Rabbi James Stone Goodman, Rabbi Zach Fredman and the Epichorus present a weekly video series, offering a palette of little wisdoms by way of the Judeo-Arabic musical tradition – Maqam.   According to ancient Sephardi custom, every Torah portion is associated with a musical mode called a Maqam.

Maqam  - a set of notes, with traditions that define the relationship between them, their patterns and expression.  A musical mode.  The Maqamat (plural) are patient, inwardly drawn, they are roomy enough for poetry. We worked the concept of the give-and-take between poetry and music.

Below is our current episode.  For more information on this site, click here, or check out some of the ways to make MAQAM your own!

#42 - Matot (Maqam Nawa)

Dried out inflexible the staff the stick

the exile of the partial from the whole

my nation among the nations

me from myself

the tribe –

 

Soul’s journey out from G*d

Soul soft and moist

inflexible and brittle

souls dried out and far away –

 

O divine moistness.

 

Souls in exile

a connection with the Source

or a sense of far-away.

 

Inflexible to our origins dried out

either softening to the tree

or broken off and brittle –

 

O relational source.

O tree of life.

 

James Stone Goodman - Rabbi. Poet. Awad (oud man).

 

About The Maqam Project:

I'm not quite sure how this project came to be. Sometimes our best creations come to life that way.  I grew up around the corner from Reb Jimi - he taught me how to improvise, "find the notes," he said. 

Jimi and I share many appreciations: Maqam, Oudism, the meeting place of poetry and music, Youtube.  

I am a devotee of his poetry and teachings, and I knew he had some pieces based in Maqam - an arabic musical system which I have studied for the last few years.   

The Jews of the Arab world, from Aleppo, Cairo, and Damascus, were great lovers of this music, and they came to assign musical modes to each Torah portion, based upon the colors of  the weekly wisdom.   I thought - why not create a modern articulation for this beautiful practice of joining music and word?  This is MAQAM.  You have arrived at the Place.  Welcome.

 

 Zach Fredman - Rabbi. Producer. Awad (oud man).

This is a project of The New Shul's Rabbinic Chavurah.

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