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How the High Holy Days Sounded 100 Years Ago

Curated by Hankus Netsky

Ever wonder whether your high holiday experience sounds like the one your grandparents had? Courtesy of the internet, we can revisit some of the great High Holiday moments of the twentieth century, experiencing the passion and urgency of the classic Eastern European Jewish prayer tradition. 
 
For Jewish congregations, the High Holidays are a time of reflection and renewal — and for the cantors and lay leaders who lead the services, they have traditionally provided the perfect opportunities to show their range. The poetry and high-stakes drama of the High Holiday liturgy become unique opportunities for breathtaking and original musical expression.  

How did you feel while listening to these musical renditions? 
Why don’t we hear music like this on the High Holidays anymore? What might happen if we did? 
 
About the curator 
A multi-instrumentalist, composer, and ethnomusicologist, Hankus Netsky is co-chair of New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department and founder and director of the Klezmer Conservatory Band. He has composed extensively for film, theater, and television. 
 

With thanks to our friends at the Jewish Arts Collaborative, Boston, MA