Mark L. Kligman, Ph.D., M.A

Contact Information

(212) 824-2246
Professor of Jewish Musicology

HUC-JIR/New York

Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, New York
Academic Field: 
Sacred music

Mark Kligman, Ph.D., is Professor of Jewish Musicology at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York where he teaches in the School of Sacred Music. He is the Academic Chair of the Jewish Music Forum and co-editor of Musica Judaica.

His main area of expertise is the liturgical music of Middle Eastern Jewish communities. Working primarily in the discipline of ethnomusicology he explores the rich interconnection of music and cultural life in Mediterranean contexts. His book Maqam and Liturgy: Ritual, Music, and Aesthetics of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn, Wayne State University Press (2009) received the Jordan Schnitzer Notable Selection award in the category of Jewry and the Arts from the Association for Jewish Studies.

Educated at the University of Michigan and New York University, he earned his doctorate at NYU in 1997. Dr. Kligman specializes in the liturgical traditions of Middle Eastern Jewish communities and has published several articles on the liturgy of Syrian Jews. His work also extends to historical trends in the liturgical music of Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions.

Dr. Kligman is a frequently requested speaker and teacher at universities and congregations throughout the United States. He has taught courses at Columbia University, Pennsylvania University and Rutgers University. He is an active teacher at adult education programs and has taught at programs at University of California at Santa Cruz, Brandeis University and Florida Atlantic University. In the Spring of 2001 he was a Research Fellow & Visiting Professor at the Center for Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, where he pursued research on contemporary trends in Jewish music.

Mark Kligman is the Sephardi/Mizrahi section head for the Association for Jewish Studies where he actively promotes the Sephardi/Mizrahi studies and its integration into Jewish studies. He is the academic chair of the Jewish Music Forum, which provides academic seminars on Jewish music topics at the Center for Jewish History in New York and at universities throughout the country. This is an initiative of the American Society of Jewish Music, Dr. Kligman serves on its board. He has also initiated special interestes groups on Jewish music for the American Musicological Society and the Society for Ethnomusicology. He is dedicated to the growth of Jewish music in the academy through further studies in the disciplines of music, Jewish studies and cultural studies.

Dr. Kligman’s publications include articles in various academic journals and publications. On Syrian Liturgical music; Ethnomusicology (2001), Jews of Brooklyn (Brandeis University and University Press of New England), Psalms in Community: Jewish and Christian Textual, Liturgical, and Artistic Traditions published by the Society for Biblical Literature (2003), Liturgy in the Life of the Synagogue: Studies in the History of Jewish Prayer (2005), Musica Judaica (2005-6). Sephardi and Mizrahi Traditions: a chapter in music in The Jews in the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times (Columbia University Press, 2003), he complied 27 musical tracks in an accompanying CD for this publication, Sephardic & Mizrahi Jewry: From the Golden Age of Spain to Modern Times (2005) Popular Jewish Music: Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review (1994), YIVO Annual (1996), Jews of Brooklyn (Brandeis University and University Press of New England, 2001), “Contemporary Jewish Music,” American Jewish Yearbook (2001), Cambridge Reader in Jewish Studies (2005) Liturgical Aspects of Music: “Music in Judaism” was recently published in The Encyclopedia of Judaism (2000). The editor of the Jewish terms in Worship Music: a Concise Dictionary (2000), a dictionary covering liturgical music, Encyclopedia of American Jewish History (2008), The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times: Essays on Jews and Aesthetic Culture (2008)

Dr. Kligman lives with his wife, daughter, and son in Highland Park, NJ.

Selected Publications and Edited Works

"Prayers in an Arabic Mode: Liturgical Performance of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn," New Studies in Jewish Liturgy (Eisenbrauns Inc., forthcoming)

"Arab Music and Aesthetics as a Bass for Ritual Structure in the Sabbath Morning Liturgical Music of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn," Musica Judaica (forthcoming)

"Diversity and Uniqueness: An Introduction to Sephardic Liturgical Music," in Sephardic & Mizrahi Jewry: From the Golden Age of Spain to Modern Times, editor Zion Zohar (New York University Press, 2005)

"Recent Trends in New American Jewish Music" in Cambridge Reader in Jewish Studies, editor Dana Kaplan (Cambridge University Press, 2005)

"Chanting Psalms Today: The Zemirot in Syrian Sabbath Prayers," The Psalms in Community: Jewish and Christian Textual, Liturgical and Artistic Traditions (Society of Biblical Lit., 2003)

"Music in the Middle East," History of the Jews in the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times (Columbia Univ. Press, 2003) complied 27 musical tracks for CD in this publication

"Contemporary Jewish Music in America," American Jewish Yearbook, vol. 101 (2001)

"Music in Judaism," The Encyclopedia of Judaism (2000)

Editor of Jewish Terms, Worship Music: A Concise Dictionary (2000)

Articles in various academic journals: Ethnomusicology (2001), YIVO Annual (1996), and Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review (1994)

Public Lecture Topics
Music and Spirituality: An Exploration of Jewish Music in Rituals Past and Present
Popular Jewish Music of Today: Hassidim, Klezmer and Debbie Friedman - What do they have in Common?

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