Nigunim: Ḥasidic Meditative Melodies

Monday, May 31, 2021 at 7:30 pm— The Journeys of Jewish Music series sponsored by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir continues with Rabbi Matt Ponak presenting Nigunim: Ḥasidic Meditative Melodies.

There are gates in heaven that cannot be opened except by melody and song.” — Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, 18th century

The Hebrew word nigun literally means “melody.” It is commonly understood as a meditative song without words. Since the origins of the Ḥasidic movement in the 1700s, nigunim (pl.) have been sung alone, or in groups, to cultivate an experiential connection with the Divine. Some nigunim are joyful, some are sad, others are deep and contemplative. Join Rabbi Matthew Ponak for an exploration of the different shades of Ḥasidic melodies through stories, teachings, and live singing. 

Rabbi Matthew Ponak is a musician and teacher of embodied transformation. His 2016 album Bridges of Song contains traditional and original nigunim with bluegrass instrumentation. Rabbi Matthew received ordination through Hebrew College Rabbinical School and also holds an MA in Contemplative Religions from the Buddhist-inspired Naropa University. He weaves world wisdom with ancient Jewish insights when he teaches and leads contemplative singing. 

To register for this session, please send an email to the following address:

For further information on Journeys in Jewish Music,  please consult: or contact Carol at:

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An inclusive, warm, and progressive Conservative synagogue in Victoria, B.C.

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