Jewsic – To Each Their Own

One of my favorite aspects of music is that no matter whom or where you are, you can have any opinion about any song, artist, instrument, anything, and it is a valid opinion. Music, or really any art form in general, is more open to interpretation than almost anything else we can experience. The amount of genres, sub-genres, styles, interests, and ways to listen to music are almost countless and growing every day. There are people who like to listen to classic rock, people who listen to dubstep, vaporwave, metal, jazz, classical, and/or rap just to name a few, and none of them are more wrong or right than anyone else. Some people use headphones while others use speakers, and some people listen to songs for the lyrics while others just like the sound or the beat. No matter what your stance on music is, you are allowed to, and encouraged, to have your own opinion, and no one can deny your preferences or thoughts.

Similarly to music, one of my favorite aspects of Judaism is that there are so many opinions and ways to look at and learn about Judaism. I have been involved in Judaism for most of my life and even went to a Jewish day school starting in pre-school. One of the first memories I have about Jewish learning is talking about how it is always good to ask questions. You should always try to learn why we do things a certain way. There are even many books of rabbis discussing and arguing what the laws mean and how we should act and interpret them. A lot of the time, how laws should be followed depend on your local rabbi’s opinion. There are even a multitude of different sects of Judaism. All around, Judaism is largely based on debating the laws and differing opinions. There is an old saying that if you ask two rabbis a question you will end up with three different opinions, and in my opinion, that is one of the best characteristics of Judaism.

The fact that both music and Judaism allow for many opinions, ideas, and ways to experience them, make Jewsic such an awesome unique thing. In my opinion, Jewish music, or Jewsic as I call it, is unlike anything else. To me, it encompasses everything from literal Judaic psalms and prayers that are sung to any music that a Jewish person makes and everything in-between. From traditional Judaic songs to songs written by Gene Simmons of Kiss, AKA Chaim Witz, Jewsic is something that everyone can enjoy at least some amount of. Jewsic really is a genre that everyone can like in their own individual way.

Starting next week I will begin talking about different types and genres of Jewsic in greater detail. Shalom until then!

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An Intro to Jewsic

Shalom, friends! My name is Max Nachman and I am starting this blog as a passion project. I love music more than almost anything else, including talking about it. I have also been involved in Judaism my entire life, and although I am not very religious, I have studied and participated in the religious and cultural aspects since preschool. I enjoy combining my musical and Judaic knowledge in my spare time and even as a profession. For the past two summers, I have worked as the music specialist at a Jewish day camp where I taught the basics of music and Jewish songs to campers of all ages.

For the next few weeks, I will be blogging about my opinions on Jewsic, the word I use to categorize and describe ways that music and Judaism collide, combine, and coincide. This will include my personal thoughts on what I consider to be Jewish music, if music has to be religious to be Jewsic, how Jewsic relates to other genres of music and more. I may throw in some of my teaching experiences or even try and teach a song through this blog. My blog will attempt to expand on the idea of Jewsic and will grow each week with my personal thoughts, stories, and ideas about these two important parts of my life.

I am hoping that this will be a learning and growing experience for myself as much as it is for you readers. I am excited to delve into this Jewsical journey that started many years ago and I hope continues for much longer.

I will leave this first post off with a short video of my time at camp where I was teaching a group of campers a version of the song “Hinei Mah Tov” this past summer.