Airdate: Nov 20, 2020
Scientist: Kay Kaufman Shelmay
Celebrating the Sabbath
For Syrian Jews, the Sabbath is both a time for rest and for song.
PIZMON-- SabbathHere's a program from our archives.Music: Yahid RomFor a community of Jews who trace their origins to Syria, this song marks the weekly observance of the Sabbath, a twenty-four hour period of rest and communal worship.I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet."We're now hearing the song Yahid Rom, which is sung on the Sabbath afternoon during the time which is the premier occasion for music making among Syrian Jews." Kay Kaufman Shelemay is a Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at Harvard University."This is a domestic ceremony. It's within the home. People sit around the table, primarily the men, and they sing. The Sabbath, which is of course from Friday evening to Saturday evening at sunset is a time for rest; it's a time for ritual observance and it's a time for people coming together in the home, over the meal and after the meal on Saturday, to sing." On the Sabbath, there's no playing of instruments, and the music we're listening to was recorded on another day. But during the Sabbath, this song unites its singers in a single voice, a single religious and cultural tradition."The purpose of the song Yahid Rom is to get this occasion going, to get it off to a rousing start. To have people together raise their banner and listen to their voices, as the words of the songs say. And in this way, Syrian Jews mark off the temporal cycle. They mark each week through the singing of songs and this highlights and ties one week to the next."We've been listening to a program from our archives. Check out our website, pulseplanet.com for a link to my latest project - a novel. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.