Shiru laShem Shir Hadash!
At Or Zarua, our prayer services and Torah reading are led by a variety of congregants across a spectrum of musical abilities. Sufficient motivation, desire and competence to help conduct our lay-led services, rather than any specific level of musical talent, are the criteria of our service leadership. Nevertheless, we are continuously striving to enhance the musicality and spirituality of our already wonderful participatory services. We aspire to cultivate as many capable service leaders as possible, but also to inspire their fellow congregants to experience the religious and aesthetic satisfaction that attends musically pleasing tefilah (prayer).
Toward the ends of ever greater ruah (spirit) and kavvanah (focus) in our tefilah, we have endeavored to imbue our prayer services with increasing musical richness and diversity, by employing a broad range of liturgical melodies and styles. For several years, Joey Weisenberg led a series of singing modules dedicated to particular components of the Shabbat and holiday liturgy, including the Kabbalat Shabbat, Musaf and Hallel services. Through our music sessions, Joey taught us both old and new nigunim that have been incorporated into our prayer services. Those spirited melodies have enriched and enlivened our tefilah from week to week, and are now emblems of our heightened ruah. Links to several of these nigunim can be found below.
Beyond tefilah, enthusiastic singing has been a hallmark of our communal Shabbat meals, when zemirot bring together the voices of adults and children. Or Zarua’s own a capella group, Bir’nana, adds liveliness and joy to various communal events. We also have sought to bring cutting-edge Jewish music into our midst through periodic concerts in our acoustically favored sanctuary, including past events featuring Chaim Dovid’s rousing neo-Carlebach tunes, Weisenberg’s meditative and variegated nigunim, and Cantor Jonathan Angress’s medieval-style Jewish madrigals.
The enjoyment of music and singing at Or Zarua is recurring and pervasive — please join us as we “sing a new song to the Lord” throughout the year.
Click on each link to listen to the named recording, or right-click and select “Save Target As…” to save to your hard drive or mp3 player.