In the last quarter
of the nineteenth century, Jewish activists
saw a need to reinvigorate the music of the synagogue.
They argued that it had strayed too far from
its roots in Jewish tradition, incorporating
elements from popular operas and church masses.
In his hymnal displayed below, Moritz Goldstein,
the reader at Cincinnati's Mound Street Temple,
sought “to select the best from the
various Jewish text-books in use in this
country, and so to arrange them that not
only the choir, but also the congregation
may take part in their rendition.”
Zimroh: A Hymn Book for Temples and
Sabbath Schools, and Adapted for Choirs
and Congregational Singing.
Cincinnati, Ohio: M. Goldstein,
German-English hymnal published in Chicago,
which included simple, natural, and light
rearrangements of traditional melodies, was
also part of the effort to revitalize liturgical
music. The Jewish Women's Congress, chaired
by Hannah Solomon, worked with cantors Reverend
William Sparger of New York and Reverend
Alois Kaiser of Baltimore to publish this
collection of "The Principal Melodies
of the Synagogue From the Earliest Time to
the Present" as a commemorative volume available
at the World's Parliament of Religions held
in conjunction with the 1893 World's Columbian
Exposition in Chicago.
of Zion: Souvenir of the
Jewish Women's Congress, 1893.
National Council of Jewish Women Collection.
[Songs for Divine Service of Israelites].
Chicago, Illinois: E. Rubovits, 1876.
In this composition for the synagogue, Leonard
Bernstein sets to music the popular liturgical
hymn “Yigdal,” a poetic statement
of the Maimonidean creed [thirteen
principles of the Jewish faith] that often marks the
end of the evening service. Bernstein's "Yigdal" was
written for the United Synagogue Commission
on Jewish Education and included in Harry
Coopersmith's anthology, U-leshonenu
rinah: The Songs We Sing (New York,
A Round for Jewish Voices.”
Leonard Bernstein Collection.