Lecture by Rachel Adelstein begins at 7pm, preceded by drinks reception at 6.30pm.
Beginning with the establishment of the West London Synagogue in 1840, Anglo-Jewish congregations began to explore how to integrate the ideas of being Jewish and being modern British citizens. One contested site of exploration was the role of the female voice. While the gendered sound of worship in British synagogues might suggest that women’s voices separate progressive from Orthodox practice, the historical reality is more complicated. This lecture suggests that the primary issue is the congregation’s engagement with modernity, rather than a debate about feminist values. It will explore congregational experiments with liturgical music, and demonstrate the negotiations that British synagogues make with modernity through the female voice.
Rachel Adelstein is an ethnomusicologist. She received her Ph.D in 2013 from the University of Chicago, where she completed her doctoral dissertation entitled "Braided Voices: Women Cantors in Non-Orthodox Judaism." She has also written about music and the memory of the Holocaust. She is especially interested in contemporary Jewish liturgical music, as well as artistic expressions of Jewish feminism and American vernacular musics.
Drinks reception from 6.30pm in the foyer
Lecture 7pm in the Gavin de Beer lecture theatre
Anatomy Building, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
(entrance on Gower Street just south of UCL main gate)