While thinking about my upcoming high school reunion (scheduled for Labor Day weekend), I am reminded of the blessings of a smaller, tight-knit community. One such blessing is the ability to get to know others in the community on a more profound level. My graduating high school class had only 39 people, so we knew each other well enough to give everyone a thoughtful, superlative award each year. I have lived up to my sophomore year superlative of “most likely to become a rabbi,” and I still hope to live up to my junior year superlative of “most likely to inspire a song in your heart.”
One of my all-time favorite biblical teachings is the Book of Psalm’s injunction to “sing a new song.” Based on the number of people who have been singing with me at Shabbat services, it seems that this message resonates with the larger Or Ami community. What is it about music that stirs our souls? That magical essence of a song is like a professional escape artist who can never truly be captured. Although some have tried to lock it behind the bars of a musical staff, it still slips from out of these confines, and the more we contemplate how, the more we are left standing with our mouths open in wonder.
A sacred, ineffable element comes to life when notes are played and when voices rise together in song. The transcendent nature of music provides one of the most direct and instantaneous ways to connect with God. Even unresponsive dementia patients have occasionally been galvanized back into life by familiar tunes from their childhood. There is something about music that connects to our core as human beings and nourishes our souls. That is something I would like to share with everyone who comes to Shabbat services and/or attends Religious School here at Or Ami.
One of my many goals as Rabbi and Director of Education is to bring more music to Or Ami with the help of Rachel and the many talented musicians in our community. My intention is to reinvigorate the community with the uplifting feeling of a new song. But in order to accomplish this goal, I need your voice to join in the song of Or Ami. I want to hear what your soul has been craving and what your mind hungers to learn. I want to know who you are, where you came from, and where you would like to go as an individual, a family, and a valued member of the Or Ami community. In other words, I would like to enjoy the blessing of Or Ami’s smaller, tight-knit community and get to know you on a profound level as we write Or Ami’s new song together. If you would like to set up a meeting to share your story or your ideas, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.