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Changing words of an anthem – a Jewish angle

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13.01.2021

There’s a Jewish angle to everything! Including changing the words of a National Anthem!

For the benefit of non-Australians: as of January 1, 2021 an alteration was made in the first couplet of Advance Australia Fair, our Australian National Anthem. The old version read: Australians all let us rejoice / For we are young and free. This second line now reads For we are one and free . It was felt that the characterisation of Australia as “young” excludes those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island descent who have inhabited the continent for millennia.

The Jewish view on changing words in a National Anthem is, quite simply, that it’s allowed! There is nothing sacrosanct about a national anthem (especially the Australian one – more on that later!). Only the Torah cannot be changed! (Even within change-resistant Orthodox Jewish society, cultural shifts impinging on minhag and tradition have been evident in the last few generations. For example, when I was growing up, it would have been unheard of to intone parts of the Shabbat service such as the Shacharit and Musaph kedusha in anything other than the traditional freygish and Mixolydian modalities respectively, and........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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