My own personal journey with music has been a lifelong adventure starting at age 2 when I apparently would glue my head to large speakers to really absorb what was coming out. Then at 5 I took up classical piano and at 12 guitar won my heart. Growing up in the reform world, most of the music I heard in shuel (temple) came from the choir in the balcony and organ, all hidden from view, and I can remember the somber minor tonalities that imprinted on my memory. The other melodies I hear were those sung at home on Shabbat and during the holidays (Pesach, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanna, and Channukah). I can remember the complex nature of the melodies and harmonic minor tonalities (some musicologists have also named the second mode of the harmonic minor the Jewish Scale). After my self proclaimed emancipation from the Temple (post Barmitzvah), my musical journey ran the gamut including but not limited to the following styles: Jazz, Progressive Rock, Classical, Flamenco, Reggae, Funk, World Music, Klezmer, Classic rock, Folk, and Fusion.
I came back to yiddishkite after a trip w/ my Family to Israel in 1997. I had the classic Jewish “Wall Experience” which is to say that at the moment of touching the Wall in Jerusalem, I felt that my own connection to the lineage was permanently sealed and fully planted in the ground of my being.
Returning to the San Francisco Bay Area, I began “Shuel hopping” to find my spiritual home here. Fortunately, there is an incredible variety of Temples that include reform, conservative, renewal, orthodox, modern orthodox, Chabad houses, Hillel houses, feministic Judaic centers, mediation centers, and many informal gatherings that blend some of the above. I found my home at Chochmat Halev, a meditation center/shuel in Berkeley. Through playing in the temple band at many services, bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings and gatherings, I was re-introduced to some of my childhood music and have learned a smattering of the vast array of Jewish Music that is out there.