Excerpt from Union Hymnal: Songs and Prayers for Jewish WorshipIn 1914, the first revision of the Union Hymnal was published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. It contained two hundred and twenty-six hymns as compared with one hundred and... MoreExcerpt from Union Hymnal: Songs and Prayers for Jewish WorshipIn 1914, the first revision of the Union Hymnal was published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. It contained two hundred and twenty-six hymns as compared with one hundred and twenty-nine in the original edition.
Three years later, there was a very widespread demand for another revision. Studieswere made by several committees from that time until 1924, when the present Committee on Revision was appointed. The work was brought to completion with the presentation of the manuscript to the Conference in Providence, R.
I., In 1930.The Committee sought to meet the requirements of our congregations and religious schools by providing a revision which should ring true to the Jewish spirit. AS against two hundred and twenty-six hymns in the second edition, the present compilation has two hundred and sixty-six hymns, many of which are entirely new. Considerable use was made of the second edition, many favorite hymns were retained, but many were eliminated, because they did not answer the special needs of our congregations and religious schools- others were re-harmonized or separated, or the language of the poetry revised so as to give more appropriate expression to the demands of Jewish theology.
Jewish composers contributed melodies and settings that were inspired by traditional Jewish music. Many Jewish poems were introduced into our hymnology for the first time. The Com mittee on Revision was actuated by a desire to produce a hymn book which would stimulate congregational singing, inspire Jewish devotion, revive the value of Jewish melody, make use of neglected Jewish poetry, lean heavily where possible upon Jewish motifs, awaken in the children of our religious schools a love for Jewish poetry and song, and encourage in the religious schools an earnest study of Jewish music, and finally contribute to the field of hymnology a publication which would be essentially Jewish in color, spirit and purpose.One of the main purposes kept constantly in view was to make it as Jewish as possible, and thus meet one of the needs of our modern synagogal life, namely the adaptation of Jewish traditional music to the usage and taste of our own days.
This involves a two-fold question: what elements of synagogal melody best ex press our religious life in music employed by our congregations- and how shall we clothe them in harmony that shall reveal their own peculiar modal character and melodic contours? We would. Not assert that we have solved these two problems. Not only in this Hymnal, but in our religious-musical life in general, they are still far from a solution.
But we have made an earnest efiort to proceed in this direction. We have called upon Jewish composers for aid. AS noted elsewhere in this Preface, a considerable number of them contributed compositions to this collection. Composers were urged to utilize some of the wealth of synagogal melody. This plea found a ready response. Even a superficial glance through the contents of this volume indicates how many of the hymns are based upon traditional melodies.About the PublisherForgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books.
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