The Contemporary Piyyut Symposium

All events held at the President’s Room at Coffman Memorial Union, UMN Twin Cities campus, unless otherwise noted on the schedule. All events will be live streamed (link coming soon)

Piyyutim, Jewish liturgical songs sung in religious services, ceremonies, and gatherings, make up an archive of thousands of poems and melodies composed and performed by Jewish communities around the world. Over the past twenty years, the Middle Eastern and North African piyyut tradition has become the object of wide interest and unprecedented creative evolution. The piyyut now circulates in new virtual media, and it bridges, sometimes uneasily, diverse communities, cultures, and languages. Performers, participants, and audiences include secular and religious, Mizrahi, Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews, from across the political spectrum.

The Contemporary Piyyut Symposium is dedicated to appearances of piyyutim in contemporary culture. It is an academic event – exploring topics such as recent shifts in the settings in which piyyutim are performed; the ongoing exchange between the piyyut archive and other art forms and medias; the sociocultural and political contexts in which piyyutim function today; and the ways they connect various communities and identities – as well as an experiential and performative one, featuring participatory workshops by contemporary artists whose work engages histories of the piyyut.

See the full schedule of events.

All events are free and open to the public. Link for live-streaming is forthcoming.


November 14 @ 9:45 am
November 15 @ 9:30 pm
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University of Minnesota – Coffman Memorial Union
300 Washington Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455 United States
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(612) 624-4636


Center for Jewish Studies