Now that I am an active Reform Jewish adult, I realize that my most positive Jewish and identity-building experiences were formed at one of the Reform Movement's youth camps, URJ (Union for Reform Judaism, formerly UAHC) Camp Newman / Camp Swig (formerly just Camp Swig). There, among the giant redwood trees, I felt holiness in the music we made. It was the music that marked moments of the day, from prayer services to campfires, from Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals) to formal youth choirs that effectively drew me into being Jewish. It was the singing that gave me moments of 'religious consciousness,' that taught me and my fellow campers some basic Hebrew, that helped us express our feelings as teenagers and that we took with us back home. I also attribute my decision to become a cantor to the music - my affection for it, connection to it, and desire to pass it on to youth. Music, as it has been popularized among Reform youth, and it's style have had a tremendous effect on the Jewish world. The undercurrent that moved the songs in the youth movement is breaking as waves on the shores of today's progressive synagogues. The growing trend of incorporating participatory musical style into the synagogue service grew out of the creative liturgy of the youth camps. Singing Jewish music as a community of voices decreases the distance between leader and congregation. When this CD was first released in 1997, I said that "the use of folk guitar in the religious school, in the youth service and at times in adult worship is increasing." How much the more so is that true today! With the addition of these original songs to the American Jewish repertoire, it is my hope that Jewish ideas can be made more accessible to all, that the text can find a youthful voice through the music, and that Jewish issues can be even more meaningful or more fun through the medium of song. L'shalom, Cantor Wally P.S. Listen for Julie Silver, Cantor Jordan Franzel, Cantor David Perper, Cantor Lori Salzman, and Craig Rosen, who also sing on this CD!
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