Unit: The Art of Being Jewish
Amy Horowitz’s chapter on Moroccan-Israeli singer, Zehava Ben, raises issues about Jewish music and ethnicity in Israel during the 1970s – 1990s. The chapter explores how music created and performed by Israeli Jews whose parents came from Islamic lands challenges and ultimately succeeds in transforming the emerging nationalmusic aesthetics and institutions. The chapter suggests that their new genre, Mediterranean Israeli music, may have served as a potential meeting ground among Israeli Jews, Palestinians, and Middle Eastern and North African communities. The music traces the encounter among European, North African, and Middle Eastern Jewish immigrant musicians who arrived in the late 1940s – mid1950s and their children – born in the newly formed Israeli nation.This installment of "Teaching the ___" offers students the opportunity to investigate those issues in a range of primary sources. In both the chapter and the exercises, Horowitz presents music and sound as historical sources that need to be understood not just in aesthetic or cultural terms but also in their sociopolitical context. Using sound recordings, music transcriptions,Hebrew newspaper articles (in translation), transcribed interviews, video clips, these exercises invite you to dig deeply into the questions Mediterranean Israeli music raises.
This installment includes exercises that are framed by musical tracks:
- Ingathering of European, Middle Eastern and North African Jews to the newly formed Israeli nation (Yemenite, Moroccan, Polish, Russian, Syrian, Greek, Turkish Kiddush, Umm Kulthum’s Enta Omri, rural folk songs from Iran, Russia, Afghanistan) 1948- 1960
- The formation of the pan-Mizrahi ethnic identity in the context of the Eastern European communities in Yishuv/Palestine(Shirey Eretz Songs, Mizrahi renditions, Greek songs as mediators)
- Development of pan-Mizrahi music and recording and distribution network in reaction to exclusion from mainstream ( cassettes, Perakh b’Gani, Tipat Mazal, Masala Ketourna)
- Music and Peace Process Zehava Ben as exempler of the new genre and transformation of the mainstream