Sephardi Piyyutim, Spirituality and Movement

Piyyutim are liturgical poems recited in Jewish prayer services and life cycle celebrations. For centuries piyyutim have been composed across the Jewish diaspora. In the Middle Ages Sephardic poets such as Judah Ha-Levi,  Shlomo Ibn Gabirol  and Avrahm ibn Ezra composed piyyutim that found their ways into prayer books and services.  Later, Ashkenazim poets composed piyyutim that have also found a place in prayer books. And today, piyyutim continue to be composed and find their ways into prayer services and the liturgy.  They fill the gaps between prayers of praise and supplication, and are sung to any number of melodies

My class will examine the general structure of piyyutim.  But it will concentrate on two or three classic Sephardic piyyutim and melodies. We will explore the meaning and central themes of the texts.  Then we will learn to sing them together.   Finally, we will combine melody and movement for a total immersion in the piyyutim that unites melody, voice, breath and body.

This combination of breath, voice and movement generate holistic spiritual experience and enriches our prayer ‘s experience and our connection to the divine.


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