Cohn Zentner

Bar-Ilan University
Thomas and Elissa Ellant Katz Fellowship

Research Topic

Religious Ritual Reenacted: A View from the Israeli Concert Stage


Naomi Cohn Zentner is an assistant professor in the Department of Music at Bar Ilan University. She was formerly the head of the M.A. program in Jewish music at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. Her Ph.D. from Hebrew University's Musicology department focused on the singing of Sabbath table songs (zemiroth shabbat) among Ashkenazi religious-Zionists in Israel. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Hebrew University’s Daat Hamakom Center for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World and a visiting fellow at the Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies focusing on early Jewish Music in 2019. Her research interests lie in historical ethnomusicology, sacred songs of the Ashkenazi domestic sphere, and the cross-fertilization of Ashkenazi and Sephardi liturgical traditions.

Selected publications

“The Secret of Many Voices: Blended Prayer in Israel from a Historic Perspective,” Kenishta: Studies of the Synagogue World 5 (forthcoming 2024).

“The Communal Aspect of Singing Zemiroth in the Religious Zionist Sector” (Hebrew), Ziyonut Datit 8 (2023).

“Singing at the Sabbath Table: Zemiroth as a Family History,” In The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Music, ed. T. Fruhauf (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2023)



This year is devoted to the study of sound and music as a part of Jewish life, and we are delighted to announce the cohort of scholars who will join us for a year of research, conversation, and engagement with the Penn community and with the public.