Dr. Naomi Cohn Zentner

Domestic Ashkenazic music in the modern age.

Dr. Naomi Cohn Zentner is an ethnomusicologist interested in the intersections between Ashkenazi music and the Israeli sphere, mainly in the home. Her Masters thesis, gained from McGill University, looked at the Spanish and Portuguese influence on the Ashkenazi liturgy in London in the late 19th century. Her dissertation, written under Prof. Edwin Seroussi, focused on the paraliturgical piyyutim of Zemirot Shabbat sung around the Sabbath table among religious Zionists in Israel, and included ethnographic fieldwork and analysis of extended family repertoires. Other interests include: the domestic music of German speaking Jews, musical maps, and popular Israeli music. She is a lecturer at the Open University, Hebrew Union College and the Schechter Institute Jewish Studies. Daat hamakom projects include an interactive map of “kol mekadesh shevii: a wandering melody as a cultural map” and a historical ethnomusicology project of interreligious and intercultural musical exchange in Ottoman era Safed. Her latest project looks into the symbolic use of Sephardic musical traditions and Hebrew folk song in post-denominational prayer groups in Israel.

Selected Publications

Upcoming Publications:

Domestic echoes of liturgy and place in Juval Online.
Domestic traditions of Frankfurt, CD and booklet, joint publication of Daat Hamakom and the Jewish Music Research Center, Hebrew University

Selected articles:

Nigunim Atikim leChevra Chadasha: Zemirot Shabbat etzel Bnei Akiva veTzeirey  hatzionut hadatit” [Ancient Melodies for a New Society: Zemirot Shabbat among Bnei Akiva and Religious Zionist Youth] in Studies in Israeli and Modern Jewish Society, ( 2014: Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism). Vol. 6, pp. 713-740.
“Singing the Bible with a Modern Inflection: Biblical Aspects in Israeli Popular Music” in Journal of Synagogue Music. Vol. 34 (Fall 2009): 171-198.
Crossing Over; Sephardic Influences in the Liturgy of Ashkenazi Orthodox Jews of London  (VDM Verlag, 2008).
“Sephardic influences in the Liturgy of the Ashkenazi Orthodox Jews in England” in Journal of Synagogue Music, Vol. 32 (Fall 2007): 177-187.
“Attah Echad: from an Ashkenazi melody to a Hebrew song to a liturgical piece” [Hebrew] in Histaglut vesgulot bamusika haYehudit, ed. Yuval Shaked, University of Haifa Press, 2015. Pp. 55-68.