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Little girl sitting on the floor to play dreidel

Samuel E. Goldfarb penned “I Have a Little Dreidel”, while his older brother composed “Shalom Aleichem.” To use a Christian equivalent, it would be like having one brother write “Jingle Bells” and another compose “Silent Night.”

Albert Stern (JTA)

Leonard Cohen, the craggy-voiced singer songwriter died on November 10 at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy of music that transcends musical genres, echoing his life as a spiritual seeker.

Courtney Naliboff

Kristallnacht, which literally means “the night of broken glass,” occurred on the night of November 9, 1938; this date marked the beginning of the Holocaust.

Cantor Rebecca Garfein

Israeli singer/songwriter David Broza has elicited comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Ray Vaughan - but he's also known worldwide for his commitment to humanitarian causes.

Aron Hirt-Manheimer

Torah is full of family stories; retelling them shapes our collective identity. We can learn them best by enhancing how we listen and how we hear them.

Cantor Sharon Kohn

This week, musician Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for ushering in a new era of poetic songwriting, blending strains of poetry, philosophy, and theology.

Paul Zollo

The Hamilton craze is sweeping the nation, and even the Jewish community isn’t exempt. Case in point: Recently, at the annual convention of the American Conference of Cantors and the Guild of Temple Musicians, several cantors led a Shacharit (morning) service that included several prayers set to tunes from the smash hit by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

And it wasn’t the only secular music to take center stage. Just two days earlier, a few colleagues and I had led a Maariv (evening) service that included “Be Here Now” by Ray LaMontagne and “Grateful” by John Bucchino.

What is it that makes secular music useful and appropriate in a service setting? Or is it?

Cantor Rachel Gottlieb Kalmowitz

Recently, as I was leaving the sanctuary on Shabbat morning, a man who was a guest of the bar mitzvah family approached me. Warmly shaking my hand and thanking me for a “lovely service,” he asked several questions about the music I sang, during both the morning service and the Kabbalat Shabbat service the night before.

Cantor Claire Franco

If you love jazz and Jewish culture, as I do, it seems only natural to seek out connections between the two. That’s exactly what a select group of jazz lovers in New Jersey did this past fall and winter, bringing to the fore the exceptional exhibit, Jazz, Jews and African Americans: Cultural Intersections in Newark and Beyond. The show was a collaboration of the Institute of Jazz Studies (Rutgers University-Newark), New Jersey Performing Arts Center, WBGO, the Jewish Museum of New Jersey, New Jersey City University, and Congregation Ahavas Sholom, an historic synagogue in Newark that houses the museum.

Audrey Merwin

In North America, Holocaust remembrance services and programs often include special musical selections in memory of people lost during the war and in honor of those who fought against the Nazis. Such music is profound and varied, and often was used as a vehicle of resistance. For example, “Zogt Nit Keynmol” (“Never Say That You Have Reached the Final Road”) was written in April 1943 in reaction to news of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Composed in Vilna by underground fighter Hirsh Glick and set to a Soviet cinema tune by Dmitri and Daniel Pokrass, the song spread like wildfire throughout Eastern Europe, becoming the official hymn of the partisan brigades.

Cantor Deborrah Cannizzaro


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