“The Media and the Messenger: Transforming the Cantor’s Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

Jeffrey Shandler
March 9th
“The Media and the Messenger: Transforming the Cantor’s Art In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction ”
Location: The Center for Jewish History
15 W. 16th St. New York City
Date: Friday, March 9, 2007
Time: 10:30 AM to Noon

Admission: This event is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the American Jewish Historical Society
and the American Society for Jewish Music
The Jewish Music Forum lecture series continues, with an
investigation of the cantor’s life, art, and spirituality as narrated
through various modes of communication:
“The Media and the Messenger: Transforming the Cantor’s
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

Presented by:
Dr. Jeffrey Shandler, Rutgers University
Respondents: Dr. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, New York
University, and Dr. Mark Slobin, Wesleyan University
Co-sponsor: Working Group on Jews/Media/Religion
at the Center for Religion and Media, New York University

In brief:
Jeffrey Shandler will discuss how American cantors’ interactions
with new media of the past century transformed their art and
their stature as performers. Their engagement with sound
recordings, sheet music, motion pictures, and radio and
television broadcasting created new possibilities for cantors
that tested the limits of their traditional role as shliah tsibur
(communal messenger). Of special interest is how cantors
have become subjects of mediations, especially in narratives in
which the cantor’s life and career figure as exemplary tales of
the encounter of Jewish tradition with the challenges of

Distinguished panel:

Dr. Jeffrey Shandler, a scholar of modern Jewish
culture, is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers
University. His publications include Adventures in
Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture (2005),
Entertaining America: Jews, Movies, and Broadcasting
(2003), Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth
in Poland before the Holocaust (2002), and While
America Watches: Televising the Holocaust (1999).

Dr. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is University
Professor, Professor of Performance Studies, and Affiliated
Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.
Her publications include Image Before My Eyes: A
Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864-1939
(with Lucjan Dobroszycki) (1977); Destination Culture:
Tourism, Museums, and Heritage (1998); The Art of
Being Jewish in Modern Times (edited with Jonathan Karp)
(in press); and They Called Me Mayer July: Painted
Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the
Holocaust (with Mayer Kirshenblatt) (in press).

Dr. Mark Slobin is a professor of music at Wesleyan
University and past president of the Society for
Ethnomusicology. His books include Tenement Songs: The
Popular Music of the Jewish Immigrants and Fiddler on
the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World, both of which
received ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award, and Music in the
Culture of Northern Afghanistan.

About the Jewish Music Forum:

The Forum is a colloquium in which invited lecturers
present original research in a flexible format that is
followed by response and open discussion. With the
support of the American Jewish Historical Society,
the Jewish Music Forum, a project of the American
Society for Jewish Music, launched its new series at
the Center for Jewish History in the spring of 2005.
The Jewish Music Forum is devoted to the study of
Jewish music in all of its historical and contemporary