your own interests, expand your research tools, and learn how to most effectively manage the resources offered by the syllabus, together with those available at or through the University Library. Projects can consist of papers, class presentations and/or performances. You are required to complete at least one project, or you may want to combine two of them (i.e., a presentation and a short paper). All assignments involve a certain degree of writing, but also draw on other skills. The starting points of these assignments are found more often than not in your syllabus: read it thoroughly! Choose a topic/project that speaks to you, in terms of content as well as the form in which you choose to deliver your work. All projects must be pre-approved by the instructors.

1. Papers are individual projects, and should be 6 to 8 pages long (1500-2000 words). They must have a title (preferably a creative and a descriptive one!), explain the topic of the research, ask clear questions and develop into solid answers. The quality of your writing is extremely important. More than one answer to a question may be offered: do not be afraid to explore alternative views on a single issue. Papers need to be based on both primary (music, lyrics, documents, etc.) and secondary (articles, books, CD notes, etc.) sources. The Internet can be used as a reliable sources only for those websites listed in the syllabus and/or accessible through the “Find Information” page of the UC Berkeley Library’s website. All sources must be listed at the end of the paper, and all quotations from them must be highlighted in your notes.

Papers are due on November 12

2. Presentations (10-15 minutes max.) can be collaborative projects (max 3 students). Like papers, they must have titles, ask questions, and offer answers. Unlike papers, presentations draw on your oratorical skills, and on audio/visual materials. Your presentation must be based on primary and secondary sources (see above), and be very fact-based. Be sure of your sources, and remain open to questions and criticism from the class. Your task is to be effective, and to engage your audience in a fruitful discussion. Presentations must be accompanied by written outlines (at least one page, plus a list of the sources/credits for all the materials presented), to be distributed to the class.

3. Performances (10 minutes max.) can be collaborative projects, and draw on your artistic skills. You can sing, play instruments, sample music, prepare videos, set up theatrical events, read poetry… using the syllabus as a starting point. Performances must also include written materials, such as a title and a short written description (at least one page): use as your model the writing that you find in concert notes or CD liner notes, or the descriptions that accompany plays, videos or movies at festivals presentations (you can find numerous examples in the Library). Just as in the case of papers and presentations (see above), you must list all your sources, and give full credits for any audio/visual materials you use.

Presentations and performances will be scheduled beginning after the 10th week

Additional Readings and Web Resources

The following list presents you with a variety of research paths: music history, musicology, ethnomusicology, anthropology, literature, visual arts, the media. You are welcome to find more on your own by using the Library Catalog ( or through the many offerings of the Library information page ( Refer to these resources while preparing your Projects.

Bohlman, Philip V. and Mark Slobin eds. Music in the Ethnic Communities of Israel, Special Issue of Asian Music 17/2 (1986)

Bohlman, Philip. The Land Where Two Streams Flow: Music and the German-Jewish Community of Israel, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago 1989

Bohlman, Philip. The World Centre for Jewish Music in Palestine 1936-1940, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1992

Carmi T. ed. The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse, 1981

Classical Arabic Music Page

Gradenwitz, Peter. Music and Musicians in Israel: A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Israeli Music, Israeli Music Publications, Tel Aviv 1978


Hirschfeld, Ariel. “Locus and Language: Hebrew Culture in Israel, 1890-1990,” in David Biale ed. Cultures of the Jews. A New History, Schocken Books, New York 2002: 1011-1060

Horowitz, Amy. Mediterranean Israeli Music and the Politics of the Aesthetic, Wayne State University Press, Detroit 2010

Israel Broadcasting Authority

Israel Radio International

Israel Music Institute

Jewish Music Research Center, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem

Keren, Zvi. Contemporary Israeli Music: Its Sources and Stylistic Development, Bar-Ilan University Press, Ramat Gan 1980

Manor, Dalia. “Erotic and Exotic: The Image of the ‘Oriental’ Woman in Israeli Art” Issues in Architecture, Art and Design 5/1 (1997-1998): 64-81

Online Heritage. Recorded treasures of The National Sound Archives:

Perry Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas: Israel Maps:

RAMBI Index of Articles on Jewish Studies

Rubin, Joel. “Rumenishe Shtiklekh: Klezmer Music Among the Hasidim in Contemporary Israel,” Judaism 185 47/1 (Winter 1998): 12-23

Segev, Tom. Elvis in Jerusalem: Post-Zionism and the Americanization of Israel, Metropolitan Books, New York 2002

Shaham, Nathan. The Rosendorf Quartet : A Novel, Eng. transl. New York 1991

Shiloah, Amnon and Erik Cohen. “The Dynamics of Change in Jewish Oriental Ethnic Music in Israel” Ethnomusicology 27/2 (1983): 227-251 [available online]

The Arabic Music Page

The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Report

The Jewish Music Web Center

Tischler, Alice. A Descriptive Bibliography of Art Music by Israeli Composers, Harmonie Park Press, Warren, Mich. 1988

Touma, Habib Hassan. The Music of the Arabs, Amadeus Press, Portland, Or. 1996

Yedioth Ahronoth