Musical Notes

Musical Notes


on Monday, 01 April 2013. Posted in Temple Times Articles

What would you do if a someone called you the day you moved in to the neighborhood, someone called you on the phone to say, "You'll regret moving into this neighborhood, Jew boy?" Like Rabbi Michael Weiser who had just moved to Lawrence, Kansas, you would probably call the police. Upon hearing the likely identity of the caller, would you call the Jewish Defense League? The FBI? Forget the whole thing?

What Rabbi Weiser reported in a recent episode of the NPR radio show, "Snap Judgment," is that he decided to try to make contact with the caller, a man named Larry Trap. The rabbi got into the habit of calling every Thursday--just before his first bar mitzvah lesson--and leave a message on Larry's machine. One day Larry picked up the phone and asked why the Rabbi was calling. The Rabbi replied, "I heard you were disabled. I thought you might need a ride to the grocery."

Silence followed.  Larry said, "Don't call again."


on Monday, 25 February 2013. Posted in Temple Times Articles

One of my strongest Jewish memories is not related to any holiday or festival. I was cleaning house on a summer afternoon when the doorbell rang. As my dog Chuy barked frantically, I turned off the vacuum and went to the door to discover two young men wearing black pants, long-sleeved white shirts and ties standing at the front door. I could see by their outfits that they were missionaries from the Church of Latter Day Saints. Thinking, "Only fools and missionaries go out in the midday sun in Tucson, Arizona in the month of June," I invited them in and served them both very large glasses of ice water.

Shir Chadash -- A New Song

on Thursday, 06 December 2012.

One of the most powerful experiences of my Jewish childhood was that of singing in the children's choirs at Temple de Hirsch-Sinai. From 6th grade on, members of the Junior Choir came to Temple every Shabbat morning at 8:45 am to rehearse for and sing at the 10:30 am Shabbat morning services. By 7th grade, my friends and I knew the Union Prayerbook by heart, had heard countless sermons, and were able to rate the each of that year's bar mitzvahs and their attendant onegs.

The effect of singing Jewish music together for all those years was profound. Today, my choir friends are still singing in synagogue choirs, serve on synagogue boards, or are Jewish professionals. The songs we sing open our hearts and fill our souls.