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Composer, New York City
Age: 31
Nominated by: Cantor Joshua Breitzer
Song: “Adonai S’fatai,” Noah Aronson

I used to think I knew what Jewish music was. It held a very specific place in my heart — mostly in the form of nostalgia and collective memory. But since it has become my life’s work, I now find it much harder to pinpoint exactly what Jewish music is.

At this point in my life, anything can be seen through a Jewish lens. Judaism is at the core of who I am and where I come from, and music is my most intimate mode of expression. When my heart yearns for another person, is it not also yearning for a deeper connection with God? When I look out at our world and want so badly for there to be peace, is that not the same desire that our ancestors turned into liturgy? To me, Jewish music is simply music written by a Jewish soul reaching out to the world, offering up more than 2,000 years of stories and wisdom into the multitude of possible pathways leading us toward a better and more peaceful future. — Noah Aronson

INFLUENCES: If Shlomo Carlebach, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Debbie Friedman all lived on a moshav together, I would’ve been the product of their cultivation.

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