On Joy and Sorrow: Jewish Music-Making in Muslim Lands

Event time: 
Sunday, April 7, 2024 - 12:00pm to 7:00pm
Miller Hall (PROS406) See map
406 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Free, but register in advance
Open to: 
General Public
Event description: 

Please join us for a day-long symposium on Jewish music-making in Muslim lands, culminating in a concert in Marquand Chapel on the Matrouz material of North Africa with singer Laura Elkeslassy. In this symposium, facilitated by ISM Fellow Ilana Webster-Kogen and Vanessa Paloma Elbaz, scholars from around the world consider the diverse forms of Jewish-Muslim artistic interventions that have animated life in the Arab world, al-Andalus and the Ottoman Empire. Recognizing the moments of joy and pain that have punctuated personal relationships and political networks, our contributing speakers celebrate the (predominantly) Arabic-language musical styles that emerge from religious ritual and that create fora for exchange and collaboration. Scholars from musicology, ethnomusicology, sound studies, Jewish Studies, and Middle East Studies, poets and translators, musicians and practitioners speak about the ways that everyday encounters facilitate musical collaboration, and the impact Jewish migration has on memories of intimacy.

Co-sponsored by Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Jewish Music Institute.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided for the symposium, but please register in advance by April 4 at 5 p.m. No registration is required for the concert.


12-5: Symposium (Miller Hall)
6-7: Concert (Marquand Chapel)

Full schedule:

12:00 p.m. Lunch (vegetarian and vegan)

12:30 p.m. Welcome remarks (Ilana Webster-Kogen & Vanessa Paloma Elbaz)

12:40 p.m. Music, Memory and Media in North Africa

-Brahim El Guabli (Williams College): “Emplaced Memory of Jewish-Muslim Morocco”
-Simon Webster (SOAS University of London): “After the Storm: Tzaddikim in the New Moral Landscape of the Negev”
-Ilana Webster-Kogen (Yale Institute for Sacred Music & SOAS University of London): “Rissani/Sijilmassa: Tracking the Torah Scroll Supply Chain”
-Samuel Torjman Thomas (City University of New York - Hunter & John Jay Colleges): “Defining the Arab -Soundscape: Refractions in Mediterranean Jewish Sacred Music”

2:30 p.m. Coffee break

2:45 p.m. Poetry reading by Peter Cole: “The (H)our of Song: Surprising al-Andalus”

3:15 p.m. Break

3:30 p.m. Liminalities of belonging: Ottoman Jewish Music & Sound

-Edwin Seroussi (Hebrew University & Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies, UPenn): “Ottoman Hebrew Music”
-Hadar Feldman Samet (Tel Aviv University & Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies): “What Can Music Tell Us About Late Ottoman Life? Jewish-Muslim Encounters and Sacred Soundscapes in Salonica”
-Vanessa Paloma Elbaz (Cambridge University & Paris Sorbonne Cité): “Inscribing Sephardi Interventions with Sound and Silence in Ottoman Jerusalem”

5:00 p.m. Reception

6:00 p.m. Concert in Marquand Chapel with Laura Elkeslassy


Peter Cole
Vanessa Paloma Elbaz
Brahim El-Guabli
Hadar Feldman Samet
Edwin Seroussi
Samuel Torjman Thomas
Simon Webster
Ilana Webster-Kogen

and featuring a concert with Laura Elkeslassy

View Speaker Biographies