Kol Ishah: Jewish Chicks Rock

Kol ishah is the singing voice of a woman, and something observant Jewish men are forbidden to hear. Too bad for them, because they are missing out. They are not listening to the voices of today’s Jewish women rock musicians, something that even those of us who do not observe kol ishah did not have the privilege of hearing until recently.  Back when I was growing up there were American female rockers who were Jewish, like Pat Benatar, and there were Israeli women rock singers. Girls (and the rest of us) today, however, can look up to young American women who not only rock out, but do so to lyrics that incorporate traditional Jewish liturgical texts, make references to biblical narratives and convey authentic Jewish values and messages. Musicians like Chana Rothman, Naomi Less and Sarah Aroeste aren’t merely rockers who are Jewish. They’re Jewish rockers.

It is also exciting to see how these singers naturally and seamlessly switch between English and Hebrew in their songs. Chana Rothman, whose songs I find to be exceptionally intelligent and well written, does this especially well. This singing in multiple languages within a single song also seems to be a trend among Israeli women singers like HaBanot Nechama and Yael Naim (who sings in French, as well as English and Hebrew). I like this fluidity and breaking down of boundaries, which I have a feeling has a lot to do with the far more globalized world young people live in today.

Read the rest at Truth, Praise & Help.

Renee Ghert-Zand is a Jewish educator and writer living in Palo Alto, CA.

Topics: Music
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Pat Benatar is not Jewish. Her first husband seems to have been. That's where she got the last name from. Her maiden name is actually Polish.

Pat Benatar is not Jewish. Apparently her first husband was.

At the following link you can listen to a Jewish rap I wrote and recorded. I think you'll get a kick out of it. A cool detail is that have performed it for non-Jewish audiences all the way to Satmar Chassidishe ladies in Monroe and every type of audience in between, and it goes over well with everyone, which never ceases to amaze me. Anyway, enjoy!


How to cite this page

Ghert-Zand, Renee. "Kol Ishah: Jewish Chicks Rock." 3 February 2010. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on October 4, 2023) <https://jwa.org/blog/jewish-chicks-rock>.

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