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The Organ and its Music in German-Jewish Culture$
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Tina Fruhauf

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195337068

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337068.001.0001

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The Organ as a Jewish Religious Response to Modernity

The Organ as a Jewish Religious Response to Modernity

Chapter:
(p.27) Chapter Three The Organ as a Jewish Religious Response to Modernity
Source:
The Organ and its Music in German-Jewish Culture
Author(s):

Tina Frühauf

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337068.003.0003

During the early nineteenth century, many reform-minded Jews in Germany began developing ideas about a modernized worship service in line with the Jewish Enlightenment movement, called the Haskalah. The reforms applied not only to the aesthetic but also to the musical aspects of the service to appeal more to a public that was increasingly educated in Western art music. These changes brought about a new branch of Jewish music and marked the beginning of a new era of Judaism that eventually would divide the community into Orthodox and Reform. Throughout the next decades, several debates within the Jewish community erupted over whether the organ should be allowed in synagogues. Among the most notable ones happened during the Second Rabbinical Conference in Frankfurt in 1845 and the First Jewish Synod in Leipzig in 1869, as well as during the proposed construction of an organ in Berlin's New Synagogue in Oranienburger Straβe in 1861. The debates ended after the Jewish community in Cologne allowed the introduction of an organ in Roonstraβe synagogue in 1906. However, almost all of central Europe's synagogue organs would be destroyed during Kristallnacht in 1938 and during the war. Many of the organs were built between 1848 and 1871 when Jewish congregations were enjoying the rewards of liberal German economic policies. This period saw much innovation in organ building as the organ transformed into a synagogue instrument. Later in the nineteenth century, instruments with larger dispositions and many more stops began to appear as the organ gradually took on a solo role in Jewish observances until it eventually became a concert instrument. The placement of the organ in synagogues varied from congregation to congregation, indicating that the instrument was not bound by tradition and had become an expression of the social, cultural, and religious assimilation of Germany's Jewish population.

Keywords:   organ, Jewish music, Judaism, Haskalah, Jewish worship, religious reform, synagogues, Kristallnacht, organ building

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