Category Archives: song of the month

Song for Nisan

Today is the third day of Nisan; Pesach is coming soon soon soon! Here’s our Song for the Month of Nisan, which we’ll sing this Shabbat at services and will sing again during the hand-washing at our second-night community seder.

This chant describes God as a fountain of blessing,  pouring blessing into our lives like water. The melody is by Rabbi Shefa Gold.

Peleg Elohim

פֶלֶג אֱלֹהִים מָלֵא מַיִם

Peleg elohim, malei mayyim (Fountain of God, full of water!)

Listen by clicking on the little triangle:

or download PelegElohim.mp3

Happy Nisan!

Song for the Month of Adar

Chodesh tov — happy new month! Adar is an especially joyous month on the Jewish calendar, because this month contains Purim.

Our Song of the Month this Adar is the same song I chose for us last year during this month, so it may be familiar to some of y’all. It’s a musical setting of the last verse in the book of Exodus, which we’ll read in the Torah toward the end of this lunarm onth. The melody was written by my friend Daniel Kempin, an ALEPH cantorial student. It is simple and beautiful, a call-and-response which I’m hoping will be easy to follow. The words appear below.

You can listen to the song online, or download it for your home computer, here: Ki Anan Adonai (Kempin). Or, play it by clicking on the little triangle icon:

Here are the words:

Ki Anan Adonai (The Cloud of God) – melody by Daniel Kempin

כִּי עֲנַן יְי
עַל-הַמִּשְׁכָּן יוֹמָם

וְאֵשׁ, תִּהְיֶה לַיְלָה בּוֹ

לְעֵינֵי כָל-בֵּית-יִשְׂרָאֵל,

Ki anan Adonai
al ha-mishkan yomam

V’esh tih’yeh laila bo

L’einei kol beit-Yisrael
B’chol mas’eihem

(Translation: For the cloud of God
was above the mishkan by day
and fire was there by night
in the eyes of all the house of Israel
in all of their journeys. — Exodus 40:38)

Happy Adar to all!

Shabbat with special guest Reb David Markus

DavidThis Shabbat: join Reb Rachel and special visitor Reb David Markus, associate spiritual leader of Temple Beth El of City Island in New York, for Shabbat morning services.

Expect music (both guitar and piano!), harmony, terrific Torah teachings, and an infusion of the sweet, prayerful energy which both Reb David and Reb Rachel soaked up at OHALAH, the annual conference of Jewish Renewal clergy, which took place this week.

During this week we’re reading Parashat Bo, which contains the following verse:

וַאֲנַחְנוּ לֹא-נֵדַע, מַה-נַּעֲבֹד אֶת-יְה עַד-בֹּאֵנוּ שָׁמָּה

Va-anachnu lo neda mah na’avod et Adonai ad bo’einu shamah.

(Exodus 10:26: We shall not know with what we are to worship Adonai until we arrive there.)

We’ll sing that line to a melody written by Rabbi Simcha Zevit, one of Reb Rachel’s classmates. This is our Song for the Month of Shvat, and you can listen to a recording (sung by Hazzan Shoshanna Brown) here:

or download it from

We look forward to seeing you on Shabbat!

Song for the Month of Tevet

The new lunar month of Tevet begins on Friday, so here’s a new Song for the Month of Tevet, which we’ll sing at Shabbat services this week.

This is a melody by Rabbi Hanna Tiferet, and it’s the title track on her beautiful cd of chants and melodies called Awaken, Arise. Here are the words:

Awaken, Arise

Awaken, arise to the wholeness of your being!
Awaken, arise to the beauty of your soul!

Hitor’ri, hitor’ri, ki va orech
Kumi, ori.

(Text from Isaiah 51:17 and 60:1; the Hebrew translates to “Wake up, wake up, for your light is coming. Arise my light!”)

I thought it would be a nice prayer to have in our heads and our hearts (and on our lips!) as we approach the winter solstice and begin the slowly brightening days which will follow.

You can listen to it by clicking on the little triangle button:

Or, if you can’t see the embedded audio player, you can download the mp3: AwakenArise

Blessings of light to all as we move through Chanukah,

Reb Rachel

Song for the month of Kislev: Lo Yisa Goy

You may have noticed the crescent moon waxing in the sky; the month of Kislev began a few days ago. And here, slightly belatedly, is our Song for the Month of Kislev! This is one I learned as a kid at Jewish summer camp, and it’s one of my favorites.

The text comes from Isaiah 2:4: “And nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore.”

The words are

לֹא-יִשָּׂא גוֹי אֶל-גּוֹי חֶרֶב, וְלֹא-יִלְמְדוּ עוֹד מִלְחָמָה.

Lo yisa goy el goy cherev

Lo yilm’du od milchamah.

If you can’t see the embedded audio player, or if you just want a copy of the song on your own computer / ipad / ipod / etc, you can download the mp3 directly from the url

We’ll sing this song at Shabbat services this coming weekend, and at other times during the month of Kislev. May its promise become truth, speedily and soon.

Song for the month of Cheshvan: Mah Gadlu

The lunar month of Cheshvan begins tomorrow night.

Cheshvan is a rare thing on the Jewish calendar: an entire month without any holidays at all (except, of course, for Shabbat.) Especially after the whirlwind of the Days of Awe, this can feel either like a relief or like a let-down. The rabbis called this month Mar-Cheshvan — “Bitter Cheshvan” — because it contains no holidays. But Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, may his memory be a blessing, used to reverse the word Mar into Ram, which means “elevated.” This can be an elevated month, a high and holy month for us, even without special celebrations.

Our Song for the Month this month is a setting of one line of Psalm 92. The melody is by Rabbi Shefa Gold, and can be found on her cd Chants Encounter. Here it is:

Mah Gadlu

part 1: Hallelujah, hallelujah

Part 2: Mah gadlu ma’asecha Yah, me’od amku machshevotecha!

(Translation: How great are Your works, God; Your thoughts are very deep!)

If you can’t see the embedded audio player, you can go directly to the recording or download it from

We’ll sing this during our Family Shabbat service / special Shabbat honoring 30-year members at CBI this coming Saturday, and will sing it at other Shabbat morning services during this month as well.

Wishing you a sweet month of Cheshvan!

Reb Rachel

Song for the Month of Elul

This weekend we’ll reach Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the new lunar month whose name can be read as an acronym for the phrase ani l’dodi v’dodi li – I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine. This is the month when we are invited to relate to God as the divine Beloved, to wander in the fields with God and share quiet conversation, to turn toward our Beloved again and strengthen our relationship as we move through this final month before the Days of Awe.

Just like last year, our Song for the Month of Elul will be Achat Sha’alti (One Thing I Ask), which comes from Psalm 27:


Achat Sha’alti (One Thing I Ask) – from psalm 127

Achat sha’alti me’eit Adonai, otah avakesh (2x)
Shivti b’veit Adonai, kol y’mei chayay
Lachazot b’noam, b’noam Yah, u’l’vaker b’heikhalo (2x)

One thing I ask, I ask of You, I earnestly pray for (2x)
That I might dwell in Your house all the days of my life
Knowing the beauty, the beauty of You, and to dwell in Your holy place! (2x)

This song is on our pre-HHD cd (which will be coming to you soon), but for now, you can listen to it here:

Or, if you can’t see the embedded audio player, you can go directly to the mp3:


May this melody be sweet in your mouth and in your heart as we approach Rosh Hashanah!