Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CAJE is back, with an online tribute to Debbie Friedman

CAJE was a beloved institution in liberal Jewish education that, if I understand correctly, quietly dissolved recently. A lot of Jewish musicians on the song-leader circuit built their audiences at CAJE events. CAJE is back, though, in the form of NewCAJE. Right now, it looks like NewCAJE is kicking off with an ongoing online webinar series. The next one up will be Reform Rabbi Anne Brener and musician Julie Silver presenting "Tachat Canfei (Under the wings) of Shechina: Reflections on Life, Death and Debbie Friedman z"l" on Feb 9, 2011 at 8pm Eastern. They're looking for donations to attend, but are leaving the donation amount up to you. The money raised is going to support new Jewish music and musicians at future NewCAJE events. Here's there blurb...
"Debbie Friedman z"l transformed Jewish life. She channeled a subterranean current of life and joy into the post-holocaust world of silence, frozen emotion, and rote liturgy, bringing us a "new song to sing unto God," and helping us to thaw and to turn our "mourning into dancing." And now, we mourn Debbie.

Let us come together to remember Debbie and to explore the impact of her music and its feminism and theology upon the way we live as Jews today. We will listen to some of her music together sung by her friend Julie Silver, exploring her understanding of the relationship between life and death that may be revealed in her music. In the process, we will learn more about Jewish understandings of death and the afterlife and hopefully find some consolation.

Following the formal presentation and questions, there will be an open hour in which people will be able to share their stories of Debbie and thus explore Judaism's insistence on the power of the community to bring healing.Rabbi Brener will raise many questions in her presentation including:

  • What was the world like at the time that Debbie began to sing?
  • What impact was she able to have on that world?
  • What does Judaism teach about the relationship between body and soul?
  • What does Judaism teach about the afterlife and what are some of those teachings?
  • How did Debbie's use of female imagery and role models help to transform the role of women in the Jewish world?What is the theology that might be mined from Debbie's music"

    Jim Ball said...

    Jack: CAJE itself dissolved two years ago for lack of funding. It was actually reborn this past summer with the first NewCAJE conference which took place in Boston in August. Educators, cantors, song leaders and Jewish musicians perform(ed) and were able to get gigs through the conference. The online piece is a new activity. Rabbi Sherri Koler-Fox was one of the organizers of NewCAJE. PS-enjoy your blog.

    Jack said...

    Jim...thanks for the update. I'm glad to hear that NewCAJE is continuing where CAJE left off.