shalem

Buy the album Shalem




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Here’s info on the songs from my new album Shalem. I’ll keep this page updated over time. Hope you enjoy the music! If you like what you hear, please be supportive and purchase the songs. Many thanks!

1. Blessing (Lech L’cha) – For many, Debbie Friedman is a pioneer in the musical scene of the Jewish Reform movement, having introduced folk music and crowd participation to the services. Debbie was not only a beloved member of Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim, but she also premiered one of her most famous songs L’chi Lach at BCC back in 1986, which she wrote together with Savina Teubal. I really wanted to pay tribute to Debbie Friedman, not only for the great musician and educator she was, but also for her strong ties with BCC. Lech L’cha samples Debbie’s original vocals in a song that – similar to L’chi Lach – is about one’s journey and trusting that somehow things fall into place.

ישנו נהר
וגשר צר
והעיקר-לא לפחד כלל
מסילות ומזוודות
אפשרויות ואין סוף מטרות
משהו מכוון, מישהו מחשב
סולל את דרכך
מישהו מקשיב
בין ברלין לתל-אביב
לכי לך
אל תעצור תמשיך לנוע
אל הווה גלוי
עתיד לא ידוע
לך לך
בקצה המטרה
האופק נושא הבטחה
לכי לך
גם אם תרגיש אבוד
מי יודע מה יקרה
בדרכך אל המחר
and you shall be a blessing
and you shall be a blessing
לכי לך
ואם תביט לאחור
מה שזרעת בדמעה ברינה תקצור
געגועים בך אוחזים
כשמעבר לחלון
מתווסף לו זכרון
תמשיך להאמין
שמישהו מקשיב
מישהו מנווט
מישהו מחשב
שבדרכך תהיה לברכה
לכי לך…
and when you go,
go for yourself
as you make your way
through your time and space
be fearless
תמשיך להאמין…

2. L’cha Dodi – a melody I originally wrote for Psalms 85:11 found its way to this Poem sung on Friday nights to greet the Shabbat. The harmonies on the chorus just came out very spontaneously.

Here’s a live-version of the song, performed during the Album’s release concert. Thanks to Tamara Wolfson for the harmonic support!

3. Ma’ariv Aravim– I try to purchase new music every time I’m in Israel for a visit. I discovered this setting during a visit in 2011 in a Hassidic Music songbook, introduced it to my congregation, received quite fond response for it and have been singing it ever since every Friday night. The wonderful Katie Cox happened to be in the studio during the recording of this song and you can hear her in the added-on instrumental part.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe,
who speaks the evening into being,
skillfully opens the gates,
thoughtfully alters the time and changes the seasons,
and arranges the stars in their heavenly courses according to plan.
You are Creator of day and night,
rolling light away from darkness and darkness from light,
transforming day into night and distinguishing one from the other.
Adonai Tz’vaot is Your Name.From the Reform Prayerbook Mishkan T’fillah

4. This year’s trip to Berlin with the Cantors Assembly made me look back at the astonishing catalogue of Cantorial music written in the late 19th century when reform Judasim was blooming in most of Western Europe. I love Naumbourg’s majestic setting for Psalm 100 and yes, I also love electronic music and kind of inspired by William Orbit’s work, I wanted to give Psalm 100 a modern interpretation. Hope you like the result.
Like Ma’ariv Aravim, the response for

5. R’tzeh, when I first shared it with BCC during the High Holidays was wonderful. It always humbles me when congregants report about a very specific moment during services when their spirit is touched. R’tzeh created one of those moments.Find Favor, Adonai, Our God, with your people Israel

and accept their prayer in love.
May the worship of Your people Israel always be acceptable.
God who is near to all who call, turn lovingly to your servants.
Pour out your spirit upon us.From the Reform Prayerbook Mishkan T’fillah

6. House Of New Life was written especially for BCC’s new building dedication and premiered on that occasion.
Once more, it’s on this album celebrating BCC’s 40th anniversary. Davi Cheng and Lauren Schlau, both BCC members blow the Shofar. Lyrics by Tamara Kline and me:

Im ein ani li mi li,
V’im lo achshav eimatai

May you come in love
May you come in peace
May you open the door
And find what you need
May you be amazed
with what we achieve
When we’re working together
May you find your truth
May you find your faith
May you find compassion
Comfort and strength
May you feel blessed
in this community
That we’re building together
If I’m not for myself, who am I?
Yet we know we need each other

THIS IS OUR VISION
THIS IS OUR HOME
WE CAN BE WHO WE ARE
AND KNOW WE’RE NOT ALONE
WITH ALL OUR HEARTS
OUR SOULS AND MIGHT
TOGETHER WE’LL BUILD
A HOUSE OF NEW LIFE

May we stand up in hope
May we reach out with care
With dreams to discover
And a world to repair
May we feel the power
the power of one
When we’re singing together

If we’re not for ourselves,

who are we then?
If we’re in this together…
If not now, when?

