SHIR KI: Jewish Musical Milk and Honey at KI

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 1:23pm -- Clergy

August 10, 2017

18 Av 5777

by Hazzan David F. Tilman

SHIR KI: Jewish Musical Milk and Honey at KI

         We are all very proud of the KI musical program. Our musical activities, performing ensembles, and music classes for congregants of all ages bring the wonder of Jewish musical experience to hundreds of KI congregants! Our musical activities teach belief in G-d, Jewish identity, Jewish joy, Jewish literacy, and love of Israel, to our congregants, and they bring Jewish musical Milk and Honey to all!

         Our adult choir, SHIR KI, is comprised of 35 KI members and community volunteers who are drawn together by the Jewish Musical Experience. Our choir meets every Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. sharp. We learn music in four-part harmony written by traditional and modern Jewish composers from all over the world. Our choir participates throughout the High Holy Day services, singing together with Cantor Amy Levy. The Cantor and Shir KI together teach new melodies to our traditional prayers and encourage our congregants to actively participate. At other times, the Cantor and Shir KI sing masterpieces of Jewish musical creativity designed to inspire sincere prayer and introspection. Shir KI is accompanied by our virtuoso organist Andrew Senn, and I am so privileged to conduct the choir.

         This season will be filled with many amazing events. We are preparing a celebration of Yiddish music and culture on Shabbat evening, October 27th. We shall present a spirited Shabbat Hanukkah service. We shall commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the song Yerushalayim Shel Zahav/Jerusalem of Gold at our Israel Shabbat in the spring.

         On Wednesday evening, March 21, 2018, our choir will sing on the Verizon Hall stage of the Kimmel Center in a program of Jewish music as part of the Kimmel Center Organ Series, a once-in-a-lifetime Jewish musical experience!

         Shir KI will begin the year’s activities on Tuesday evening, August 22, for our welcome back reception and first rehearsal, beginning at 7:00 p.m. sharp. We welcome singers of all levels! Please join our sensational chorus for an unforgettable year of Jewish musical experiences, sharing with good friends, tasting Jewish musical Milk and Honey and ultimate joy.

Just as the children of Israel are promised in this week’s Sidrah Eikev that they will find Milk and Honey in the Land of Israel, so will you find Jewish musical Milk and Honey as a member of Shir KI.

         The Torah portion of Eikev, literally “on the heels of…”, or “as a consequence of…” teaches us the Biblical concept of Reward and Punishment: if you (the children of Israel, who are about to enter the Promised Land) obey G—d’s rules and commandments, the Lord will maintain the covenant, the Brit, that G-d made with the forefathers. Eikev is the third Sidrah in D’varim/Deuteronomy, the fifth and last book of the Torah. This Sidrah is the continuation of the Second Discourse delivered to the Israelites by Moses after 40 years of wandering in the desert, as they are about to cross the Jordan River.

         The book of D’varim/Deuteronomy covers a time span of just 36 days, the shortest of any of the Five Books. Prior to his impending demise, Moses reviews ethical laws, theology: what we are required to believe about G-d Almighty, and recapitulates the main events in the history of the Jewish people.

         Moses exhorts the Israelites! If they fulfill G-d’s commandments, they will prosper in the new land, the land “Flowing with Milk and Honey.” G-d will honor the promise that was spoken to previous generations of Israelites, to the forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to their descendants.

         Moses reminds the people of the sins they had committed in the desert: the building and the worship of the Golden Calf, Korach’s rebellion, and the sin of the spies.

         But despite the bad behavior of the earlier generation of Israelites in the desert, G-d prepared a second set of The Tablets of the Covenant, upon which were inscribed the Ten Commandments. G-d also sustained them when they were hungry by providing Manna. The new land will be filled with “Milk and Honey,” wheat, pomegranates, olive oil and dates.

         Moses repeats the commandment to “Love, therefore, the Lord your G-d…” (11:1) that we read in last week’s portion.

         Chapter 11, verses 13-21, states the results of faithful adherence to G-d’s commandments, and the dire results of ignoring Adonai’s laws. This paragraph was included by the Rabbinic editors of the traditional prayer book immediately following Sh’ma Yisrael and V’Ahavta. Early Reform Movement scholars eliminated this text. During the coming High Holy Days, we shall discover that this paragraph has been restored to our prayer service by the editors of our new Mahzor/High Holiday prayerbook.

         This passage concludes with the teachings to place these words on our hands and head as Tefillin, and on our doorposts as M’zuzot. Above all, we are commanded to teach these words to our children, to provide them with a meaningful Jewish education, in order that “the days of our children may increase…”

         The portion concludes with G-d’s promise to give the bountiful and fertile Eretz Yisrael/Land of Israel to the Jewish people forever!     The modern State of Israel has become a true Land of Milk and Honey, in fulfillment of G-d’s promise in Eikev. You too can find musical Milk and Honey at the rehearsals and programs presented by our fabulous adult choir Shir KI.

         My beloved wife, Ellen, our children Avrum, Rabbi Howard and Naomi, Alana, and our new grandson Micah Toby, join me in wishing you “L’shanah Tovah Tikateivu V’Tehateimu/May you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a year of joy, good health, and great Jewish music.