Reflections on Spirituality

A few days ago, I was in sunny California getting together with the most influential Jewish musicians of our time. Many rabbis, educators, cantors, and lay leaders came to learn together with these rockstars about our tradition and how to take it to the next level through music and community building.

I want to share with you a few thoughts, questions, and take-aways from this conference, Kol Tefilah, and already put in your mind the idea of joining me next year for the next edition.

  • Chutzpah is key to explore the rich library we have. Every religious service we craft, choosing from the way we are sitting, to tunes, including all the teachings in it and where the sheliach tzibbur (prayer leader) will be, requires chutzpah. There are so many options out there, that choosing to make the slightest change of not to change at all from the previous week, is a limiting experience of the incredible world of possibilities we have, and that, requires chutzpah. What would you like to see different? What should not change?

  • Music is a powerful expression of the soul and can bring people together in multiple ways. How can we use more music to bring people together in our community?

  • Prayer spaces are meant to be places where we can be vulnerable. We stand before God with all our accomplishments and missed opportunities. We join our community to support them when needed and to celebrate the simchas. Being vulnerable with ourselves in this moment is important to make our prayers real, personal, and relevant.

  • During the High Holidays I shared with you a motto from Rav Kook that is perfect to describe what’s happening:

“הישן יתחדש והחדש יתקדש”

“hayashan yitchadesh vehechadash yitkadesh”

“The old will be renewed, and the new will become holy.”

A renewed approach to prayer and spirituality that becomes holy with intentionality.

Have you been thinking about this motto lately? Is there anything in your life or in our shul life that you would like to see renewed to create holiness?

  • We are living a Golden Age of Jewish music. We never had this amount and quality of Jewish musicians putting music out there to the world. This new music is active, engaging, and waiting for you to join and sing along – not meant for spectators only. How would you like to participate more actively in our services?

  • Please check out these names: Rabbi Josh Warshawsky; from Hadar institute in NY – Rabbi Yosef Goldman and Deborah Sachs Mintz (and Joey Weisenberg, who wasn’t there but has led this team for many years), Rabbi Ariel Root Wolpe, Chava Mirel, and Rabbi Micah Shapiro. You can find them on Google, YouTube, Spotify.

If any of these questions sparked some reflections to you, please share them with me. I would love to hear from you. You can always find me at

Here’s a list of the tunes we will be singing tonight. Take a few minutes to warm up and get ready so we can celebrate shabbat together.

We usually start with this niggun:


Lechu Neranena (Page 11)

Yismechu (Page 14)

Or Zarua (Page 16)

Zamru (Page 18)

Lecha Dodi (Pages 23-25)

Adonai Malach (Page 29)

May we find meaning in our traditions, renewing them and making them holy.

Come to this Friday night for our musical Kabbalat Shabbat. You will not regret it!

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