The traditional piyutim (psalms) sung by the Jews of the Arab world are undergoing a revival. Now these treasures, which were lost or forgotten, are being collected on a single website. The Jewish Standard reports:
Click herefor a Moroccan rendition of the Hanucah piyut Maoz Tsur.
The web site of the “Invitation to Piyut”
initiative explains its mission very well, starting with the history of
the ‘Piyut’ itself:
vast majority of the poetic and musical creativity of the Jews emerged
in various Diaspora communities during the past two millennia. Since the
founding of the State of Israel and the immigration of the majority of
these ancient Diaspora communities to Israel, large sections of the
great tradition of piyut have been lost or forgotten. Finding access to
the remnants that remain is not easy. The brief history of the modern
period created, in many cases, a gap between the tradition of the past
and the modern society and culture that developed in Israel. Tradition
generally, and the legacy of piyut in particular, has stayed alive and
meaningful only among a small portion of the Israeli population.
“As time has passed, the need for people to
connect with these roots has grown greatly. It is a need to access the
voices calling from the depths of time, absorbed in emotion and wisdom
of the many generations that sang these piyutim. We will widen and
deepen our language and understand ourselves and our nation better as
part of understanding our ancestors and their traditions better.
“The Avi Chai Foundation – which promotes as
its central goal making possible a warm and open passage for all Jews to
their heritage – is pleased to support the foundation of the website “Invitation to Piyut.”