“Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable,” Leonard Bernstein once said.
You’ve proved him right.
We have been overwhelmed with responses to our “Soundtrack of Our Spirit” project, for which we asked our readers to nominate Jewish song leaders that inspire their community with their music.
Cantors, song writers, folk singers, vocalists, bands — the diversity of nominees shows that Jewish music is more than just religious. It’s a feeling. As one nominee wrote: “Jewish music is the sound of family, of imagination, of desire for the dream past.”
Their influences range from Hassidic Nigguns, to Debbie Friedman and Shlomo Carlebach, to Bob Dylan, Elton John and the Beatles. The submissions reflect that diverse background. We’ve gotten lilting chants of psalms and prayer, camp anthems, folky melodies and so much more. (To the person who submitted a song from “Selections from the Droid Haggadah,” I say: Thank You. You made my day.)
With only one week left until the July 23rd deadline, we have received over 95 submissions. We want more.
Please fill out the form below and include a an audio file no more than four minutes long. You can nominate yourself, or someone you admire (though we do need the permission of the singer).
A shortlist of submissions will be judged by a panel of three, including Angela Buchdahl, cantor and senior rabbi of Manhattan’s Central Synagogue; Galeet Dardashdi, a Mizrahi singer, cantor and professor, and David Tillman, associate professor at the Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary and cantor emeritus of Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. The judges’ selections will be published in early September, at which time you’ll have a chance to give feedback on your favorite tunes.
As editor-in-chief Jane Eisner wrote in June, “the goal here is to encourage conversation and enjoyment of Jewish song in all its many forms.”
We can’t wait to listen to all of you.
Whether you’re nominating yourself or someone else, please fill out the entire form before July 23rd at 11:45 p.m. Not sure if your song counts as Jewish music? Submit anyway!
Anne Cohen is the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.