May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

There was a time long ago when we all loved to listen to the radio and sing along with whatever songs were being played. We would drive in the car and in order to make the time go by more quickly the radio would be on and as soon as our parents listened to the news which really did not interest us kids at the time we would start humming along with the “top ten.” Even more so there were outstanding Broadway show tunes that everyone knew and loved. It had nothing to do with the content or the concept of Kol Esha the songs were uplifting and part of our everyday lives. We all cooed over Maria in West Side Story as she sang about how pretty she felt – we imagined the hay growing as high as an elephant’s eye in Oklahoma and we felt wonderful over the Enchanted Evening that those participating in South Pacific were able to relate to. Professor Higgins taught us about enunciation when he slowly fell in love with Eliza Doolittle while putting up with her cockney brogue. There was no concern about the fact that these songs were not part of our culture. They were actually not a part of anyone’s culture. They were charming and uplifting to us all.

Today the songs being played on the radio have words that none of us would wish to repeat even if we could understand what they were. The venue of rap and reggae and rock are from a world that most cannot relate to at all. Suddenly sadly, we think, our children no longer are learning the fun songs of the past–maybe “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is still an ok tune, but Jewish tunes are now the accepted form of music that our children are being exposed to. The great composers of the past are nowhere to be found in our children’s vernacular and even names such as Gershwin and Bernstein would not be known. Everyone is rushing to listen to the Yeshiva Boys Choir and other such groups.

At this time of year it is hard to escape the music that is being played over and over again each time we walk into a mall. Sleigh bells are ringing–jingle bells are chiming and chestnuts are roasting over an open fire. We love this nostalgic reminiscence of the past. How is it possible to not join in and feel happy? Some of the songs being broadcast over loud speakers do refer to a holiday that we do not celebrate. Most are reminders of a festive season and we are firm believers of anything that can make us feel happy and grateful for being alive and well.

Frequently we find ourselves walking out of a mall humming along and feeling good.

Let’s not get hung up on their music or our music–let’s enjoy the happiness of the moment. When someone says have a happy holiday just smile and say to you as well.

By Rabbi Mordechai & Nina Glick

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