THIS IS OUR VISION
THIS IS OUR HOME
WE CAN BE WHO WE ARE
AND KNOW WE’RE NOT ALONE
WITH ALL OUR HEARTS
OUR SOULS AND MIGHT
TOGETHER WE’LL BUILD
A HOUSE OF NEW LIFE

Gather around in the
House of New Life
Stand up in the House of New Life
Reach out in the House of New Life
Celebrate in the
House of New Life (4x)

7. Matay‘s lyrics were written by BCC member Henry Wudl. I loved the tenderness of the lyrics and setting the melody to it and glad it made its way on the album. It’s one of those songs that just came along the way very unexpectedly.

8. I met the wonderfully talented Cantor Magda Fishman back in 2012 in NYC. We led a service together at BCC’s sister congregation CBST. We sang Shirat Ha’assavim together during that service, which took place during Tu Bishvat. Over the past years Magda’s and my path crossed several times and it’s always a pleasure to hear her sing, or to sing with her. Luckily, Magda agreed to sing with me again and you can hear the results in this song.

Know that each and every shepherd has his own tune.
Know that each and every grass has its own song.
And from the song of the grasses the tune of the shepherd is made
How beautiful, how beautiful and pleasant to hear their song.
It’s very good to pray among them and to serve Hashem in joy
And from the song of the grasses the heart is filled and yearns.
And when the the heart is filled by the song and yearns for the Land of Israel
a great light is drawn forth and goes from the Land’s holiness unto it.
And from the song of the grasses the tune of the heart is made.Transliterated:

Da l’kha shekol ro’eh ve ro’eh yeish lo nigun m’yuchad mishelo.
Da l’kha shekol eisev v’eisev yeish lo shirah m’yuchedet mishelo.
Umeishirat ha’asavim na’aseh nigun shel ro’eh.
Kamah yafeh, kama yafeh vena’eh k’sheshom’im hashirah shelahem.
Tov me’od l’hitpaleil beineihem uv’simchah la’avod et Hashem.
Umeishirat ha’asavim mitmalei haleiv umishtokeik.

Ukh’shehaleiv, min hashirah mitmalei umishtokeik el erets yisra’el.
Or gadol azai nimshakh v’holeikh mikdushatah shel ha’arets alav.
Umeishirat ha’asavim, na’aseh nigun shel haleiv.

Taken from http://www.neohasid.org

9. I sat on a plane from Tel-Aviv to Los Angeles when the lyrics to Shalem came to my mind. Something about being in between different time-zones, between skies and continents, between landing and departure seemed like an appropriate opportunity to allow these feelings of wholeness to come up.Between departure and arrival

בין המראה לנחיתה
בין המקור למטרה
הזמן מתערבב
הוא מרדים כאב
מעצים את חוסר השליטה
כי מה עוד נותר
מלבד העכשיו
להיות כאן לבד

כאילו לא נסדקתי
כאילו לא נשברתי
כאילו לא רבצתי בחשיכה
כאילו לא קינאתי
ככה בין לבין
אין רגע יותר הולם
להרגיש שלם

אם אתאפק
צל של ספק
יסוג לאחור, עד ששוב יחזור
לאט לאט נפתח
כמו צופן מפוצח

Between the origin and the target
Time blends and puts the pain to sleep
no-control increaseWhat else is left besides the now?
Being here aloneAs if I never cracked
As if I never broke
As if I never lied in the darkness
As if I never felt envy
Just like that
In between
I feel whole
If I restrain
A shadow of doubt will withdraw
Until it returns
Slowly slowly opens up
Like a code that’s been deciphered

10. Eilu D’vorim

Lyrics from the Mishna:

THESE ARE THINGS that are limitless,Which allow us to enjoy the fruit of the world
while the reward remains in the world to come.
They are honoring our father and mother,
engaging in deeds of compassion,
arriving early for study, morning and evening,
dealing graciously with guests,
visiting the sick,
providing for the wedding couple,
accompanying the dead for burial,
being devoted in prayer,
and making peace among people.
Learning to do these blessings encompasses them all.

Echo back!