Dr. Gordon Dale Appointed the
Inaugural Dr. Jack Gottlieb Scholar in Jewish Music Studies
and Assistant Professor of Jewish Musicology
at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Gordon Dale as the Inaugural Dr. Jack Gottlieb Scholar in Jewish Music Studies at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music (DFSSM) at HUC-JIR in New York. This three-year appointment, effective July 1, 2022, has been made possible by a generous grant from the Theophilous Foundation, represented by Cantor Josh Breitzer ’11, which created the Dr. Jack Gottlieb Jewish Music Studies Endowment Fund. Concurrently, Dr. Dale has been appointed Assistant Professor of Jewish Musicology following an international search for the position. This milestone appointment will be celebrated with a special event on December 1, 2021 at 4:00 pm ET and available on Livestream.

During Dr. Dale’s time at the College-Institute, he has distinguished himself as a scholar of Jewish musicology and a dedicated teacher who is committed to supporting HUC students and their maturation as cantors. As the inaugural Dr. Jack Gottlieb Scholar in Jewish Music Studies, he will carry forward and honor the legacy and music of Dr. Gottlieb.

Dr. Dale will continue to serve a central role in the supervision of research projects of students in the cantorial program, along with the creative and performative elements emanating from those projects, as well as taking the lead on broader music scholarship at the College-Institute. Through this work, he will encourage the study and performance of Dr. Gottlieb’s music by the next generation of cantors and Jewish musicians and foster an understanding of and support for renewing and extending the Jewish repertoire in the spirit of the Theophilous Foundation’s commitment to the commissioning of “serious and innovative music for synagogues.”

Cantor Richard Cohn, DFSSM Director, notes, “Dr. Dale’s comprehensive involvement in areas of research and programming for the DFSSM makes him an ideal choice to serve as the inaugural Dr. Jack Gottlieb Scholar.”

The DFSSM is recognized as the primary center of Jewish liturgical practice engaged with the renewal and integration of works within the contemporary environment of public worship. This mission uniquely positions the DFSSM to house Dr. Gottlieb’s compositions and writings, make them accessible to all for study and interpretation, and ensure that Dr. Gottlieb’s music is performed in perpetuity, while encouraging faculty and students to be actively engaged in the composition of new Jewish music that honors his lifetime achievements.

The Dr. Jack Gottlieb Jewish Music Studies Endowment Fund supports the teaching, research, and publications of the Dr. Jack Gottlieb Scholar in Jewish Music; provides annual support and recognition for composers over the age of 50; and presents an annual award to a composer of new Jewish worship music. It thus furthers Dr. Gottlieb’s principles and tangible work in the foreground of Jewish music worldwide and sustains Dr. Gottlieb’s acclaimed legacy.

Dr. Gordon Dale has served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music (DFSSM) at HUC-JIR/New York. He most recently conducted extensive research in the Hasidic communities of New York and Israel, and he lectures across the United States on topics related to Israeli popular music, as well as Jewish music and mysticism. He is currently the Executive Director of The Jewish Music Forum, a project of the American Society for Jewish Music, and a past-president of the Society for Ethnomusicology’s Special Interest Group for Jewish Music. He holds a Ph.D. from The Graduate Center, CUNY, an M.A. from Tufts University, and a B.S. from Northeastern University.

Dr. Jack Gottlieb, z”l, (1930-2011) was an internationally recognized composer of Jewish liturgical music and choral, opera, theater, and orchestral works, and a leading authority on Leonard Bernstein’s music. As Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence at the DFSSM, his influence now extends to generations of cantorial students. Dr. Gottlieb was an authority, author, and lecturer on the influence of Jewish popular, folk, theatrical, and liturgical music traditions on the rise of American popular music. He was a vocal proponent of reforging a connection between learned cantorial-training and aesthetic standards in American synagogues, and he advocated for liturgical music appropriate to the dignity of prayer and the sophistication of Hebrew liturgy. Dr. Gottlieb was awarded the posthumous Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by HUC in 2011 at Graduation Ceremonies in New York, where his composition Eitz Chayim was performed by HUC’s cantorial students. A memorial concert commemorating his life and work was held on his third yahrzeit in 2014 at HUC in New York, and the dedication of the Dr. Jack Gottlieb Jewish Music Studies Endowment Fund, by a gift from the Theophilous Foundation, took place on October 13, 2020, in honor of what would have been his 90th birthday.


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