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Rock Shabbat

Once a month, the band we call Shtyx shakes up Shabbat at Kol Ami!

We’ve always been a musical congregation - after all, we’re called “Voice of My People." And yet, there is something wonderfully irreverent about having a rock band on the bima. There is something satisfyingly incongruent about bass lines and a full drum kit during Kabbalat Shabbat. And it’s clear from the attendance and the participation that the congregation loves it!

But is Rock Shabbat really so new and different?

In some ways, yes. The Torah never envisioned electric guitars or drum kits during prayer. But it did envision musical instruments. Psalm 150, written two millennia ago, says “Halleluhu b’teika shofar, b’nevel v’chinor – Praise God with blasts of the horn, with harp and lyre.” It is describing an orchestra that played in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.

And it’s also the case that Jewish music has always evolved with the times. That’s why Yemenite Jewish music and Polish Jewish music sound so different – they grew up in different parts of the world and were heavily influenced by the surrounding cultures. (Many people know that the melody of “Ein Keloheinu” actually comes from an old German drinking song that was adapted for sanctuary use!)

So when we bring in new instruments, and write new melodies, we are following in the footsteps of our ancestors who did the same. We are drawing from our culture and imbuing it with sanctity, giving Jewish meaning to something that already speaks to us.

Can you really “rock” Shabbat? You sure can! Judaism teaches us that in every generation, we should “Sing to God a new song.” There is nothing more Jewish than what we do here on Friday nights.

Please join us monthly for Rock Shabbat. Check the calendar for details.

Wed, May 22 2024 14 Iyar 5784