Bookshelf of old copies of J. Previous names of this publication have included Emanu-El and Jewish Bulletin. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)
Previous names of this publication have included Emanu-El and The Jewish Bulletin. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)

Biblical music research (1932); Citizenship for Druze in Israel (1982)

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Feb. 26, 1932

Hebrew Bible Music Research Revealed

“A study, already monumental, on the music of the books of the Hebrew Pentateuch has been made by Prof. Salomo Rosowsky of the Palestine Institute for Musical Sciences,” says Olin Downes in a recent Sunday New York Times. Mr. Downes, music critic of that sheet, devoted his entire feature space to a minute account of this amazing work.

He says in part: “This study deciphers and aims ultimately to reveal in its original form the chant and melos of the music of the Old Testament.”

Curiously enough, while the most exhaustive studies of the grammar and the philosophical and theological aspects of the Hebrew Bible have been made, and have piled up an immense literature, the music of the Hebrew Bible has been known principally by oral tradition, passed down through the centuries, and without doubt greatly dispersed and modified in the process.

We have historical knowledge of the role of music in the Jewish service. We have historical data concerning old instruments, ceremonies of performance, etc. Finally, we know that the text of the Old Testament has been chanted for centuries. But it appears to be only now that an exhaustive and scientific study of the Jewish musical heritage of the Old Testament is being made by a scholar and musician whose background and gifts qualify him admirably for the task.

Feb. 26, 1982

Sees Israel Citizenship Accepted by Golan Druze

Syria did little for the Druze residents of the Golan Heights from 1948 until 1967 when Israel captured the area: consequently, a “majority” of those Druze will probably opt for Israeli citizenship, according to Farhat Bearany, a Druze teacher and journalist who lives in Daliat El Carmel near Haifa.

Israel extended full citizenship to its Druze population in 1948, the first time the sect enjoyed full and equal rights in their homeland. Up until that time, members of the secret sect were persecuted in whatever country they’d lived in the past, according to Bearany.

This is the example that such people as Bearany is using to help persuade the 15,000 or so Druze residents of the Golan to opt for Israeli citizenship. “But they have conflicts,” he explained, “as many still have family in Syrian and their sons are in the Syrian army. So many are afraid because the Syrians may punish their sons for their parents becoming Israeli.”

There are about 45,000 Druze living in Israel. About 300,000 live in Syria and another 200,000 in Lebanon. In those two countries, his people are a “minority within a majority,” Bearany explained, and do not have full rights as they do in Israel.

For the Druze of the Golan, the Israeli influence since 1967 has been “very positive.” Their standard of living has been raised; health care and education standards are considerably better “which is different than in Arab lands,” Bearany said. In Arab countries, he said, “Druze are persecuted because we are a reformist movement” and do not accept Islamic precepts.

Bearany predicted that most of the Golan Druze will accept Israeli citizenship when its sheikh leaders decide to take the step.