Enjoy Jewish Music, Wherever You Go!

by Rabbi Audrey Pollack, January 9, 2018

In December, I was privileged to participate in the URJ Biennial convention in Boston along with a wonderful group of our leadership from Solel. One of the highlights of the Biennial conventions is the experience of praying together with 6,000 Jews. It is an incredibly moving and powerful experience, especially emotional and full of beautiful music. I always look forward to the music –in worship services, in workshops, in concerts, and in the hallways and the impromptu kumsitzes that pop up all over the convention. I was happy to reconnect with my mentor and teacher, Cantor Jeff Klepper, and to enjoy hearing him play and sing with Dan Freelander and friends as part of their group, Kol B’Seder. This year’s biennial also featured the premiere of the Debbie Friedman Suite for Orchestra. Jeff Klepper and Debbie Friedman z”l are pioneers of contemporary Jewish religious music, what is often referred to as “American nusach”. At Solel we are familiar with many of their Jewish musical settings. What their music brings to the contemporary Jewish music scene is the gift of combining Hebrew texts (and sometimes English) with singable, folk-inspired melodies, which makes the experience of prayer more accessible and enables us to pray with our voices in song. Their inspiration has led to many new Jewish composers and singers whose melodies are also now part of our contemporary Jewish experience.

Where to find Jewish music in the digital age:

Do you like to listen to streaming music?

While you can certainly find Jewish music on Spotify and Apple Music and within the collections of the iTunes and Google stores, there are also internet radio stations that are solely dedicated to Jewish music 24/7. Two of my favorite places to discover new contemporary Jewish musicians and bands – North American, Israeli, and World – Jewish Rock Radio (JRR) www.jewishrockradio.com Want music your kids will like – PJ Library now has its own internet radio station – pjlibraryradio.com Want music on the go? Apps for both JRR and PJ Radio are available for your apple and android devices.

Want to sample and buyMP3s, CDs or sheet music:

You can listen to a short sample of each song in an album or individual song before you buy and download.

Oy Songs www.oysongs.com was created to serve as a central source for Jewish audio and sheet music. Search by genre, artist, or title. Buy downloadable audio or sheet music. Want to give a gift of Jewish music? Give Oygelt.

Transcontinental Music Publications www.transcontinentalmusic.com is the publishing arm of the American Conference of Cantors – the Reform movement. Selections range from camp and youth music to music sung at the URJ biennial and choral selections. You’ll find music we sing at Solel on Shabbat and Chagim and songs our kids sing at Camp George. Buy downloadable audio and sheet music or physical format CDs and sheet music.

Interested in listening to Yiddish music or the voices of the great cantors?

You’ll find these and more here:

The Recorded Sound Archives Judaic collection of Florida Atlantic University rsa.fau.edu/judaic is dedicated to the preservation of recorded Jewish music and sound recordings and has one of the largest and most extensive collections of Judaic music in the world. Browse by performer or by album.

The Milken Archive of Jewish Music www.milkenarchive.org was founded to document and preserve the music of the American Jewish experience. In addition to recorded works, the collection contains oral histories, photographs and historical documents, as well as thousands of hours of video footage from recording sessions, interviews, and live performances.

Enjoy Jewish music with you wherever you go!

Rabbi Audrey S. Pollack

Filed under: Rabbi's Message

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