Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the Broadway Shabbat at Congregation Shomrei Torah for this year. It was run by Erica Wisner, the cantorial soloist,Malcom McElheney the assistant cantorial soloist, as well as some accompaniment. As last year, they performed the traditional Shabbat prayers with arrangements to traditional and new Broadway show tunes. Furthermore, some songs were the same as last year, but nonetheless, the service was once again amazing.
Music as we know, in the Jewish realm has become an essential part of synagogue services through the traditional nusuach to the contemporary Jewish melodies of today. The importance of how certain melodies are specified for certain times, each exemplifying that particular moment,and that particular feeling which is aimed to be expressed. Moreover, these pieces, all reminisce the past, honor the present, and has hope for the future. The services would not be the same today without this art that has become so profound in our everyday lives.
Honestly though, music, however does more than just define our services. According to Cantor Vicky Glickin, music is the universal language. It “has the power to connect us to ourselves, to each other and to God,” (URJ, 2019). Seeing this collaboration once more of different musical genres coming together into an hour service of worship, demonstrates the how music mirrors the human potential, mirrors
a sense of community among people of different cultural backgrounds, and how music exercises our faith in God in hopes to repair the world (tikkun olam). As seen last night, music essentially is a metaphor of human experience. It is an art that we create, but in turn it reflects our emotions, the way we think, and the way we feel uniting the human race(Schopenhaur, p.28).
My favorite selection last night was once again the Misheberiach, the Jewish prayer of healing. It was arranged to You’ll Never Walk Alone by Rodgers and Hammerstein from the musical Carousel. Erica sang this with much grace. Her passion for music always comes through when she sings. The misheberiach was no exception.
Furthermore, I loved this piece because of the song’s message; resilience, hope,and healing. Not only that, the song demonstrates our aptitude to overcome adversity, which essentially is the incredible history of the Jewish people. Fighting through triumph as a people and as individuals: throughout our endurance, throughout our faith and throughout our belief for a better world, tikkum olam. Music is truly A mirror of our deepest needs, desires, emotional experiences and behaviors….
Having the opportunity to attend last night’s service was truly a blessing.Can’t wait for next year…