"Heal Us Now" (Leon Sher)
This beautiful piece offers prayers of healing for the mind, body, soul, and for the world. It is a communal reflection that gives us hope amidst difficult times. It also enables us to move forward towards a better future. The recording includes Hallel B'Shir (Eddie Pleasant, conductor) and Dina Pruzhansky on piano.
"V'shamru" (Moshe Rothblum)
These words from the Torah remind us that celebrating Shabbat is one way in which we can emulate God’s holiness. Rothblum's enables the entire congregation to join together joyfully.
"Avinu Malkeinu" (Max Janowski)/"Avinu Malkeinu" (Folk)
This essential piece of High Holy Day liturgy is portrayed through the majesty of Cantor and choir singing Janowski's lyrical piece. It is followed by the communal energy of the folk setting. The recording features Hallel B'Shir (Eddie Pleasant, conductor) and Dina Pruzhansky on piano.
"V'shamru" (Maurice Goldman)
Maurice Goldman's version of this prayer is an ethereal listening moment that captures the landscape of creation with delicate sparseness and beauty. Dina Pruzhansky is on piano.
"Hashkiveinu" (Craig Taubman)/
"I Dreamed a Dream" (Les Miserables)
This medley was a highlight from Broadway Shabbat. Our evening prayer for shelter and protection blends beautifully with this beloved musical theater piece. The juxtaposition reminds us that dreaming is a significant part of the nighttime experience, often capturing our deepest hopes and prayers. Featuring Dina Pruzhansky and Hallel B'Shir (Eddie Pleasant, Conductor).
Concert and Outreach Highlights
"You Are My Home" (Benjie Ellen Schiller)
This piece incorporates two different texts that describe the meaning of home. The first, which comes from Mishnah Yoma, defines home as literally being one’s spouse – which can be extrapolated to also include family and other loved ones. The second text comes from the "Hashkiveinu" prayer. It reminds us that home is also a place of safety and protection. The piece features Dina Pruzhansky on piano, with video editing by Cantor Lauren Phillips Fogelman.
"Ma Tovu/V'asu Li Mikdash" (Dina Pruzhansky)
This setting of "Ma Tovu" is majestic and masterful. It contains several different musical styles yet somehow comes together as a highly cohesive piece. This is aided in part because of the many different texts that are woven together to create the prayer itself. Hallel B'Shir was proud to perform this piece at the North American Jewish Choral Festival in July 2022 with Cantor Lauren Phillips Fogelman as soloist.
"The Latke Song" (Debbie Friedman)
This clever song tells the story of Hanukkah from the perspective of a potato latke. We learn how to make this delicious delicacy, we draw connections to culinary delights from other Jewish holidays, and we remember how lucky we are to have the freedom to celebrate peacefully. Temple Israel of Northern Westchester's band, Sh'ma NaNa, helps to bring this exuberant song to life. This video was recorded as part of a pandemic Hanukkah greeting.
"Esther the Queen" (Michael Isaacson)
This fun song uses themes from the cantillation motif of the Book of Esther to pay tribute to the heroine of the Purim story. We are reminded how grateful we are for Esther’s perseverance and bravery in saving the jewish people. The video was recorded and edited by Cantor Lauren Phillips Fogelman and features Dina Pruzhansky on piano.
"Avinu Shebashamayim (Prayer for the State of Israel)"
I wrote this piece at the request of a group of sixth grade campers at OSRUI, who sought an age-appropriate way to respond to Israel's Operation Protective Edge crisis in 2014. I later added the English lyrics to make the song more accessible to younger children. The piece has since been published in Transcontinental Music Publication's Manginot: The Complete Jewish Songbook for Children, Volume III.
I wrote and dedicated this piece to my student pulpit, Union Temple of Brooklyn, and it quickly became a standard in our Shabbat morning repertoire. The piece was published in Transcontinental Music Publication's Shabbat Anthology IX and was later arranged for choir by Dina Pruzhansky. Cantor Lauren was honored to perform the piece with Hallel B'Shir at the North American Jewish Choral Festival in July 2022.
"The Hanukkah Pokey"
Based on the beloved classic children’s dance, this catchy and fun song counts down the eight nights of Hanukkah while explaining the often-confusing instructions for placing and lighting the candles. It also highlights the way the shamash (helper candle) lights up the other candles.
Virtual Ensemble Projects
Communal music making was incredibly challenging during the height of the pandemic. I was thrilled to collaborate with my musical team and some very talented lay leaders on these virtual ensemble presentations, which were professionally edited. These compilations feature Temple Israel of Northern Westcheter's choir, Hallel B'shir and its band, Sh'ma NaNa, along with Eddie Pleasant and Dina Pruzhansky. "Let There Be Love/Hashkivienu" prays for a world in which all people feel safe and protected. "Maoz Tzur" offers a beautiful virtual rendering of a classic Hanukkah song, which we provided for our congregants to play after lighting candles at home.