Salomone Rossi: Great Jewish Composer of the Italian Renaissance

A group of Israeli musicians has been performing the sacred and secular work of Salomone Rossi, who composed music both for the synagogue and to entertain the dukes of Mantua. Rossi, a product of heightened cultural interaction between Jews and Christians in Renaissance Italy, introduced elements of modern European music into the Jewish liturgy and was himself a great musical innovator. Geoffrey Clarfield explains:

Three years before [Claudio] Monteverdi, in his madrigals, Rossi pioneered the use of the basso continuo part. In 1607 his compositions featured the first trio sonatas to have ever appeared in Europe. He probably invented the form. We must remember, then, that Rossi was just one, even if he was the best, of a significant number of Italian Jews who were masters of and contributors to the classical music of the time. . . . During the last few years of Rossi’s life, the Jews of Italy and, later, almost all Jews of Western Europe were confined to ghettos. His last pieces were written in Hebrew and correspond to that time when he and his family were moved to the ghetto of Mantua. This is his famous collection called the Songs of Solomon . . . referring (in a typical Renaissance play on words) to himself, the composer, not the ancient Israelite king. They are the first musical rendering of the Hebrew Psalms known to us in the European polyphonic tradition. They were designed to be interspersed in the synagogue liturgy of his coreligionists in Mantua and Venice.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: British Jewry, Italian Jewry, Jewish music, Renaissance, Salomone Rossi

As Hamas’s Reign of Terror Endures, the International Community Remains Obsessed with Jews Living in the Wrong Places

On Thursday, foreign ministers of the G-7—the U.S., Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy—along with the EU, made an official “statement on the situation in the West Bank,” an area where they are very concerned, it appears, that too many Jews are dwelling. In particular, the G-7 condemned Israel’s decision to grant municipal status to five ad-hoc villages built without proper permits. Elliott Abrams comments:

I can see “condemning” murder, terror, kidnapping, and “rejecting” that legalization. Indeed in the next sentence they “reject the decision by the government of Israel to declare over 1,270 hectares of land in the West Bank as ‘state lands.’” Building houses should not be treated with language usually reserved for murder.

The statement then added complaints about the Israeli settlement program more generally, and about Israel’s decision to withhold some tax revenues it collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Why does Israel ever withhold such funds? Sometimes it is in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack. Sometimes it’s domestic politics. But it’s worth remembering something else: the Taylor Force Act, which became law in 2018 and stated that the “Palestinian Authority’s practice of paying salaries to terrorists serving in Israeli prisons, as well as to the families of deceased terrorists, is an incentive to commit acts of terror.” Until those payments cease, most forms of aid from the U.S. government to the Palestinian Authority may not be made. The payments continue. It is not clear if the State Department is pressuring the Palestinian Authority to end them.

Such moral considerations are entirely absent from the G-7 statement. The statement may be correct when it says, “maintaining economic stability in the West Bank is critical for regional security.” But it should be obvious that ending the pay-for-slay program and rewards for terrorism is even more critical for regional security. It’s a pity the G-7 did not find time to mention that.

The statement, it’s worth noting, appeared on the U.S. State Department website.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Europe and Israel, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy, West Bank