Mount Zion is a co-sponsor of this event.
Jews engage in enthusiastic communal singing of Hebrew poems (piyyut) such as Adon ‘olam (Lord of the Universe) during their synagogue services. What are the origins of these liturgical songs and their melodies? Piyyut is one the most ancient poetical traditions of any present-day religion. Born in the Land of Israel during the Byzantine period (5th to 6th century CE) as an extension of the statutory prayers sanctioned by rabbinical authorities after the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, piyyut became a backbone of Jewish prayer as well as a bone of contention regarding its status in modern worship. It also spread beyond formal synagogue rituals, to special religious events, family celebrations and now, to the entertainment stage in Israel. This presentation will trace the literary and musical journey of piyyut from its origins in Talmudic-times to its contemporary Israeli pop transmutations.