Music has the ability to crack open our souls and to touch our very essence, bypassing the intellectual and reaching directly for the heart.Through it, we can experience and bring to our consciousness what we feel and think most intensely.
- Singing in our choirs, at all ages: Shireinu, Kol Shirah
- Student Song-leaders
- Concert planning
- Chanting Torah on Shabbat and High Holy Days
Music as Worship: In The Insecurity of Freedom, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote: “All we have are words in the liturgy and reverence in our hearts. But even these two are often apart from each other. It is the task of music to bring them together.”
Music has always held a sacred purpose throughout history. The meaning of the text is expanded through the interaction of the words and song. We take embody our rich Jewish musical heritage; music is at the center of our worship, and we encourage engagement through both singing and listening. We weave together many threads, many intentions, recognizing that each person relates to prayer differently and that different melodies serve many people in different ways. Led by Cantor Caro and Rabbi Holzman, supported with a variety of additional instrumentalists, choirs, special musical programs and guest artists, our music and our worship weave a tapestry of joy and celebration, awe and wonder, comfort, support and rest, all to create spiritually nourishing worship.
Music as Building Sacred Community: Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz (disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, 18th C.) wrote: “When a man (person) is singing and cannot lift his voice, and another comes and sings with him, another who can lift his voice, then the first will be able to lift his voice too. That is the secret of the bond between spirit and spirit.”
Throughout the history of the world, music has functioned to bring people together, and to bind them in a common idea, cause, or mission. Music cuts through cultural dividers and goes beyond borders and boundaries; throughout history and in our own lives, we know of genuine spiritual experiences when people sing together. At NVHC, music brings us together in worship, in celebration, in times of grief and mourning, in acts of kindness and of justice,all in the midst of our flourishing Jewish community.
Music as Healing: “Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory,” writes renowned Irish author and poet Oscar Wilde. From the sanctuary to the hospital room, we know that the sounds of music can promote healing and strength for those in need. Even singing the beautiful healing prayer Mi Shebeirach over the phone to someone who is ill can bring a comforting ability to just breathe deeply. Music relaxes our bodies and minds, and enters the soul in a way words just cannot explain.
Fear and loneliness experienced during serious illness generate spiritual crises that require spiritual care. Music has a significant role in this, transcending words, carrying an emotional value and a comfort beyond conversation. Music in prayer brings empathy and understanding to persons in distress. It is our deep aspiration that the music at NVHC continues to bring healing and catharsis to those who are ill, and to those who are caring for them.
Music as Inspiration: Ludwig van Beethoven wrote: “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.”
Music has the power to reach what otherwise is inaccessible. May the music of NVHC bring a deeper understanding of the work of our souls; let us be transported, elevated and inspired by our music.