Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 9.6:
Does Judaism have a strong tradition of religious art and music?


Emphatically, yes! Cantorial music goes back a long way, and there have been Jewish artists since Abraham's time. You should investigate many of the exhibits at the local Jewish Community Centers, synagogues, and rabbinical schools (such as the Skirball Museum at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles). Often, Jewish art focuses on ceremonial objects, such as spice boxes, menorot, mezzuzot, wimples, kippahs, breastplates for the Torah, Torah covers, etc, as opposed to portraits or statues.

Judaism does have a strong tradition of religious music, it's just that there haven't been that many Jewish composers with great popular success outside of the small Jewish circles (as opposed to classical composers of the 17th-19th centuries who wrote liturgical music that was a great success in its own right, without the liturgy underneath it)

There is also an emerging tradition of modern Jewish music, including such artists as Debbie Friedman, Rabbi Joe Black, and others. Some of this music is more appropriate to the liberal streams. Those interested in modern Jewish music should investigate some of the online Jewish music stores, such as Sounds Write ( or (

Some other links of interest include:

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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© (c) 1993-2004 Daniel P. Faigin <>