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Hang 10: Music to Groove into the High Holy Days

Hang 10: Music to Groove 
into the High Holy Days

“Song opens a window to the secret places 
of the soul.” - Hasidic Teaching

The quarantine playlist has become a thing! The use of streaming services has been booming as we shelter in place. As we prepare for a New Year where so much is tentative, we have turned to music to find a little peace.  

We decided to make you a playlist! Actually 10 playlists, each a different genre or theme. Whatever your jam is, from classical to classic rock from sacred prayer to ...Say a Little Prayer…. we aim to put the play in playlists! 

At CBH, we love our music and we rely upon it to take us on journeys that are beyond prose. Music cracks us open where we have hardened. It comforts when we need solace. It sparks joy when our spirits are grounded. Music is our prayer and it is our play; it is our yearning and our freedom. 

So crank up the music, enjoy some listening love, and groove into the High Holy Days with us. And the best part of sheltering in place is that you can dance like no one is watching and sing like you’re fully unmuted.

High Holiday Classical Playlist 2020 By David Borthwick & Sarah Zaslaw

Gut yontif! We two met in the viola section of an orchestra three decades ago and have been making music together ever since—including at CBH since 2006. It’s a communal niche we love to fill.

Since we’re all missing the sounds of music-making in person, our playlist evokes memories of live music with pieces from CBH High Holidays past (nos. 1–8). A couple of general, contemplative mood-setters by Jewish composers follow (nos. 9–10), and the title of the bonus track, “Vidui,” means confession. For our brief comments on each selection, please visit here. Enjoy, and may we all be inscribed for a good year.

  1.    Kol Nidrei for cello and orchestra by Max Bruch
  2.    Kol Nidrei by John Zorn
  3.    Chichester Psalms, Part III, by Leonard Bernstein 
  4.    Tehillim, Part 1, by Steve Reich 
  5.    “Lift Thine Eyes” from Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah
  6.    Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland
  7.    Alleluia by Eric Whitacre 
  8.    Prayer by Ernest Bloch  
  9.    Tenebrae by Osvaldo Golijov
  10.   Cello Concerto, first movement, by Mieczyslaw Weinberg

Bonus Track:
Vidui from Baal Shem: Three Pictures of Hassidic Life by Ernest Bloch


High Holidays with PRIDE by Interim Executive Director Aaron Berger

Aaron Berger (on the left) is celebrating 14 years of his partner Jarred Lightner putting up with his general household mania. Facing challenges ranging from home haircuts to home renovations to the loss of family members, Jarred has proven to be the much better half in this partnership.

Even as a kid I wanted to see people like me represented on TV, in movies, and most of all in popular music. We can trace an evolution from our gay-anthem leaders like Barbra, Cher, Dolly, and Diana to out performers like Elton, George, Melissa, and Ricky. Now our evolution has continued to where we can revel in songs that highlight love and identity in all forms. 

All the artists below fall under the LBGTQ+ umbrella including two Allies, because we would not have gotten this far without others reaching back to pull us ahead (important life lesson there). While there are songs that seek forgiveness, it’s important to note these artists are asking to be forgiven for who they are, not misdeeds or wrongdoings. To balance that, I’ve included songs that are unabashedly unapologetic. Viva L’Evolution! 

  1.      And I Love Him performed by Benjamin Gibbard
  2.      Him by Sam Smith
  3.      Confessions by Cub Sport
  4.      Soldier by Trixie Mattel
  5.      In or Out by Ani DiFranco
  6.      Simply the Best performed by Noah Reid
  7.      Girls, Girls, Girls by Ana Egge
  8.      Daughter by Ryan Cassata
  9.      Swings Both Ways by Robbie Williams & Rufus Wainwright 
  10.    Everyone is Gay by A Great Big World 

Empowering Bonus Tracks:
Gay Pride | Fight Song             
I Like Boys by Todrick Hall (behind the scenes) 
March March by The Chicks     

Eclectic Music of Fore-Giveness by Brad Davidorf

Brad Davidorf is a melody man. He knows the words to about 4 songs, but the melody to hundreds. It’s the vibrations. The vibrations of the Shema, of Oyfn Pripitchik, of the Kaddish, that connects Brad to his history and his future. He also talks a lot.

Forgiveness. As a kid, I was taught that we ask those whom we’ve wronged in the past year for forgiveness during the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Now, I only remember being taught about being the Asker. But, what if we are the Askee? What if someone asks us to forgive? Or better yet, what if we decide to forgive before ever being asked? Fore-Give. My guess is that the giving of forgiveness is something you give yourself more than anyone else.

