Music is a vital part of the life of Shaarai Shomayim. For people who like to listen to or participate in music, we have many opportunities.
In 1998, congregant Linda Whipple asked Rabbi Paskoff if she could organize a Purimshpiel, something that had not been attempted at Shaarai in many years. The Rabbi was delighted, and Linda corralled Barry and Carol Kornhauser and David Stameshkin to assist in the writing. The formula since Shpiel V has been to take an American musical comedy, parody its songs, and meld its plot with that of the Book of Esther. The result has been such hits as West Side Shpiel, Goys and Dolls, The King and…OY!, Oklahaman!, The Sound of Purim, My Fair Esther, and Bye Bye Haman, among others. Thanks to the magical musical direction of Professor Alan Levine and the outstanding performance of the 20+ member casts of Shaarai Shpielers, the shpiel scripts of producer/writer Stameshkin, have played to a full and happy house each Purim.
One of the special things about Shaarai Shomayim is that one Friday Night Shabbat Service each month is designated a “Music Shabbat,” in which special musical offerings are a part of the service. This concept has been a huge success! We have heard wonderful vocal and instrumental music from the choir and other members of the congregation, and some unique Shabbats have included a celebration of Psalm 150 featuring instruments mentioned in the Psalm, and a musical “Pop Shabbat” service. We are also making a special effort to reach out to members of the Congregation who have not previously been involved in Congregational music groups through our Music Shabbat program. If you love music and want to help make it happen, joining one of our musical ventures is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in synagogue life, meet terrific people and have a lot of fun.
Chavrai Zamir, our volunteer Congregational choir, has been providing beautiful vocal music for more than 20 years. Under the direction of Alan Levine, the 19-member choir sings at Family Shabbat Services, Chanukah Shabbat, Confirmation, and Education Shabbat, among others. In addition, the choir, under the direction of Sally Hart, sings at all Saturday morning B’nai Mitzvah services. In the past, the choir has also presented Craig Taubman’s lovely Friday Night Live service.
Miller Music Festival
In 1991, congregants Rosanne and David Selfon endowed the annual Miller Music Festival in memory of her parents, Madeline and Lester Miller. To perpetuate their love of much, the annual Festival features national recognized Jewish musicians in concert at the Temple. Each year, the weekend opens with a special Shabbat service on Friday night and culminates with a Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon performance and reception.
Past performers include:
Seeds of Sun
Avodah Dance Troupe