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Pulling Out the Stops

The rise and fall of the synagogue organ

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Have you ever walked into a synagogue and heard an organ, and wondered what it’s doing there? Organs moved into temples in Germany in the 19th century as part of the Reform movement. And there were huge fights over the organ: Some German Jews thought it was a sign of being modern and enlightened. Others thought it was too close to Christianity and a betrayal of Judaism. The organ followed Reform Jews from Germany to the United States.

Tina Frühauf is a professional organist and the author of The Organ and Organ Music in German-Jewish Culture, which is now out in German and is due out in an English translation in 2006. A Catholic from Germany, Frühauf went on a scholarly odyssey into a world of music that was silenced by the rise of Nazism and largely forgotten. Hear her explain what attracted her to Jewish organ music, and the work of composers Louis Lewandowski and Yohanan Samuel.

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Lanny Druker says:

Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline Mass had a kilgen Organ it was So inspirational when the organist played The Kol Nidre and the Cantor sang
It is to bad that it many Feel that it is only For the church. If Jewish children early in age hear a Pipe organ they might want to be a organist and they could compose Jewish Music for the organ There are so many themes in the Torah The Psalms and The Story of Moses and the Ten Commandments The Widor Toccata is one of the Great Organ Piece of Music that Uses most of the resources of the organ

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Pulling Out the Stops

The rise and fall of the synagogue organ

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