Mifgash Musicale Held at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mifgash Musicale, a unique collaboration between HUC-JIR, the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Guild of Temple Musicians, was held in Cincinnati from July 27-31, 2008. This intensive Jewish Music seminar, now in its ninth year, educates synagogue musicians with basic fundamental knowledge about worship in the synagogue. Program themes are on a three-year cycle: Shabbat, High Holidays, and Major and Minor Holidays of the Jewish Year, and include classes on liturgy, repertoire, cantillation, conducting, and keyboarding. Professor Bonia Shur of HUC-JIR/Cincinnati was the initiator of the first program in 2000 and has continued to be an annual presence. HUC-JIR/Cincinnati Professor Rabbi Richard Sarason, Ph.D., is the resident Liturgical Scholar. HUC-JIR/Cincinnati Professor Cantor Yvon Shore partners closely with Cantor Alane S. Katzew, Director of Music Programming at the URJ, and both serve on Mifgash Musicale faculty.

Each year a different composer is highlighted - this year Ben Steinberg was on the faculty. New to Mifgash Musicale faculty this year was Cantor Bruce Ruben, Director of the School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR/NY, who taught a workshop on Jewish Music History, in addition to repertoire sessions. 

Cantor Andrew Bernard was conducting specialist and representative of the ACC. Dr. Jayson Rodovsky, President of the GTM and Editor of Transcontinental Music Publications, and Dr. Alan Mason were accompanists and faculty presenters. This year's participants come from all over North America - from as far as Hawaii, Winnipeg, New Orleans, and Ottawa. 

Cantor Katzew, who spearheads the program and develops the content of the program each year, said, "The intimate size of the program - with participants and staff, we numbered 46 - allows for significant interaction between faculty and participants. It also generates a tight community network for synagogue musicians from out-of-the-way places - often laboring a lone musical voice or instrument in their home congregations. The majority of our participants come from small congregations with under 250 families where the community resources are limited."

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu