The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Monday, May 10, 2004

Real JM

Before I get to the topic at hand, real Jewish Music, a shout out to Velvel
for saving me the trouble of responding to the same email that he received. There is nothing I can add to what Velvel articulately expressed.

This past Shabbos/motsai Shabbos, our kehilah merited to experience davening and Jewish music in its purest form. The way, I believe, it was meant to be and the kind, I know, brings nachas and oneg (so to speak) to the Master of the Universe.

On Friday night Eitan Katz davened Kabbolas Shabbos. Although, BH, Friday night davening in our shul is almost always wonderful, this week's tefilah was one of the nicest, most inspiring that I have experienced. Eitan (who just became engaged to Malki Braun, Mazel Tov), has a beautiful, angelic voice and is always personally inspired by the special energy in our shul. This was reflected in the davening. As tired as I was coming into davening (as usual) I came away all charged up.

Motsai Shabbos was our annual hilula l'kavod Lag B'Omer and the Yahrtzeit of Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Eitan, on acoustic guitar, was joined by Nochie Krohn, another really talented musician (also on acoustic guitar) whose sweet music reflects his sweet, modest personality. Our own member, Avi Feinberg, played percussion.

They opened the evening with Krasicha Ka and Hiney Keil Yishuasi by Shlomo Carlebach and played beautifully for the next three hours, sandwiching inspiring words of chizzuk by our Rav. They played a lot of Shlomo niggunim, some Breslov, Modzitz, Belz, Chaim Dovid, Michel Twesrsky, Shmuel Brazil and a couple written by Eitan and Nochie themselves (individually). They played some deep, slow niggunim and then picked up the pace with niggunim that caused the crowd to get up and spontaneously dance in place. With only two acoustic guitars and percussion the place rocked. There was no need for 10 violins, 15 horns and digital distortion because the niggunim stood by themselves and the musicians singing them were completely without ego or pretense. The many hundreds of men and women who attended left the hilula (after 1 a.m.) inspired and with a sense of deveykus (attachment) to the Ribbono Shel Olam and an appreciation for the greatness of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai and Lag B'Omer.

It was something special and proof that Jewish music does not need smoke and mirrors (indeed, can't have smoke and mirrors) and still be great and inspiring.