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Campus Pick: Techiya celebrates spirit of Jewish religion and music through a capella



Directed by Raquell L. Lieberman.

Featuring Jewish songs in English, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Ladino.

Singing has long been central to Jewish culture. This tradition stems in part from the Sabbath, during which many Jews refrain from using musical instruments. Outside of this religious constraint, love for Jewish and Israeli songs is still alive and strong, especially among many young university students.

MIT's Jewish a cappella group, Techiya, has celebrated this rich heritage of singing for almost two years. But Techiya members haven't done it alone. They commonly perform with Jewish a cappella groups from neighboring schools. Together with Harvard's Mizmor Shir and Brandeis' Manginah, Techiya gave a concert last April that completely filled the Student Center's Twenty Chimneys. And in January, the group was invited to sing with Yale's highly respected Magevet group.

The existence of such singing groups reflects more than a trend. Techiya's name has roots in the bellowing of the shofar by ancient Jews for battle and religious holidays. Any inspiration borrowed from the group's name reaches deep into the Jewish spirit. After a recent concert for the Council of Jewish Federations General Assembly, Techiya, and Brown's Kol B'Yachad shared a spiritual experience singing various Jewish songs for over two hours in a lobby. This kind of warmth and intimacy is at the heart of the Jewish tradition of sharing feelings through song and prayer, and will undoubtedly be present at Techiya's concert this weekend.