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by Miles Hoffman
TODAY is the first day of Rosh Hashana, the holiday that marks the beginning of the Jewish new year. For the next 10 days, through Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Jews around the world will gather to chant the prayers of the High Holy Days to melodies that have been used for generations. Some of the melodies will be simple and some complex, and some will be particularly beautiful. What almost none of them will be is “classical”: Western classical composition, the dominant feature of Christian sacred music for more than a millennium, remains mostly absent from Jewish liturgical music.