Saul Kaye: Jewish Blues

December 11, 2015

“So where does the African blues tradition come from that has been the foundation for so much of the music that has shaped American culture? Multiple volumes have been written on this subject so I won’t go into detail about it, however, one truth rings through all the writings which is that the African Slave experience (particularly in America) is the common denominator.

“Jews have been enslaved in many countries over the centuries including Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Rome, Greece, Germany, and Malta. So, like the African Slave experience proved to be a catalyst for blues, so the path of Jewish history fostered its own form of soulful tears, from Jews crying out in Egyptian slavery (Exodus) to the prophet Jeremiah weeping over the destruction of the Temple in Eicha (Lamentations), Jews know the pain of spiritual crisis and call to Hashem with their own form of blues. You can hear it in the synagogue when the Torah and the books of Prophets are read, chanted in tropes passed down through time, recounting forbearers’ sorrows on days of tragedy like Tisha B’Av, or remembering celebrations of freedom on Passover, when Jews recall the Israelite’s “Song at the Sea,” as the waters of freedom parted.

“The purpose of this book and CD is to take the Jewish experience and blend it with the African one, much like my own journey, taking Jewish stories and putting them to African-based blues. I add in characters from The Torah (the Five Books of Moses) and The Prophets. I stir in Biblical narratives in the gumbo of African American blues and serve it up as a cross cultural stew. I’ll be taking great liberties musically, historically, spiritually, and culturally here, so join me as we travel back in time, listen to the CD and read along with insights to the songs.”

This event is one of many program and lectures in honor of Rabbi Ronne Friedman. In Rabbi Friedman’s time at Temple Israel, and together with Cantor Einhorn, the musical component has transformed from a traditional to a more participatory experience. Similarly, Saul Kaye incorporates spirituality into everyday life by exploring Torah, liturgy, and Jewish history through blues music.

Learn more at

Event Location: Temple Israel of Boston
477 Longwood Ave, Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, 02215

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Fact Sheet
From Friday, December 11, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Until Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm

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