Nothing keeps you connected to someone more than anger.  To forgive is an important step in letting go and setting yourself free

  1.     Letting Go performed by Ben Sollee
  2.     Monster by Jacob Banks
  3.     One Day by Matisyahu
  4.     Open Arms by Patty Larkin
  5.     Woman of the World by Michael Hedges
  6.     I Say A Little Prayer by Dionne Warwick
  7.     All At Sea by Jamie Cullum
  8.     Sweetness by Jimmy Eat World
  9.     Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell
  10.   Smile by Nat King Cole


Conscious Indie High Holy Days Playlist by Casey Hall

Casey was raised on a healthy dose of punk rock music which was tempered a bit when he went to college in a forest in Olympia, Washington. Since, he’s weaved many musical threads into a growing tapestry of sounds and meaning that in some small way connects him to the earth or the sky or the stars. From whale song to Space Oddity, Casey loves to uncover a little nugget of wisdom in everything he encounters—so maybe if he’s every stuck floating around in a tin can, he will at least have songs to hum and things to think about…

In this playlist, I wanted to try to share some of my mindset as I move from the joy and sweetness of Rosh Hashanah into the more personal, introspective space of Yom Kippur. Starting with a few upbeat, joyous songs, the titles capture the intention—be love, be fearless…and play! We then move into a more focused “be here now” and start to delve into our relationship with the earth, creatures, and children. And then, even as we strive to be resilient in the face of life, we have to confront our idea of how we want to live (To the Great Unknown) with the reality that we do miss the mark (Twisted) and do have to confront our ultimate end (Come Home). But, if we do the work, the stars may align and we are off “To Zion”. I hope there’s a little nugget in here for you too. 

  1.    Be Love (feat. Tubby Love) by Satsang
  2.    Be Fearless and Play by Wookiefoot
  3.    Be Here Now (feat. Nahko) by Corey French
  4.    Honor the Earth by Nahko and Medicine for the People
  5.    Small but Fierce by Wookiefoot
  6.    Resilient by Rising Appalachia
  7.    To the Great Unknown by Cloud Cult
  8.    Twisted by Nahko and Medicine for the People
  9.    Come Home by Cloud Cult
  10.  To Zion by Trevor Hall


A Very British New Year High Holiday Playlist By Eytan Davidson

Eytan grew up in New York and fell in love with the guitar shortly after his Bar Mitzvah. Raised on the music of The Beatles, it wasn’t long before he plunged himself into the Black American Blues-influenced British Rock of the 1960s and 70s. His love of this music continues to this day as a husband and father of two. So much so that he started a British Rock cover band in 2018 called Her Majesty’s Request. 

In curating this playlist, I thought of the songs that have stayed with me as introspective, poignant, and moving to me throughout my life. I hope this playlist gives you all the feels! L’Shana Tova U’Metukah! 

  1.    Albatross by Fleetwood Mac
  2.    Give Me Love by George Harrison
  3.    Can’t Find My Way Home by Blind Faith
  4.    Pink Moon by Nick Drake
  5.    A Day in the Life by George Martin featuring Jeff Beck
  6.    Supersonic Rocket Ship by The KinksLady 
  7.    Stardust by David Bowie
  8.    Bron-Yr-Aur by Led Zeppelin
  9.    In The Light by Led Zeppelin
  10. Spread Your Wings by Queen

Bonus Track:
In My Life by The Beatles

High Holiday Rock By Faith Russler

Faith grew up in the early 60’s with three older sisters who were always listening to AM, then FM Rock stations along with so many 45s and LPs. Rock and Roll became ingrained in her at an early age. At this point, now in her 60’s, Faith would say she have a solid foundation in the genre. 

So as we traverse the Days of Awe, reviewing our lives, baring our souls, casting off sins, standing, asking for forgiveness, fasting, and then standing some more, I hope these songs will allow you to mine even further for veins of personal and collective meaning.

  1.   Wall of Denial by Stevie Ray Vaughn 
  2.   Come As You Are by Nirvana
  3.   Take Me to the River by Talking Heads
  4.   Stand by R.E.M.
  5.   Evil Ways by Santana
  6.   You’re No Good by Linda Ronstadt
  7.   All Apologies by Nirvana
  8.   Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More by The Allman Brothers Band
  9.   Runnin’ on Empty by Jackson Browne
  10. Have a Talk With God by Stevie Wonder

Bonus Tashlich and Stand (Again) Tracks: 
Touch Caste on the Water by Hedge and Donna 
Down By The River by Neil Young 
Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding 
Solitude Standing by Suzanne Vega
I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders

Musicians of the Rising Song Institute by Gayanne Geurin

Gayanne Geurin has been on the trail for less obvious Jewish music for many years now. What was a passing fancy one night became an internet research obsession in the 90’s. She took such a fancy to this music that she decided to partner up with some other rogue CBH musicians and make a music program. Many moons later, Gayanne found herself as a Rising Song fellow, creating music alongside several other musicians on the cutting edge of Jewish music.

