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With Shruti Boxes and Drums, Practitioners Chanting Their Way into Judaism

By Ben Harris — 2010

In a darkened room at a synagogue affiliated with the Jewish Renewal movement, 20 women gather by candlelight for Rabbi Shefa Gold’s monthly Jewish chant circle. As a shruti box drones and a hand drum keeps rhythm, many rock in their seats, their eyes closed and faces lifted in almost ecstatic rapture while they chant biblical verses and liturgical phrases Gold has selected for the evening.

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