Links to lesson documents found below
This lesson is an exploration and celebration of the very rich music and culture of the Moroccan and Persian Jewish communities as expressed through some of their lifecycle and holiday practices. It shares the stories and related music from Morocco and Iran of the last century, and contemporary music of Moroccan and Persian Jews.
Through this lesson, learners will understand that:
- All Jewish communities, including the Moroccan and Persian communities, reflect and refract their sociocultural locations, and react to local historical, economic, and political realities, and this is reflected in their music. This remains true for the Moroccan and Persian Jewish communities in the United States today.
- At the same time, all Jewish communities, including the Moroccan and Persian communities, broadly share Jewish religious culture and history, and maintain Jewish values and aspirations.
- Nonetheless, discrete Jewish communities, including the Moroccan and Persian communities, may express their Judaism through different musical genres and modes, sometimes adopting local cultural forms, sometimes expressing themselves in local languages in addition to Hebrew, and sometimes developing practices that are not shared by other Jewish communities.
- Shabbat, holy days and life cycle events have been and remain pivotal institutions that bring families and communities together to connect members to each other, to their cultural and religious heritage, and to God.
- The Moroccan and Persian Jewish cultures make extensive use of piyyutim, and maintain proud musical traditions surrounding them.
- The culture of the Moroccan and Persian Jewish communities, including music, practices, food, language, and more, continue to provide personal enrichment for members of those communities.
- Moroccan and Persian Jewish music today reflects the sociocultural locations in which it is found (often the United States and Israel) and reflects as well an ongoing negotiation, even tension, between honoring the past and thriving in the present.