Musician Joshua Horowitz Helped Spark a Resurgence in Traditional Eastern European Jewish Dance Music
In the mid-1980s, Joshua Horowitz was part of an avant garde composers’ group while finishing his graduate studies at the Academy of Music in Graz, Austria, when an uptick in anti-Semitism during the Waldheim years* sparked his interest in traditional Jewish folk music.
At the time there were about 20 to 40 songs in the standard klezmer repertoire, and Horowitz felt the genre had to be broader than that.
Compelled to “reinstate music where it had been destroyed,” he traveled to more than 15 Eastern European countries to unearth traditional music. It wasn’t an easy task. Folk music wasn’t documented in the same way that music of the upper class — like classical music was.Read more
That was my question when I sat down with good pal Deb Arnold, who went to her first Limmud
(Limmud UK) in 2011, and is one of thems who set the Limmud Seattle ball rolling after
attending the Vancouver, BC, Limmud in 2016.
Here’s what she said:
“It’s like being in a big, beautiful Jewish bubble with a bunch of people who also want to be in a
big beautiful Jewish bubble.”
Sounds nice, I said, but what else?
“It’s an opportunity to scratch a whole bunch of Jewish itches, as it were, in one place –
intellectual, nostalgic, emotional, visual, auditory. There’s really nothing else I know of that
offers such diversity and vibrancy to Jews of all backgrounds.
What’s so compelling to you about Limmud?
“It’s the diversity, energy and passion. People come together to plug in, learn, experience, and
be in community with all kinds of other Jews who want to do the same. There’s a lot of joy about
celebrating being Jewish with other people who, no matter how differently they practice or
identify, value that celebration and togetherness.”
There’s something unique about Limmud: Each event is designed and created by volunteers within the community in which it is held — and the event is best when people from the diverse threads of the Jewish community participate.
Some who volunteer already have strong connections to the Jewish community. For others, the draw is that Limmud offers something that can be hard to find — a way to connect Jewishly that is personally meaningful and relevant.
“I was looking for a stimulating volunteer opportunity with when some friends told me about Limmud. I like using my organization skills, and I wanted a challenge, and I was surprised and pleased at what a wonderful learning opportunity this has been. I formed a good team and I realized I didn’t need to know how to do everything — I just need to work with people who could do what needed to be done.
I hope everyone gets involved to see what it’s all about. You can meet new people, learn new skills and be part of something really big.” - Margot, Marketing Team lead
If you’re new to Limmud like I am, it’s easy to get interested about the idea, but hard to wrap your head around exactly what it is.
There’s learning, but it’s not like a conference or coursework. It’s social and vibrant, but it’s not a party. It will be playful, fun and energizing, but…
Limmud (which basically means “to learn”) has been called a happening, a festival, a learningfest, and a gathering (to name a few). By any name, it’s a celebration of Jewish life, learning and culture that started in England in 1980 and has expanded to 80+ communities in more than 40 countries around the world.
One of the unique and fabulous things about Limmud is that each event is designed by and for the Jews within the community in which it is held — and the event is best when people from all threads of Jewish life participate, whether they are affiliated or not, Jewishly active or inactive, Sephardic, Ashkenazi, religious, spiritual, cultural, repairers-of-the-world, secular, curious, of every age.Read more
In one year from today, Limmud Seattle will bring together hundreds of Jewish learners from around the area. The Limmud committee is already hard at work, organizing a schedule and getting together a team. We're excited about this event--and hope you are too!