Even in Danger, We Sang

Dear friends,

The announcement page looks very bare after the fullness of this past month with so many announcements about our Yomtov preparations and services!

I have heard back from many of you and am so pleased that you enjoyed the array of videos and singing that we included in our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. There is so much musical talent in the Jewish world, and we have new voices emerging all the time.

Music is central to who we are as humans and certainly is central within our own liturgical tradition. Our prayers are sung to particular nusach, or melodic line, we apply different musical renditions as we chant Torah, and we sing our blessings around our Shabbat tables. We have a tradition of formal chazzanut and more informal modern singing groups like Hadar. See: https://www.hadar.org/center-jewish-communal-music

Even in times of danger we sang. After we crossed the Sea of Reeds separating us from Egypt and Pharaoh, we sang: “Then,” says the Torah, “Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord.” And, after Moses, Miriam and the women around her dance and sing with their timbrels. In Psalm 150 we read of human voices and instruments – the lyre, the harp and drums, the flute – singing as one.

We all have favourite songs. So many of us wait for those first notes of Kol Nidre – as recognizable to our souls as the opening four notes of Beethovens Fifth Symphony. And we thank Anabel Wind again for her gift of singing of Kol Nidre. And again we thank Bibi for his heart-full rendition of Avinu Malkeinu.

I find myself singing some of our beautiful Yomtov songs even now, reluctant to let them go, reluctant to wait yet another year, and yet, I know I will tuck them into that file drawer in my musical memory until next year, when I carefully unpack them, treasured memories of a musical tradition. We read in our machzor on the morning of Yom Kippur that Rabbi Nachman teaches us to get into the habit of singing; that a holy melody awakens our hearts. So as we are still in the week of Sukkot (and beyond), let’s sing – together and in the car, while walking and gardening.  We sing with our children and we sing with our souls.

Sing a joyful noise!