Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel presents an exclusive screening of To Bigotry No Sanction, a new cantata composed by Jonathan Comisar.
“I love the way that the music starts out by evoking ancient Jewish sadness only to erupt into the excitement of fife and drums in the new American setting brought about by the Constitution. You save your most momentous music for Washington’s most profound words—to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance—and you invest them with all the weight and majesty they deserve.
How wonderful that the cantata then slows into a mood of tranquility and peace, suggestive of the bright future of the Jews in America, but with a residual undercurrent of solemnity that reminds us that this history won’t be free of trouble and that antisemitism hasn’t been stamped out. By employing many languages and performing the cantata with a diverse cast and orchestra, you have endowed George Washington’s words with universal meaning and honored his high-minded vision.”
— Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Washington: A Life”
ABOUT THE EVENT
In 1790, President George Washington wrote his historic Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, declaring, “…happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance…”
In 2016, KI Cantor Amy Levy commissioned Jonathan Comisar to write a cantata.
KI Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, PhD, an eminent scholar of American Jewish history, collaborated with Comisar to create a new cantata based on the letter that is the foundation of the American Jewish experience. Comisar’s stunning new work embodies touchstones of Jewish and American music in an orchestral/choral setting.
On June 2, 2021, KI will present a free, virtual premiere of To Bigotry No Sanction featuring members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and a multicultural choir representing 17 languages.
Recognizing the dichotomy of Washington’s words and deeds towards colonial Jews and his own slaves, the performance will be followed by a conversation with Jonathan Comisar and Rabbi Lance Sussman, moderated by Emmy-award winning filmmaker Sam Katz of History Making Productions.
This event is free to all. No registration is required for this prerecorded event. CLICK TO WATCH.
Thank You to Our Partners
We are grateful to these organizations for their support in sharing To Bigotry No Sanction with the world.
Am Shalom, Glencoe, IL
American Conference of Cantors
American Jewish Committee (AJC) Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey
American Jewish Historical Society
American Sephardi Federation
American Society for Jewish Music
Center for Jewish History
Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University
Central Synagogue, New York City, NY
Cheltenham Area Multifaith Council (CAMC)
Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Elkins Park, PA
Congregation Beth Or, Ambler, PA
Congregation B’nai B’rith, Santa Barbara, CA
Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco, CA
Congregation Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia, PA
Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, Philadelphia, PA
Germantown Jewish Centre, Philadelphia, PA
Guild of Temple Musicians
Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion | Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music
Historical Society of Pennsylvania
History Making Productions
Kehillah of Old York Road
Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
Main Line Reform Temple, Wynnewood, PA
Leo Baeck Institute
Manhattan School of Music
Museum of the American Revolution
Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, Wynnewood, PA
Temple B’nai Or, Morristown, NJ
Temple Emanu-El, Dallas, TX
Temple Israel, Boston, MA
The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
The Temple, Atlanta, GA
The Union League Legacy Foundation
Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, DC
YIVO | Institute for Jewish Research