These special days are filled with potential. It’s basically a time of expression, and what better way to do so than with musical accompaniment? The first night of Selichot in the “Thank You Hashem” shul, Five Towns, was ablaze with song. Spiritual music stirs the soul, contagious to all those nearby or even afar.
Our son Joey Newcomb is a ringleader. My greatest pride is when he passes the mic to kids and teens. Various singers have just put out new holiday-type music. Folks nowadays want music from the heart. While upbeat songs were once preferred, we find more requests coming in for ballads of depth in a season of soul. Musical messages of hope, faith and trust are 10 days of teshuva/Holy Day chart toppers.
We shared a live lesson in conflict resolution with an influential leader. Team spirit, accountability and maturity allowed us all to move forward in tandem. No blame, no shame. These days in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur traditionally are times of “repair.” The world sure needs healing. As said in 12-step programs, “Let it begin with me.” Music plays a role in all our relationships, as it’s surely a “love language.”
We were amazed by Queen Elizabeth’s funeral and all the events and marches including musical accompaniment involved in her final farewell. Much of the pomp and circumstance was without words, which was fascinating. She was a grand, modest woman whose dignity endeared her to the masses. No “selfies” of the queen or social media pages. May she and her family be comforted and may they pursue a path of peace and unity. We found a sweet song by Sir Paul McCartney entitled “Her Majesty,” the final song on the Beatles’ “Abbey Road”—and the group’s shortest song at 23 seconds. It’s worth a listen—catch it on YouTube.
Many of the holiday prayers are put to song, both formally and informally. Chazonus brings tefilot to life. In our home, we sing a lot. We‘re happy to shut off the internet and delve into connected communication. Musical gatherings are powerful. My son says the folks in Panama sure knew how to farbrengen. We’re looking forward to the traditional Simchas Bais Hashoeva events during Chol Hamoed Sukkot.
My daughter tells me I “dream big.” Yes, and dreams come true. Our blessing to all is that dreams be fulfilled and shared. May we all feel as if we’ve hit the jackpot simply by waking up each morning with renewed potential and loved ones nearby. To those on their own for whatever reason: There is always, always hope. Think of Benny Friedman and Baruch Levine’s impactful song “Vezakeini”—Hold on Tight.”
Our favorite radio DJ, Leibidig Al Gordon, says the holiday melodies’ influence extends, as we see the words in the machzor and say them with more intent. Familiarity at its best. He says some like chazonus, others prefer a baal tefilla, both of whose job it is to arouse and inspire spiritual awareness. It seems the connection between the one leading the davening and those in prayer deepen as well, through song.
The young folks are into Israeli music, Latin music and other cultural displays. Interestingly, in any given house of worship, we’ll find any number of backgrounds, languages and customs, praying in sync. There are as many kinds of machzorim as there are many kinds of people. Personal prayer is important, beyond the machzor. Al and my son Joey agree that sometimes less is more. Niggunim without words stir the heart and soul connection on another level than an ordinary song. Words can be tricky, as it’s important we say what we mean and mean what we say. Recognizing our own majestic crown arouses respect.
Well, friends, God’s gateway is wide open. May we all enjoy a grand Hootenanny with intent. Happy, healthy, and holy holidays for everyone! See you next year. Thank you Hashem/God!
Al and Sarah (Newcomb) Gordon own and operate 1640 WJPR, a unique radio station in hybrid format out of Highland Park/Edison, New Jersey Al has been dazzling Radioland with his voice and personality for decades. Sarah, a writer, realtor and therapeutic healer, is new to radio and new to the Gordon household. Together they hope to blaze a unique trail utilizing their special koach impacting their children, grandchildren, community, many fans and all others as intended from above, one song and one smile at a time. #TYH Nation YOU matter! They can be reached at: [email protected].