In the Key of Female: Music and Gender in the Modern Jewish-American Cantorate

Dr. Marsha A. Dubrow, Resident Scholar and Research Associate, Center for Jewish Studies, CUNY, and Spiritual Leader Congregation B’nai, Jacob, Jersey City, New Jersey

As a direct result of feminist politics of the 1960s and 1970s, women slowly entered the ranks of Jewish clerical life as both rabbis and cantors in the last few decades of the 20th century. This process was a mostly evolutionary one, but sometimes revolutionary, fraught with struggles and campaigns on many fronts, with some still being fought today. This paper examines the historical context for the acceptance of women cantors in all denominations except Orthodox. The paper explores the specifics of battles fought and (mostly) won, while fast-forwarding to current questions and issues around power sharing, the 'balanced bimah' and the innovations and influence of female cantors with respect to musical repertoire from the perspectives of musical composition and performance. Musical illustrations will accompany the talk.

Mondays, 4:00 - 5:15 p.m.

General Classroom GS 119
(South Building)

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For further information: (561) 297-4225