The Sound of Love and a Jerusalem Choral Experience

August 9, 2022 in Hazzan Asa Fradkin

I lived in Jerusalem for Cantorial school in 2003 and let’s just say I love it. The sounds of calls to prayer, the sights of people walking to shul with their tallesim already on and the smells.

I missed the smell of the place. The sweet smell of the culinary offerings along Emek Rfaim mixed with the exhaust of the passing cars, the old men smoking on benches mere steps from outrageous bursts of flowers recently in bloom.

I also missed hearing the cacophony of languages spoken, especially on the busses as I was traveling to meet family and friends at a nearby café or place of work.

I was lucky to be back in a very special capacity. About 18 months ago I was asked by a colleague at the Cantors Assembly to help revive the relationship between the CA and USY.

I suggested to the USY director that we form a choir of USY kids at a convention that could sing an arrangement of a well known Jewish Song. They had planned to name their upcoming international conference “Olam Chesed” after the well known song of social justice written by Rabbi Menachem Creditor which speaks of building a world with love.

With Rabbi Creditor’s blessing we arranged to have Micah Hendler, who is one of Beth El’s favorite sons and founder of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, to arrange the music and production.

Micah readily and enthusiastically agreed.

The project would take place at the Fuchsberg Center, the very place where I studied in my first year of Cantorial school nearly 20 years before.

I, along with a treasured Cantorial colleague living in Israel, met up with Micah and 70 USY and JYC singers on July 28th to learn Micah’s arrangement of Olam Chesed, share thoughts with the kids on the meaning of “building a world with love” , and ultimately perform the song on the steps of the courtyard outdoors.

The project, which includes dancing, singing and visual works of art expressing the concept of Olam Chesed, is set to be a multimedia masterpiece with the song performed in 3 languages, English, Hebrew and Arabic.

By far the most moving part of the experience was learning to chant the familiar song in Arabic along with Palestinian members of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus and all of the USY youth who were learning to sing in a language many of their peers would never have the pleasure to experience.

To sing a piece of music in the three languages of Jerusalem in the holy city was an experience nearly beyond explanation. To share it with the native speakers of all those languages lifted it higher and higher.

The video will be ready in the next month or maybe sooner. For now I’d like to share a few pictures and video from this incredible evening of sharing, community and Ahavat Yerushalayim. Love of Jerusalem.

1 comments

  • Dora Weinstein says:

    Dear Hazzan Fradkin,
    I was very moved by reading about your last trip to Israel and about the choir. It reminded me of all my trips to Israel and I felt that I was walking along with you.
    Thank you very much,
    Dora Weinstein

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