Home Digital Content Library Capsule History of Jewish Religious Music, Television Program, January 1954

Capsule History of Jewish Religious Music, Television Program, January 1954



This is Temple Israel Television Program: Capsule History of Jewish Religious Music, January 10, 1954. Temple Israel of Boston Archives.

Listen to the 1954 recording


This audio recording, hosted by Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn in preparation for National Jewish Music Month, chronicles the January 10, 1954 episode of the television program, This is Temple Israel (1953-1978). Sponsored by the Temple Israel Brotherhood and recorded at Temple Israel of Boston, it was broadcast on Massachusetts television station WNAC on the second Sunday of each month.

The program offers an overview of the history and development of Jewish religious music over time. The first half includes short examples of early religious music, including: early biblical chanting performed by Cantor Alfred Rosbach (1912-1954) of Congregation Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Massachusetts; an ancient Babylonian chant performed by Donald Sullivan, tenor soloist who performed with the Temple Israel Choir; medieval cantorial music performed by Alfred Rosbach; and Louis Lewandowski’s “Hallelujah,” performed by the Temple Israel Glee Club, which showcases the change from solo to choral music during the early-modern period. The second half of the program focuses on contemporary religious musical compositions, including: a modern adaptation of the melody for the prayer “Shomer Yisrael,” performed by Cantor Hugo Chayim Adler (1894-1955) of Temple Emmanuel in Worcester, Massachusetts; “R’tzei,” the first of Herbert Fromm’s (composer and Temple Israel of Boston musical director) six madrigals; and an excerpt of Ernest Bloch’s “Avodat Hakodesh (Sacred Service)” performed by Alfred Rosbach.

This recording, along with several hundred others that capture services, sermons, and other events from 1934-1979, have recently been digitized by the Temple Israel Archives. Free streaming access to these recordings is available via the Digital Commonwealth, The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), or by request from the Wyner Archives, Temple Israel of Boston.This project was supported by a Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Council on Library Informaion Resources

If you have memories of this or similar TI events, or any other comments or feedback that you would like to share, please send them to archives@tisrael.org.