An Encounter with the Wisdom of Psalms

In response to the unfolding global pandemic and upheaval over racial injustice, on June 8, 2020 The Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership at Hebrew College and the Interfaith Youth Core launched a major new digital initiative on the Book of Psalms entitled PsalmSeason: An Online Encounter with the Wisdom of the Psalms. Read the Press Release.

Listen to Rabbi Rose discuss the project on Chagigah Radio.

Miller Center Director Rabbi Or Rose envisioned the project and enlisted long-time interfaith colleague Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Senior Advisor at IFYC, to bring the project to life.

The project began with an online PsalmSeason Concert on June 8  followed by the launch of the PsalmSeason digital platform—an 18-week exploration of the Psalms focusing one psalm each week. The selected psalms and contemporary reflections address the feelings of sadness, shock, dislocation, and fear brought on by the pandemic and social upheaval. They also provide solace, strength, and hope for a better future.

On July 14, 2020, the Hebrew College-Interfaith Youth Core PsalmSeason project, with co-sponsors Jewish Women’s Archive and Lilith Magazine, presented the online event “Poetry in Times of Peril: Four Women’s Voices.” (Visit the PsalmSeason website at

From the ancient Book of Psalms to contemporary hip-hop, poetry has served as a vital channel through which to express our deepest yearnings, frustrations, and hopes. How might words of poetry help us respond to the current crisis of COVID-19 and the national reckoning with racial injustice? Join us as we engage four outstanding woman poets from different walks of life for a cross-cultural and intergenerational reading and discussion.

Featured Poets:
Alondra Bobadilla
Marilyn Nelson
Alicia Ostriker
Alicia Jo Rabins

Moderator: Dr. Judith Rosenbaum, Jewish Women’s Archive

Sponsors: Jewish Women’s Archive Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College Interfaith Youth Core Lilith Magazine To learn more about PsalmSeason visit:…


Alondra Bobadilla was born and raised in Boston, MA. Her love for writing emerged when she first learned her letters as a young cild. In addition to her writing, she has participated in multiple forms of performance art, finding different ways to express herself beyond poetry. She is a student at Fenway High School and was named Boston’s first-ever Youth Poet Laureate in January 2020.

Marilyn Nelson was Poet Laureate of Connecticut from 2001-2006, has been a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and Poet-in-Residence of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and has been awarded the Frost Medal, the NSK Neustadt Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

Alicia Ostriker is a poet, scholar, and critic who writes Jewish feminist poetry. She has been called “America’s most fiercely honest poet” by Progressive. Additionally, she was one of the first women poets in America to write and publish poems discussing the topic of motherhood. In 2015, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2018, she was named the New York State Poet Laureate.

Alicia Jo Rabins is an award-winning writer, musician, performer and Torah teacher and the author of two poetry books, Divinity School (American Poetry Review) and Fruit Geode (Augury Books). Music/performance projects include Girls in Trouble, an indie-folk song cycle about women in Torah, and the forthcoming independent feature film, A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff.


[American Journal] Robert Hayden – 1913-1980 ON RAISING


HOMAGE TO MY HIPS Lucille Clifton…


The Book of Love, The Magnetic Fields from 69 Love Songs…

PIGEON AND HAWK Marilyn Nelson…

ON BREATHING Alicia Jo Rabins

HESED (“Loving-Kindness”) Alondra Bobadilla

CHILDREN’S BLOOD Alicia Ostriker

Watch the June 8, 2020 Concert On Demand

The project kicked-off on June 8, 7:30 pm EDT US with a live concert “PsalmSeason: A Playlist for our Time” featuring 18 musical and poetic expressions from a diverse group of performers from Ireland, Uganda, Israel, and the US. Performers shared pieces directly from the Psalms or inspired by its themes of lament and longing, comfort and strength, and gratitude and hope.