Inspired by Joey Weisenberg, the Rising Song Institute “is a meeting place and incubator for creative musicians and prayer leaders who hope to reinvent the future of music as a communal Jewish spiritual practice.” This playlist includes leaders, fellows, and residents of Rising Song -- all friends with whom I have had the amazing honor to make music. There are many more people and choices to discover, and I hope you will explore further.  All of these songs touch on themes that are directly related to High Holy Day liturgy or evoke the essence of an aspect of this spiritual season, from soul-stirring to uplifting. 

1.   Chana’s Song by Sam Tygiel. Arranged and sung 
         by Rebekka Goldsmith
2.   Nechama by Batya Levine
3.   Mi Yiten Li Ever by Rabbi Miriam Margles
4.   Min Hameitzar by Deborah Sacks Mintz 
         with the Hadar Ensemble
5.   Drop Stars Like Memories by Yoshie Fruchter
6.   She is on Her Way by Aly Halpert
7.   Chadesh Yameinu by Aviva Chernick
8.   Ahallela by Micah Shapiro
9.   Waking Up Niggun by Ariel Wolpe
10. Ya’aleh Koleinu / Let Our Voices Rise 
         by Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble

High Holy Days Broadway Playlist by Gregg Bedol

Gregg has been enamored by the stage since 4th grade, when he stood front and center, facing out to the audience as Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater in ‘Babes in Toyland,’ and said a line.  What the line was, he has no idea. But he sure remembers those faces staring right at him.  As they say, he was smitten. His first trip to NYC, and first Broadway musical, was for his bar mitzvah, where he saw Janis Page (and Bea Arthur) in ‘Mame.’  (“Open A New Window” just missed making this list. It is a bonus track.) And that was that. 

The 10 selected songs have an arc, from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur.  They’re intended to be listened to in order, but you don’t have to do so.  Broadway songs are interesting:  They are written for a specific context, to move the story forward.  It’s not easy to pull them out of the show.  Yet all of these not only work within the show for which they were written, but each also stands alone.  They mean something to me.  I hope they mean something to you, too. L’shonah Tovah!

1.   Prepare Ye from Godspell
2.   Prayer from Come From Away
3.   The Story Goes On from Baby
4.   Naughty from Matilda
5.   It’s Quiet Uptown from Hamilton
6.   Make Our Garden Grow from Candide
7.   For Good from Wicked
8.   Measure the Valleys from Raisin
9.   You Will Be Found from Dear Evan Hansen
10. It’s Not Where You Start from Seesaw

Bonus Tracks:
Come Down from the Tree from Once On This Island
Corner of the Sky from Pippin
Circle of Life from The Lion King
Open A New Window from Mame

60s Soul: Protest, Change, and Soul Joy by Jenna Jordan

Jenna Jordan is an associate professor of International Affairs at Georgia Tech from Oakland, CA and LOVES 60s soul.

This is a playlist to take you on an inner journey of protest and change – reflecting on how we can change ourselves and our communities. These songs are a call to rise up, take action, and care for others, but they are also songs of joy. Once we move on up and strive to be better, we can feel good and clap deep in our souls.

  1.   The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron
  2.   Ohio by The Isley Brothers
  3.   Power to the People by Curtis Mayfield
  4.   Compared to What by Roberta Flack
  5.   Respect Yourself by The Staple Singer
  6.   Move on Up by Curtis Mayfield
  7.   I Just Want to Celebrate by Rare Earth
  8.   Feeling Good by Nina Simone
  9.   Thank you God by Darondo
  10.  Soul Clappin’ by Sly and the Family Stone


High Discolidays by Rabbi Joshua Lesser

Rabbi Josh grew up on disco which probably reveals a great deal. Even more telling, most of these hits were playing at roller rinks where he was learning a great deal about life’s ups and downs. Most importantly, he left with the lesson that has guided his rabbinate: “You just can’t skate through life!”

Preparing this “High Discolidays” playlist, I donned my leisure suit and cranked up the glitter ball. Take this Teshuvah themed High Holy Days Playlist to inspire your journey from missing the mark to unabashed self-acceptance.  As we all turn the beat around, this year, let us pray that we will be stayin’ alive because after all we are family. Right? Right on!

  1.   September by Earth Wind and Fire
  2.   Bad Girls by Donna Summer
  3.   Shame by Evelyn Champagne King
  4.   Turn the Beat Around by Vicki Sue Robinson
  5.   Don’t Leave Me This Way by Thelma Houston
  6.   Got to Be Real by Cheryl Lynn
  7.   I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
  8.   Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees
  9.   I Am What I Am by Gloria Gaynor
  10. We Are Family by Sister Sledge

Bonus Tracks:
Avinu Malkeinu by Jennifer Duretz Peled
Israelism (Hevenu Shalom) by Army of Lovers 
V’Haer Ayneny by Eshet Chayil 


Wed, May 25 2022 24 Iyyar 5782