Broadway Shabbat at Congregation Shomrei Torah

Music brings people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.”~ John Denver ~ 

I had the opportunity to attend a Friday night service at my local synagogue, Shomrei Torah in Santa Rosa, CA. For those who do not know, Shomrei Torah is a progressive reform synagogue in Sonoma County.  They base their tenets on traditional, yet innovate Judaic practices.  It serves a congregation of over 400 families and strive to welcome Jewish life in any way possible. Occasionally, they have special events whether speakers discuss various topics, performers,  and a whole bunch of amazing programs throughout the year cultivating and strengthening the Jewish community throughout the region.

Last night, at their typical Friday night service was a remembrance of Broadway musicals.  The head cantorial soloist Erica Wisner, (a former singer on Broadway) arranged the traditional friday night prayers into Broadway pieces ranging from Oklahoma written by Rodgers and Hammerstein to Rent written by Jonathan Larson. It truly was remarkable. The service was led by the Assistant rabbi Stephanie Kramer, and the two cantorial soloists Erica Wisner and Malcom McElheney.  It was also accompanied by the temple’s piano accompanist, Yvonne Wormer, a drummer and  a bass guitarist (I believe).  I am a musician myself, have a love for both Jewish and Broadway tunes (being a former nyer), and have a life’s purpose of bringing people together through music.  So, seeing this collaboration of completely different musical genres coming together into an hour service of worship, in my opinion, through the power of music, demonstrates the capability of human potential, demonstrates the underlying need of a sense of community among people of different cultural backgrounds, and exercises our faith in God through music in hopes to repair the world (tikkun olam). For some, that may not know, the jewish history is a long story of faith and hope, the story of Exodus, the execution of Jews throughout the holocaust, the spanish inquisition, and other traumatic events throughout time. Yet, we have fought as a people throughout our endurance, throughout our faith and throughout our belief for a better world, tikkum olam. That being said,  witnessing all of these motivational forces through works of art was truly spectacular. As seen last night, music essentially is a metaphor of human experience…

My favorite selection last night was Misheberiach, the jewish prayer of healing… It was arranged to You’ll Never Walk Alone by Rodgers and Hammerstein from the musical Carousel. Over the years of living in California, this has become my favorite Jewish prayer and traditionally this has been my favorite Broadway tune… The song’s message of resilience and hope combined with the prayer’s message for healing of both individuals and groups, not only shows the influence of prayer, but also exemplifies the courageous inner strength to overcome anything that life throws at us.   This need for our inner strength and our prayers for the healing of others, described in the music, is applicable even today.  For example,  all the school shootings, the fires taken place in Sonoma County, the illnesses that still prevail. We pray for the healing of those individual but ultimately, we are also praying for them through our faith to God, that they can overcome their difficult situations. In light of this, music veritably is what human beings are (Schneck, p.28)  A mirror of our deepest needs, desires, emotional experiences and behaviors….

Last night was not only a dedication to Broadway musicals, but furthermore it was a ceremony of prayer to faith in god, a hope for unconditional love for all including the Jewish people, an aspiration to unite the human race.  Having the opportunity to attend last night’s service was truly a blessing. It reminded me of my own dedication to the Jewish people, to have faith in my own situation and continue striving to do my share of tikkun olam.

Thank you Shomrei Torah 🙂

” It is hope that gives life meaning. And hope is based on the prospect of being able one day to turn the actual world into a possible one that looks better.”~ Francois Jacob

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Rise (Spanish Version) by Katy Perry

65 Roses by The Wolverines

Rise by Katy Perry

I won’t just survive
Oh, you will see me thrive
Can’t write my story
I’m beyond the archetype

I won’t just conform
No matter how you shake my core
‘Cause my roots—they run deep, oh

Oh, ye of so little faith
Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Victory is in my veins
I know it, I know it
And I will not negotiate
I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it
I will transform

When, when the fire’s at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They’re whispering, “You’re out of time,”
But still I rise

This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in
Think again
Don’t be surprised
I will still rise

I must stay conscious
Through the madness and chaos
So I call on my angels
They say

Oh, ye of so little faith
Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Victory is in your veins
You know it, you know it
And you will not negotiate
Just fight it, just fight it
And be transformed

‘Cause when, when the fire’s at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They’re whispering, “You’re out of time,”
But still I rise

This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in
Think again
Don’t be surprised
I will still rise

Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Oh, oh, oh, oh
You know it, you know it
Still rise
Just fight it, just fight it
Don’t be surprised
I will still rise

AZLyrics.(2013).Rise. Retrieved from

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/katyperry/rise.html

Video

Titanium by David Guetta

You shout it out,
But I can’t hear a word you say
I’m talking loud, not saying much
I’m criticized but all your bullets ricochet
You shoot me down, but I get up

[Chorus – Sia:]
I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium

[Sia:]
Cut me down
But it’s you who’ll have further to fall
Ghost town and haunted love
Raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones
I’m talking loud not saying much

[Chorus – Sia:]
I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
I am titanium
I am titanium

[Bridge – Sia:]
Stone-heart, machine gun
Firing at the ones who run
Stone heart loves bulletproof glass

You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
I am titanium

AZLyrics.(2013).Titanium. Retrieved from

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/davidguetta/titanium.html