Sweet Honey in the Rock
uganda jews

 (In order of appearance)

Rabbi Or Rose, Director
Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center
for Interreligious Learning & Leadership at Hebrew College and Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush
Senior Advisor for Public Affairs and Innovation
Interfaith Youth Core

“Like Rain”
Lyrics and Music by Marty Austin Lamar
Performed by Marty Austin Lamar
Snokey Music, 2016

“Hesed” (Loving-Kindness)
Written and performed by Alondra Bobadilla
Boston Youth Poet Laureate

Psalm 10
Music by Jesse and Leah Roberts
Performed by Poor Bishop Hooper
Copyright Poor Bishop Hooper 2020

“My Light” (Adonai Ori) – Psalm 27:1
Music by Beth Styles
English lyrics: Beth Styles & Neshama Carlebach
© Neshama Music Productions, LLC

“Hold The Things That I Can’t Carry”
Peter Himmelman
Peter Himmelman/ASCAP Publishing administered by Primary Wave

Composed by Max Richter
Song: A Blessing
Choreography by Elisa Schroth
Performed by Paiter van Yperen

“Adonai Ro’i” (The Lord is My Shepherd) – Psalm 23
Lyrics: King David
Music by Danny Maseng
© D. Maseng
Performed by Danny Maseng and Michael Skloff

Psalm 23
Performed and Arranged by Nóirín Ní Riain, Owen & Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin

“Min Hameitzar” (From the Narrow Straits) – Psalm 118:5-6
Composed and performed by Deborah Sacks Mintz

Written by Amy Ziff, Alyson Palmer, Elizabeth Ziff, Betsy Hirsch
Performed by BETTY
©BETTYRules Productions/BMI

“Lo Ira” (I Will Not Fear) – Psalm 118
Traditional Moroccan Jewish melody/Yuval Ron
Performed by Yuval Ron Ensemble
©Yuval Ron Music (ASCAP)

“Searching My Rage”
Written and performed by Drew Drake

“Come Ye”
Written by Nina Simone

“Shir Hama’alot” (A Song of Ascents) – Psalm 126
Music by Joey Weisenberg
Performed by Joey Weisenberg
© Joey Weisenberg

“East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem”
Written by David Broza and Wyclef Jean
Performed by David Broza

Haleluyah (Hallelujah . . . Let all that breathes praise the LORD!) – Psalm 150
Music by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, as interpreted by Sheva
Performed by
Rabbi Roly Matalon (Vocals) and B’nai Jeshurun Musicians
Dan Nadel (guitar and direction)
Ismail Lumanovski (clarinet)
Arun Ramamurthy (violin)
Satoshi Takeishi (percussion)

“My Heart Leapt for Joy” – Psalm 122
Music and adaptation by Vince Anderson
Performed by the Rev. Vince Anderson

“Hinei Ma Tov “
(See how good and pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together) Psalm 133
Composed and sung by the Abayudaya Jewish Community of Uganda
Recorded and Compiled by Jeffrey A. Summit from the Smithsonian Folkways
Recording CD “Abayudaya: Music From the Jewish People of Uganda”
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2003
All Photographs Courtesy of Richard Sobol

“Ben she’Hazar”
(The Returning Son)
Lyrics and music by Ariel Horowitz


  • Kyle Homstead Video Editor (Laudable Productions)
  • Aly Palmer Consulting Producer
  • Marilyn Stern Project Coordinator
  • Tom Reid Project Coordinator
  • Leah Carnow Closed Captioning and Translation

psalmseason website

PsalmSeason Summer 18-week Project

The multifaceted project, which is hosted on IFYC’s Interfaith America website, will last 18 weeks — the number for “life” in Hebrew. The initiative offers individuals with a rich context in which to explore their swirling thoughts and feelings through the prism of this ancient and beloved collection of prayer-poems.

Featured Contributors

Contributors represent a range of religious, spiritual, and secular traditions, and include musicians, artists, poets, storytellers, scholars, and activists.*

  • Krista Tippett (NPR)
  • Father James Martin (America Magazine)
  • Sharon Salzberg (Insight Meditation)
  • Marilyn Nelson (Poet Laureate, Connecticut)
  • Imam Taymullah Abdur-Rahman (Massachusetts Department of Correction)
  • Dr. Ellen Davis (Duke University)
  • Rev. William Lamar IV (Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in
  • Washington, DC)
  • Sarah Hurwitz (senior White House speechwriter for President Obama)
  • Dr. Obery Hendricks (Columbia University)
  • Dr. Aviva Zornberg (author/teacher)
  • Brother Paul Quenon (poet and photographer)
  • Dr. Jerome Groopman (Harvard Medical School)
  • Makoto Fujimura (visual artist)
  • Rabbi Sharon Brous (Ikar, LA)
  • Bishop Gene Robinson (Chautauqua Institute)
  • Ruth Messinger (American Jewish World Service)
  • Rev. Brian McLaren (author)

*partial list

Read more about the Miller Center’s recent work.