What has been the attitude/philosophy of Rabbis and Cantors throughout the centuries, towards the use of non-Jewish melodies for Jewish purposes?(Jewish liturgy, Jewish events, etc.) (The term for borrowing a melody and replacing the original text with another text is Contrafactum; plural: Contrafacta).


  1. The introduction to your paper should be about the attitude/philosophy ofrabbis towardsthe use of non-Jewish melodiesIN GENERAL (All rabbisdisapproved? Some did somedidn’t? What were theirreasons?)
  2. In the main part of the paper, give 10 examples of different  individual  Rabbis (including cantors)  and their  attitude/ philosophy towards the use of non – Jewish  Make sure to list only those who talk about the use of non – Jewish melodies!  So you really need to pick them out (“Music and Religion” from the book Jewish Musical Traditions – there are many rabbis mentioned there who talk about all kinds of matters which d o not belong in our paper…)
  3. For each Rabbi – write what his opinion was with regard to t he use of non – Jewish melodies (D id he approve it? Was he opposed to it? Give his reasoning whenever possible)
  4. Make sure your intro and conclusion are about the use of non – Jewish melodies (nothing else – not the use of instruments, or the history of Jewish liturgical music, etc.)
  5. NOTE: Israel Najara mentioned in the book Let jasmine rain down, was a rabbi..
  6. The pages from Idelsohn’s book cover Medieval Germany



  • Submit as an at Word document
  • Not more than THREE 1.5 – spaced pages
  • Cite your sources



Two references


Shelemay, Kay Kaufman.  Let jasmine rain down: song and remembrance among  Syrian Jews  (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998)



Idelsohn, A. Z. (Abraham Zvi).  Jewish music in its historical development  (New  York: Tudor Pub. Co., 1944, c1929)

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