Marsha Bryan Edelman

By the mid-point of the 20th century, American Jews were ready for a new kind of synagogue music: reverent melodies that effectively represented their texts, but that bore a contemporary stamp that would move modern worshipers. Max Janowski (1912-1991) was a Chicago-based composer who was uniquely able to create new liturgical settings in which cantor, choir and congregation could all participate.

His heartfelt setting of “Avinu Malkeinu,” from the High Holy Day liturgy, has become an iconic symbol of the best of Jewish music, equally at home in the synagogue and on the concert stage. HaZamir has sung many of these “classic” synagogue works, helping a new generation of singers, and their audiences, to understand the evolution of Jewish musical tradition.