What happens when the world of Jewish music and arts encounters the religious Jewish world? Most often beautiful music is made and sometimes controversy is born. Such is the case here in Montreal. Socalled, which includes female singer Katie Moore, was asked to perform at the Ghetto Shul– a synagogue known for, it’s easy-going vibe, for attracting young people and for having lots of live music. The issue at hand: having a woman sing on the stage of an orthodox synagogue in front of a mixed crowd. There are many rules surrounding the idea of modesty within Judaism, one subsection of which are the rules applying to “a woman’s voice” or in Hebrew: Kol isha.
Leibish Hundert, the rabbi at the synagogue said he would investigate the issue, but, not having received an answer promptly, Josh Dolgin- aka Socalled, announced on Facebook (the bulletin board for the global shtetl) that he was not pleased with the situation. Thus, the controversy was born.
Where does the concept of kol isha come from? How is the young rabbi going to proceed on handling this issue? What are the larger issues at hand? We’ll speak with Rabbi Judith Hauptman, a professor at The Jewish Theological Seminary and a feminist Talmudic scholar. Rabbi Hauptman is the author of Rereading the Rabbis: A Woman’s Voice.
Thanks for listening to this woman’s voice,