StylesOn this radio station you will find the following music styles;
Messianic MusicMusic styles have changed over the years, but one thing does not change, and this is the association that we have with our memories.
Certain kinds of music will always resonate deeper with us than others. I enjoy the sound of Bob Marley, but I suspect that Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights" carries more meaning for Jamaicans from Marley's generation. I love Indian food, but it's not as familiar as my grandma's rugelach. Remember the scene in the film Ratatouille where the food critic is instantly transported back to the sounds and smells of his mother's home by eating one bite of ratatouille? Music is similar.
Some Background on Messianic Music
It was this resonance that made Messianic music in the 70s and 80s fresh, unique and instantly recognizable.
Joel Chernoff, Paul Wilbur and Stuart Dauermann were among those who produced an array of Messianic music that listeners both Jewish and non-Jewish could enjoy.
Often, they fused Eastern European Jewish minor chord progressions, danceable freilachs and Israel-focused lyrics.
It was a familiar, lively sound that is still pulsing through many Messianic congregations today.
When Jews for Jesus began in the early 70s, there were many young, talented Jewish believers who were seeking ways to express their Jewishness and their "Jesus-ness." Fortunately for the budding Messianic Jewish movement, they were encouraged to use their gifts. Some of this encouragement came from the churches who were interested in hearing fresh Jewish cultural expressions of faith.
At that time the landscape of the Jewish community was different than today.
Many Jewish believers had been raised within a first or second-generation Jewish immigrant community and were familiar with Eastern European Jewish culture.
Some had grown up with Yiddish-speaking parents or grandparents and many had firsthand experience of anti-Semitism.
Most were also first-generation in their faith and paid a price for following Y'shua, sometimes being cut off from family and friends.
Consequently, the Liberated Wailing Wall reflected American Jewish culture and the personal faith journeys of its members.
Much of the music reflected an Eastern European Jewish sound; the performances had a Fiddler on the Roof look and feel.
Though the team accomplished a lot, times have changed.
Today, fewer and fewer Jewish people relate to that kind of music.
The Jewish community has become increasingly diverse.
Sephardic Jewish culture, for example, has gotten belated recognition from Ashkenazic Jews.
Jewish people tend to be less connected than in previous generations to Eastern European shtetl culture.
Tuvya Zaretsky did his doctoral work on ministry to Jewish intermarried couples.
He noted that at the time he wrote, about 2004, the intermarriage rate among American Jews stood at around 50%, while in the case of cohabiting Jewish people, 81% lived with Gentiles.
The children of Jewish-Gentile couples also intermarried 75% of the time. Many of these Gentile partners had some kind of Christian background.
This means that for many Jewish people today, Jesus and the church are not as far removed from Jewish upbringing as they once were.
And intermarriage has broadened the ethnic diversity of the Jewish people.
Music, Worship and Truth
Throughout history, music has played an important role in worship, the expression of truth and the affirmation of peoplehood.
Jewish people have an especially rich history of musical expression. The Scriptures were memorized and meditated upon through chanting and singing.
Theological truths were often conveyed through the poetry.
The Psalms carried theological significance that was set to a meter and melody familiar to the people of Israel.
The work of the psalmists helped foster corporate Jewish identity and provided a context for approaching God's truth.
The Psalms served as the songbook of the worshiping people of God throughout the ages.
Songs memorialized God's faithfulness and the history of Israel. Psalm 98:1-9 called Israel to "sing a new song." Moses did just that upon crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1–18). Deborah sang a victory song after the king of Canaan was killed (Judges 5:1–31). David sang a song of lament over the death of Saul and Jonathan in 2 Samuel 1:17–21.
We also find songs in the Good News. Mary bursts into praise in Luke 1:46-55 after being chosen to be the mother of the Messiah; Philippians 2:1-30 is considered one of the earliest New Testament hymns.
And many throughout history have continued to contribute to this tradition, from Syriac sacral music to Martin Luther, a music lover whose hymns such as "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" are still sung in churches around the world today.
The American Moravian movement, for instance, used music to express their faith, writing a huge corpus of sonnets and arias, many of which are highly esteemed by classical music listeners today.
Music and Social Change
Music has united people for social change. We see this in both the secular and Jewish arenas.
Sometimes the change is for the better, sometimes for the worse, but it is undeniable.
The St. Petersburg Society for Jewish Folkmusic, founded in 1908, was comprised of graduates of the St. Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories who rediscovered their Jewish national roots and created a new genre of Jewish art music.
Numerous Israeli composers have been important in affirming Israeli identity, such as Paul Ben Haim, who was known for nationalistic themes.
Today, Matisyahu has raised the Jewish profile through his Hasidic image and as of late a return to a western image with a shaved, beardless face.
Music, a Catalyst for Personal Change
Music not only can bring about social change, but personal change as well. Sometimes it does this by bypassing the usual channels of information and truth.
Aaron Abramson wrote ;
When I was serving with Jews for Jesus in New York, I went to Yale University one summer for a time of outreach. There I met a Jewish student who was an English major.
He had been studying Milton's Paradise Lost and had become rather spiritually interested.
But ultimately it was the evocative Christian lyrics of an artist named David Bazan of the band Pedro the Lion that had raised the issue of Jesus in a way that caused him to pursue more answers. We were able to discuss the New Testament in more depth as a result.
Similarly, Moishe Rosen's wife Ceil became receptive to the gospel after listening to Christmas carols.
There was something about the music that made the truths of the gospel approachable for her.
A stylistic mix with a messageAs we this history from Jews for Jesus on Messianic music we understand that the messianic music truly spans styles from Classical to Rock but with a deep root in the middle eastern sounds, in a language mixed with Hebrews and Jiddish.
Galilee of the Nations write;
While Jews and Christians everywhere commemorated the miracle of the restoration of the Jewish people to their Land, another restoration of sorts was also occurring there: the restoration of an ancient sound, one reminiscent of those that once echoed through the halls of King David's palace, and along the corridors of Solomon's temple—a harmony of harps and lyres, of trumpets and tambourines, of Levites singing Hodu L' Adonai Ki Tov (Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good) with the company of Israel replying, Ki L'Olam Chasdo (His mercy endures forever)" (Psalm 107, 118 and 136).
That restored sound would flourish by way of a newly-formed record label, Galilee of the Nations (GOTN) and its inaugural Messianic praise and worship album, Adonai.
This was the first project of its kind, a first-rate production featuring Messianic recording artists from the Land of Israel, including Karen Davis, Barry and Batya Segal, Esther "Eti" Horesh and others. The compilation received immediate international acclaim, securing distribution in 160 countries and selling over 250,000 CDs—and still counting.