Turning Traditional Liturgical Poetry into Modern Music

Dec. 10 2015

The musician and vocalist Yair Harel performs Sephardi and North African piyyutim (religious poems), basing his arrangements on traditional melodies. He has also been involved in creating educational resources to preserve and disseminate information about these songs and their history. In an interview with Sephardi Ideas Monthly, he discusses their appeal:

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Read more at Sephardi Ideas Monthly

More about: Arts & Culture, Israel Najara, Jewish music, Judaism, Mizrahim, Piyyut, Sephardim

Iran’s Elections Could Complicate U.S. Plans to Renew the Nuclear Deal

June 11 2021

This week, after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced its suspicions that the Islamic Republic is hiding nuclear materials from its inspectors, the White House decided to lift some sanctions on Iranian oil, and still plans to forge ahead with nuclear negotiations. Meanwhile, Iran will hold its presidential elections next week. The exercise is not particularly democratic—the supreme leader approves the candidates in advance, and his minions have from time to time fixed the results—but neither is it entirely meaningless. While there are important differences among the candidates, not one can be dubbed a moderate, even by the standards of this brutal Islamist theocracy. Reuel Marc Gerecht explains why this matters:

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Ali Khamenei, Barack Obama, Iran nuclear program, Joseph Biden