Contrafact, Country Music, and Challah: An Analysis of the Influence of Nashville’s Popular Music on Liturgical Music of Reform Jewish Temples in Nashville

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Childress, William Philip
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Middle Tennessee State University
Even within a city as varied in its musical history as Nashville, Tennessee, few religious congregations utilize medieval-style musical techniques, hits from Walt Disney Animation’s Frozen, and songs from Holywood’s Golden Age, all in the same service. In this paper, I will analyze the music of the two Reform Temples in Nashville, Congregation Ohabai Sholom (also known as Temple Nashville), and Congregation Micah. I do this through interviews with Cantor Josh Goldberg from Congregation Micah and Cantor Tracy Fishbein and Rabbi Mackler from the Temple Nashville. I also analyze the use of lyrical contrafaction in the two Temples, as well as an analysis of the history of the cantors in these temples. Through these interviews and analyses of their liturgical practices, I have found a clear connection between the popular music of America and the liturgical music of the Reform congregations of Nashville.
Contrafact, Jewish, Music, Reform, Music history, Judaic studies