Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Our goal: To help our synagogue become a singing community

It all started with a link.

Early last April, a friend of ours from synagogue sent me a URL to some new Jewish music.  If you haven't yet discovered Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, I strongly recommend that you check out his album Chaverai Nevarech, especially if you're a fan of multi-part harmony.

Less than a month later, our son finally persuaded me to create a Facebook account, on the theory that, perhaps, more people would read my posts if I linked to them on FB.  That hasn't worked out quite as well as hoped.  But on the other hand, one of the first things I saw on Facebook was a link to this wonderful concert.

Next thing you know, I was checking out contemporary Jewish musicians on YouTube.

It was delightful.

But also depressing.

I stopped going to Friday night services at our synagogue years ago because our cantor treats the service as a race to the finish:  It includes maybe six songs--only two in Kabbalat Shabbat--and is over in about 20-25 minutes.  But, after hearing all that wonderful Jewish music on YouTube and Facebook, I finally decided, first, to stop objecting to instrumental music on Shabbat and, second, to start schlepping to shul on Shabbat by subway again in order to go to tune-full Kabbalat Shabbat services elsewhere.

My husband and I were having a wonderful time shul-hopping, but I began to wonder why we had to go elsewhere to hear all this marvelous music.  So I asked our cantor to teach the congregation some new songs.

And the cantor offered to teach some Carlebach tunes.

Leaving aside, for the moment, the controversy about Shlomo Carlebach's abusive behavior with women, there was another problem with the cantor's offer--Shlomo Carlebach has been deceased for over 20 years.  Was this truly the newest Jewish music that the cantor knew?!

So I informed the cantor that I would like to take over leading Adon Olam.

There's more to this story, but I don't want to bore you with one lonnnnnnnnnnnng post, so stay tuned for part 2.


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