Here, at Congregation B'nai Israel, we are gathering at the end of the first Shabbat after shloshim for a Havdalah song-session on February 12, 5-6:30 p.m. Our focus will be on one thing and one thing only - singing Debbie's music together in a gathering that is open to everyone. Helping to lead us will be several local musicians such as Cantor Scott Harris, Rabbi Suri Krieger, Rayhan Pasternak, Rhea Farbman, and Adrianne Greenbaum (in addition to B'nai Israel's own clergy and educators), and also some special guests from further afield: Kathy Gohr from Allentown, PA, Adrian Durlester from Amherst MA, Arnie Davidson from Glastonbury, CT and Batya Diamond from Wilton, CT. This latter group are all people that I met at or with whom I share one very special place in common - Hava Nashira. In fact, Rayhan, who is a Fairfield local, is also someone that I first met many years before I found myself in Connecticut, at Hava Nashira. I'd like to say a little more about that in a moment. But first, I hope you'll be able to join us to sing, learn and share Debbie's music on the 12th. So that we can estimate numbers, it would be very helpful if you could RSVP via this link.
For whatever reason - perhaps a sense of calling, or perhaps just pure chutzpah, I decided that there was no reason we couldn't continue to sing Debbie's music, and music like Debbie's in an informal musical gathering that had no 'outcome' in mind - no concerts, no performances. Shir B'Yachad (sing together) was born, as a monthly musical gathering (A name suggested by Diane Bramson who still runs the monthly gathering now many years after I left the UK). Initially I partnered with a friend, Nina Maraney, who was a talented Music graduate who played guitar and had a beautiful voice. She was just beginning to focus on doing more professional music work for the Jewish community and, after almost a year, she encouraged me to take the helm musically as well as organizationally. My musical skills were much more limited - some passable keyboard accompaniment and some rhythm, but I learned the songs quickly and gained confidence in teaching them to others. Another friend and talented song-leader and composer, Jess Gold, encouraged me to join her the following year at Hava Nashira where I could gain some skills training and broaden my repertoire.
And so it is that, among the musicians helping to lead us in song next Saturday evening are some of those special connections from Hava Nashira. Hava Nashira will go on, although Debbie's absence this year will be enormous. The faculty in recent years has include Craig Taubman, Peter and Ellen Allard, Dan Nicols, Shira Kline and Josh Nelson - many very talented musicians, composers and song-leaders. In addition, last year a Fall/Winter gathering was added called 'Shabbat Shirah', providing another opportunity to gather at OSRUI. To learn more click here.
|Sharing the joke (one of so many) with Debbie, Jeff, and Dan|
Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz