Azamra: “I will sing! And the way to sing the song of joy is by seeking the good in all people, especially in ourselves. Each good point is one more note in the song of life!”
~ Rav Nachman of Breslov
This album is my gift to the congregants of Beth El Synagogue in Minneapolis, Minnesota, whose points of goodness has planted the sweetest song in my heart. May you continue to sing and bring joy to those around you as you have to me. I am indebted to you for nurturing me on my path of spirituality and growth. And for believing in me to help raise your prayers to the Mystery we call God. Blessings of love and peace.
– Cantor Audrey Abrams
This album is dedicated to:
The memory of Penny Glassman, z”l, who taught me that my music was healing and helpful to those in need. She gave me the courage to trust myself in letting my vulnerability be a guiding force in the work that I do. She was an inspiration through her positive outlook even in the face of much adversity.
The memory of my mother, Annette Eisenstein, z”l, whose pride in me was unending. When looking back on her life, I learn the lesson of opening my heart to anyone and everyone. Smiling at everyone she saw, befriending everyone she met…collecting people from all walks of life. Isn’t that what life is all about? Connection between one another. That was my mother’s mission. May we each try to do the same.
The memory of my dad, Marvin Eisenstein, z”l, who so badly wanted me to finish this cd before he passed. Sim Shalom is dedicated specifically to him as when we set up a zoom link in the studio and a computer to the television in his apartment, he was able to “be in the studio” with me since by that point he was too weak to do so in person. He told me, “I felt like you were singing to me.” Well, dad, this one’s for you.
Rabbi Alexander Davis – my partner in crime for so many years. “Ivdu Et Hashem B’simcha” is for you. “Let’s go make a shul together” touched my heart and to this day I have never forgotten it. Working beside you was an honor and a privilege. You gave me room to dig deep into what spirituality meant to me and express it in my work. Our partnership was a blessing to me. May you continue to bring your heart and soul to everything you do…and uplift the congregation through your teaching and your prayers. May you always worship in gladness.
David, Rachel, Sally – my beloved family. You put up with late nights, missed dinners, last minute demands on my time with you. And while you grumbled some, I know you supported me in the work in which I believe. I could not have done this without you. You make me a better person and I am forever grateful that you are my family. I am so proud to be your spouse and your mom. I love you all.
Special thank you:
To a very loving and caring anonymous donor for graciously giving the necessary monies for this project. Your generosity allowed me to leave a gift to the synagogue I love.
To John Orenstein, piano, who gave so much to this project and to many other musical endeavors over the years. It was always fun collaborating, and I was thankful he barely ever said, “no!”
To all the musicians who made this cd so much better by giving of their time and talents.
To Kelsey Bailey, vocals; Rabbi Alexander Davis, text narration; Sid Konikoff, vocals; Barb Leibundguth, flute; Tom Lieberman, guitar; Diane Loudon, cello; Gilah Mashaal, vocals; Pat O’Keefe, clarinet; John Orenstein, piano; Matthew Orenstein, bass; Shari Rothman, harp; Randy Sabien, violin; Cantor Azi Schwartz, vocals; Lior Shragg, percussion; Cantor Ben Tisser, vocals; Bill Torodor, vocals; Naomi Walthour, vocals.
אֲזַמְּרָה – Azamra
Music: B.E. Schiller; arr.: O. Elder; Psalm 146:2; Transcontinental Publishers
With Cantor Azi Schwartz
I will praise the LORD all my life
Melodies from years of Rosh Hashanah Drash services
אָחוֹת קְטַנָּה – Achot K’tana
Piyut for Rosh Hashanah; R. Abraham Hazan Girundi; Spain, 13th century
The little sister – her prayers she prepares and proclaims her praises. O God, please, heal now her ailments. Let the year and its curses conclude! Be strong and rejoice; place hope in the Rock and keep God’s covenant. You will ascend to Zion, and God will say: Pave! Pave her paths. Let the year and its blessings begin!
אַחַת שָׁאַלְתִּי – Achat sha’alti
Music: I. Katz; Psalm 27
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to behold the graciousness of the Lord, and to visit early in God’s temple.
הֲבֵן יַקִּיר לִי –Havein Yakir Li
Music: A. Rotenberg; Jeremiah 31:19
Is Ephraim a darling son unto Me? Is he a child that is dandled? For as often as I speak of him, I do earnestly remember him still; My heart yearns for him, I will surely have compassion upon him, saith the LORD.
