Community Blog Music and Prayer Leadership
Nurturing the Heart, Mind, and Soul
At Hebrew College, our rabbinical and cantorial students and alumni are using music in innovative and creative ways for their prayer leadership — infusing traditional Jewish liturgy and prayer forms, as well as contemporary, experimental, and world music to create meaningful tefilah and learning for their communities. Below are just a few examples.
Music and Leadership
Hear from two Rabbinical School of Hebrew College alumni—Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer `14, Rabbi/Chazzan at The Kitchen in San Francisco and Rabbi David Fainsilber `14, Rabbi at the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe in Stowe, VT—talk about how they use music in their prayer leadership.
Communal Singing on Judaism Unbound Podcast
In June 2019, The Judaism Unbound podcast featured Hebrew College alumni David Fainsilber and Jessica Kate Meyer, in a podcast recorded live at Hebrew College, in Newton, Massachusetts. This panel was part of a Hebrew College conference entitled “The Past and Future of Synagogues.” David Fainsilber serves as rabbi of The Jewish Community of Greater Stowe, in Vermont, and Jessica Kate Meyer serves as rabbi /chazzan of The Kitchen, an emergent Jewish community in San Francisco.
Mi Chamocha / Who is Like You / מי כמוכה
Watch this visual narrative of the prayer Mi Chamocha created by Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer and members of The Kitchen‘s Davening Team. Rabbi Meyer asked Kitchen-ites to grab their cameras/phones and respond visually to prompts inspired by the question: Did we sing these words when we reached safety or did the song emerge from the rhythm of our marching steps as we walked, terrified, through the ‘ominous corridor’ of dry land in the midst of the sea, not knowing what is in front or behind?
Music and Chesed
Hebrew College 2014 alumnus Rabbi David Fainsilber `14 uses music to bring chesed to his congregation, The Jewish Community of Greater Stowe, VT.
Music and Jewish Learning
Hebrew College 2014 alumnus Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer, Rabbi/Chazzan at The Kitchen in San Francisco, infuses niggunim fro all over the world into her teaching and prayer leadership.
Weekly Spiritual Nourishment
Rabbinical student Jackson Mercer and friends are using music to provide hope. Jackson also co-hosts a weekly Hebrew College Niggun Seminar with classmate Shani Rosenbaum on Jewishlive.org and Zoom; together they invite guest teachers to teach a niggun and offer a kavannah each Thursday at 1 p.m.
Music and Social Justice
Cantor Vera Broekhuysen `16 writes music inspired by her social justice work. Visit her website to listen to these original works :
- Caoba Farms Nign, written in Antigua, Guatemala as part of the 2019-20 Global Justice Fellowship of American Jewish World Service. (Composed and recorded by Vera Broekhuysen in 2020.)
- Poteiakh et-yadekha, Hebrew from Psalm 145 (“Ashrei”), original English translation, created for a minchah (afternoon) service at the New Mexico/Mexico border wall near El Paso on a clergy witness trip to the border with T’ruah and HIAS. (Composed and recorded by Vera Broekhuysen in 2019.)
Hebrew College 2017 alumni Rabbi Mónica Gomery and Rabbi Arielle Rosenberg collaborated on an online Hallel minyan called “Mutual Aid Hallel,” bringing innovative music and prayer in celebration of Rosh Chodesh to their communities at Congregation Kol Tzedek in Philadelphia, PA and Shir Tikvah in Minneapolis, MN respectively.