German Medieval Jews were very much aware of the differences between their music and the music of the gentiles, and they adhered to their music religious values. This awareness was applied on a prohibition to sing lullaby with tunes that were used in church or even ordinary non-Jewish tunes. Music was one of the self-identifying instruments of medieval Jews. In my paper I would to show that in addition to this self-identifying element, music was also used as a religious signifier. During the 13th century we find for the first time, evidence that different tunes were used for different sections in the Jewish prayers. In the late 14th century we have already evidence for a fixed tradition of specific tune for specific prayers, a tradition that was considered a binding law.
In my opinion, the liturgical poem was a decisive instrument in the socialization process of retaining the group memory and in the passing on of messages. In my paper I am going to talk about some examples read during the Shavuot (Pentecost) service. We have some manuscripts which have commentaries on those poems, written with the aim of assisting the readers and hearers in understanding the poem. I will analyze those manuscripts in which illustrations were drawn next to the poem, and will examine the connection between the poem, the commentary and the illustration and the messages emanating from it. The major importance and innovation of the study lies in its combining of different research disciplines. An interdisciplinary research that combines historical, literary and art research so as to examine the special characteristics of Jewish communities in the Middle Ages.