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B’ha-a-lo-techa: The March Begins, Building the Menorah and the Trumpets, Prayer for Miriam’s Good Health.

Shir KI Returns to Verizon, April 2023, and We Need You!

We are returning to the Verizon Hall stage in April 2023 to celebrate Israel 75, and we want you to join us! If you have a love of Jewish music, and you can “carry a tune,” Shir KI is for you! Prior choral experience in high school or college and musical literacy is helpful, but not required. All that is needed is the love of singing together.

Several years ago, Evonne Kruger, KI past president, showed me the preamble to the constitution of KI. Written in 1847, the founding leadership of the congregation mandated that the religious staff of the synagogue was to organize and maintain a well-trained choir to sing at Shabbat, Festival and High Holy Day services!

There has been excellent choral singing at KI since that time to the present day! For the last eleven years, I have been privileged to conduct Shir KI, our volunteer adult choir, at weekly rehearsals as we prepare for High Holy Day services, monthly Shabbat services, and extraordinary concerts and events.

Working under the supervision of our beloved Cantor Amy Levy, and together with virtuoso organist Andrew Senn and our professional quartet, we have created spectacular, joyous and expressive Jewish music. This past year, we prepared and sang two Shabbat services in honor of Rabbi Sussman: Shabopera: a program of operatic arias and choruses, and our joyous farewell service of Rabbi Sussman’s favorites.

Singing in Shir KI on Tuesday evenings is a joyful and educational experience! Our singers become close friends, sharing in each other’s S’mahot/joyous occasions. Our rehearsals are intense and meaningful learning and musical experiences. The joy that we all feel when the harmonies in a new piece come together is truly amazing.

Choral singing is experienced and practiced by over 52 million people throughout the USA! The benefits to your good health, well-being, and Jewish identity are limitless!

Here is our “virtual recording” of Shalom Rav that we prepared for the KI fund raiser last year. 

Our first rehearsal for our new season and High Holy Day preparation is Tuesday evening, August 23, at 7:00 pm in the chapel. This is a new time for our rehearsals. Call or write with questions at any time!

As we begin the reading of B’haalotecha, the third portion of B’Midbar/Numbers, the Israelites remain encamped at the foot of Mount Sinai for a full year after G-d Almighty had given the Torah to Moses. G-d commands Moses to direct his brother Aaron the High Priest to build a Menorah, the seven branch candelabrum that was to be placed in front of the Tabernacle on the march through the desert. Since 1948, the Menorah has been the official symbol of the contemporary State of Israel.

The Menorah in the Torah had seven branches, three on each side extending from the center branch. The Sidrah describes in great detail the required artistic rendering of the Menorah’s arms and base.

The cloud lifts from over the Tabernacle, and G-d Almighty instructs Moses to commission the fabrication of two silver trumpets. The silver trumpets would be used to summon the people to begin their march.

On the Arch of Titus in Rome, constructed in 81 CE, there is an engraved representation of the original Temple Menorah and the trumpets being carried off by the Roman emperor Titus and his father Vespasian after their suppression of the Judean revolt against Rome. No one knows the ultimate resting place for these ancient symbols of Jewish nationhood and religious practice.

As the journey begins, B’nai Yisrael/The Children of Israel complain bitterly about the manna that G-d Almighty had been providing for them. They want meat! So the Holy One causes a wind to blow, sending an abundance of quail to the Israelites. They stuff themselves with the quail, become violently ill, and many die! Thus begins their “kvetching” that Moses must confront and attempt to assuage throughout the 40 year Sinai march.

Even Moses’ siblings get nasty! They slander their younger brother because he had married a Kushite/Ethiopian woman! Because Miriam speaks poorly of her brother, she is punished with leprosy. “As the cloud withdrew from the Tent, there was Miriam stricken with snow white scales!” (12:10) Even though she had slandered her brother Moses, he prays to Almighty G-d, “O G-d, pray heal her!”/“El Na, Refah Na La.”(12:13).

There are very few verbal prayers in the Torah! That is why this five-word text is so powerful, clear and precise. I was taught by a beloved and respected Rabbi in our community, of blessed memory, to recite this short prayer of healing every time I speak with or visit someone who is ill.

All the Tilman’s wish the members of our KI family Shabbat Shalom U’m’vorach.