from Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove:
Music has the effect of transporting us through time and space. We hear a song and are reminded of our past – a high school romance, a family simha, or a melody our grandparents used to hum. So too with the Jewish musical canon. The melodies and cadences of our people link our souls not only to Jews around the world, but to Jews through the millennia. It is a moving thought that the very words and melodies that stir our souls have done the same for Jews from generation to
generation. In the presence of Cantor Azi Schwartz, one senses this musical tradition renewed. Not only do his gifts bring our musical past alive for a present generation, but his creativity insists that the reservoir of Jewish music is replenished to meet the ever changing musical tastes of our people. To pray alongside Cantor Schwartz is to connect not only to our shared past but also to anticipate the needs of an emerging Jewish future.
It is an honor to work at the side of Cantor Schwartz every Shabbat and every day of the year. This CD is only a taste of what I enjoy year ‘round. I know you will love it as I do. I invite you to join Cantor Schwartz in shaping the music of our people.
from Steven M. Friedman, Chairman
It is my great pleasure to present to the PAS community this CD of our people’s prayers and music sung by our exceptional
cantors. I hope that every listener appreciates the extraordinary talent and spirit of our Cantor and Music
Director, Azi Schwartz, and our Assistant Cantor, Shiree Kidron.
At worship, in concert and in recordings such as this one, the music of Park Avenue Synagogue touches the soul and elevates the spirit, providing comfort and joy according to every listener’s need. With vocal brilliance and emotional depth, our cantors immerse us in our tradition through the unique power of music.
Close your eyes and absorb the power and the peacefulness of these selections from our musical heritage.
There are few greater pleasures in life.
from Cantor Azi Schwartz
The Bible commands two kinds of love which together define how we are meant to conduct our lives. V’ahavta et Adonai Elohekha, Love the Lord your God; V’ahavta l’rei’akha kamokha, Love your neighbor as yourself. The first love is the basis of religious consciousness and is expressed in religious discourse and in prayer.
The second love is the basis for humanitarianism and compassion and for seeking social justice. Singing about love for God and about love for those who are created in God’s image has been central to Jewish spiritual existence ever since the children of Israel crossed the sea on their way to becoming a free and independent people. The music on this album – selected from the vast repertoire of Jewish romantic music – includes a range of musical expressions of the theme of love and highlights prayers that describe the love between God and the Jewish people. It is my pleasure and honor to serve alongside Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove as the Cantor and Music Director of Park Avenue Synagogue, following the leadership of extraordinary rabbis and cantors. Park Avenue Synagogue has a long and illustrious history in
the world of Jewish liturgical music and has not only preserved the musical legacy of the past, but has also been a leader in the creation of contemporary liturgical music. This recording project showcases our commitment to preserve our rich Jewish heritage and at the same time take a leadership role in evolving synagogue music in the 21st century. There are old and long-forgotten masterpieces in this album which were rediscovered, rearranged and recorded here in an effort to bring
them back into the repertoire of our prayer services and to share their beauty and meaning with our children. There are also contemporary compositions commissioned recently by our Synagogue which we hope will bring new meaning to the prayer texts and will contribute to the canon of Jewish music in the new millennium.