Although those who daven (pray) regularly rarely think of it in these terms because they take it so for granted, music plays an irreducibly crucial role in Jewish prayer
On the most basic level, if the proper nusach, or musical mode, is being used by a Hazzan or other prayer leader, a knowledgeable Jew will, immediately upon entering a synagogue prayer service, be able to tell whether it is a Shabbat, holiday, or weekday, or, for that matter, one of the High Holidays. The words that make up our prayer book are not “said,” per se, but chanted, according to traditional customs and melodies that often date back thousands of years.
There are so many student clubs at New York University that it takes a lot for one of them to get noticed. So the Iranian Jewish Club, which was launched five years ago but has kept a low profile, tried something guaranteed to make a splash: a little glamour.
More than 300 people packed into the Rosenthal Pavilion in the Kimmel Center at NYU recently to get a glimpse of sparkly gowns, flashy cocktail dresses, hip-hop outfits and graceful wedding gowns parading down the runway.