עִבְדוּ – Ivdu
Music: unknown; Psalm: 100:2,5
Worship The Name in gladness
אֲדָמָה – Adama
Music: Folk; Lyrics: Shimon Lev-Tahor (Suissa) – adapted to Hebrew
Earth and sky, The heat of fire; The sound of water
הַלְלוּ־יָהּ – Halleluyah
Music: Leonard Cohen; Psalm 150
Vocalists: Gilah Mashaal, Cantor Ben Tisser, Bill Torodor
Let everything that lives and breathes, praise the One.
קֶשֶׁר הַקֶּשֶׁת – Rainbow Connection (Kesher haKeshet)
Music and English Lyrics: P. Williams & K. Ascher; Hebrew Lyics: S. Smith
לַמְדֵּינִי אֱלֹהַי – Lamdeini Elohai
Music: B.E. Schiller; Text: Leah Goldberg; Transcontinental Publishing
נִיגוּן שָׁלוֹם – Niggun Shalom (Peace Niggun)
Music: J. Orenstein; Permission to use from composer
Vocalists: Kelsey Bailey, Naomi Walthour
שָלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם – Shalom Aleichem
Music: D. Friedman; Friday Night Liturgy; Copyright © 2010 Deborah Lynn Friedman Trust
Peace be with you, ministering angels. Come in peace, Bless us with peace, Go in peace
עִבְדוּ אֶת־השם – Ivdu Et Hashem
Music: Y. Begun; Psalm: 100:2,5
Worship The Name in gladness; Come into God’s presence with joyful singing.
כִּי אֵלֶיךָ – KI Eilecha
Music: Shirona; arr. C. Osborns; text: Anim Z’mirot, Shabbat morning liturgy versus 1 -2
Used by permission of composer
Vocalists: Kelsey Bailey, Gilah Mashaal, Cantor Ben Tisser, Bill Torodor, Naomi Walthour
Soothing songs and poems I weave because my soul longs for You.
My soul desires the shadow of your hand, to know every one of Your secrets.
Each time I speak of Your glory, my heart longs for Your love.
Therefore I will speak about You, about Your glories. Your name I shall honor with love songs.
טַל – Tal
Text: liturgy for the prayer for dew, recited during the Pesach musaf, verses 1,2,4
Music: as learned by Sid Konikoff from his Cantor in Albany, NY
Sid and I have been singing this for over 13 years. So excited to recorded it with him.
Dew, precious dew, the good year’s crown, to make the mountains sweet. Pour out Your blessing to strengthen us with wine and corn, that earth in pride and glory may be fruited.
And give Your chosen city safe foundation In dew, transmuted by dew, so we may sing Your praises, softly falling as dew.
Melodies from years of Rosh Hashanah Drash services
גַּלֵּה – Galei
Music: unknown; text: from the Musaf service for Festivals
Manifest the glory of Your sovereignty
לְעוֹלָם – L’olam
Music: unknown; text: Morning preparatory prayers
We should always revere God, in private and in public. We should acknowledge the truth in our hearts, and practice it in thought as in deed.
מֶלֶךְ רַחֲמָן – Melekh Rachman
Music: Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach; Lyrics: musaf yom tov
©Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
לַךְ אָמַר לִבִּי – Lach Amar Libi
Music: Y. Sykes, Nava Tehila; Psalm 27
In Your behalf-b my heart says: “Seek My face!” O LORD, I seek Your face.
עוֹלָם חֶסֶד יִבָּנֶה – Olam Chesed Yibaneh
Music and English Lyrics: M.Creditor; Psalm 89; Transcontinental Publishers
The world was built on kindness
שִׂים שָׁלוֹם – Sim Shalom
Music: Z. Goldrich; Arr. Oran Eldor; Amidah
Grant peace, everywhere goodness and blessing, Grace, lovingkindness, and mercy to us and unto all Israel, Your people. Bless us with the light of Your face; For by the light of Your face You have given us, the Torah of life, love of kindness, righteousness, blessing, mercy, life and peace; May it be good in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel at all times and in every hour with Your peace. Praised are You, Adonai, who blesses Your people Israel with peace.
אָמֵן – Amen
Music: M. Datz; Lyrics: H. Ben Zev
When we pray, we shall say, Amen. For better days, for better ways, Amen.
Bless our families and homes in peace forever. Take us closer to the dream we share together.
Bless our deeds and comfort us with joy and loving. We shall always sing and pray with open hearts.
In Your soul, see us all. Amen.
Let’s wrap the world with endless love.
Let the people have a chance for living. Show the way of truth by hope and giving.
Let the children see a new tomorrow. Happy people who will fill the world with love.
For the world, give a hand. Amen
Every breath of life shall praise, Amen.
We shall pray, peace today. Amen. For better days for better ways. Amen