My Jewish Learning

Jewish Music Quiz

Jewish music today extends well beyond the synagogue, to the concert halls of Israel, the Klezmer revival, and the reggae of Matisyahu. How much do you know about Jewish music?

Question 1. Which of these facts about Debbie Friedman is NOT true?
 Her "Alef bet" song has appeared on Barney the Dinosaur's TV show
 Her compositions have become a lasting part of the Reform movement's liturgy
 Her version of "V'ahavta" was co-written with James Taylor
 She learned to play guitar at Jewish summer camp


Question 2. Klezmer music was inspired by which of these?
 Kibbutz life
 Shtetl life
 Life in the ghettos during the Holocaust
 The lives of George Gershwin and Irving Berlin


Question 3. When Wagner claimed in his essay "Judaism in Music" that Jews could never be "true" creators because they are parasitic, Arnold Schoenberg created what musical response?
 Cain and Abel
 Moses and Aaron
 Rachel and Leah
 Jacob and Esau


Question 4. What are nigunim?
 Notes for chanting the Torah, haftarah, and other Jewish sacred texts
 Wordless or nearly wordless musical tunes, sometimes set to short phrases in Hebrew or Yiddish
 Excerpts of Jewish prayers set to secular music
 Music composed by the professional cantorial league


Question 5. What is Leonard Bernstein's only work composed for the synagogue?
 The Dybbuk


Question 6. Which of these statements about Fiddler on the Roof is true?
 It is one of the three most succesful musicals in American history
 It was intended primarily for non-Jewish Broadway audiences
 It has for decades served as a Jewish cultural icon
 All of these


Question 7. Who created the written notation for cantillation notes?
 King Solomon
 Aaron the Priest
 The Masoretes
 Rabbi Akiva