Radio Chavura (high holiday specials)
Preparing for the High Holidays 5775:  "A Time to Refocus"

Rabbi Daniel Rapp, whose permanent home is in New York, might be dubbed the "Commuter Rabbi," because he regularly shuttles between Manhattan and Denver in order to serve and enrich our community in his capacity as the Interim Rabbi at East Denver Orthodox Synagogue.

Rabbi Rapp and his family were in Denver for much of this past summer and will return again soon so that he can help lead Yom Kippur services at EDOS.

Rabbi Rapp is a recognized Torah scholar and a Dayan (judge) at the Beth Din of America.  His impressive credentials include serving as Associate Dean of Students of Undergraduate Torah Studies at Yeshiva University, where he is a visiting professor of Talmud.  Rabbi Rapp received his juris doctor from the Columbia University School of Law, where he was twice honored for academic excellence.

In mid-August, shortly before he returned to New York, Rabbi Rapp sat with Radio Chavura co-host Dean Rotbart at The Jewish Experience Center to share his thoughts on how the Jewish community can prepare for the High Holidays this year.  The interview was not originally intended for broadcast and thus was not recorded in our regular radio studio.  (Which explains the music, voices and noise in the background.)

"There is a spiritual gravity out there.  If you're not pushing up, you're sinking down."

But the Rabbi's insights were so on target and valuable, we thought it best to let our readers and listeners hear what he had to say directly.


Our pre-Rosh Hashanah interview with Rabbi Rapp is the second in our series of 5775 conversations with prominent Colorado spiritual leaders on the topic of High Holidays preparations.

Direct download: 091414_RadioChavura_Rabbi_Daniel_Rapp.mp3
Category:High Holiday Specials -- posted at: 12:13pm MDT

The Palestinian Authority continues to hide its true intentions toward Israel from the non-Arab world, while consistently pushing a three-part anti-Israeli message to the Palestinian people, says Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, and the special guest on this week's final installment of our three-part High Holidays series.

"When people understand the true Palestinian ideology, they realize that the victimhood [storyline] is a mask," Marcus explains during a pre-recorded telephone interview from Israel.  That internal Palestinian message has three consistent components, he says:  First, to deny Israel's right to exist; second, to demonize Israel and Jews, and third, to promote violence.

Since 1996, PMW has monitored the Palestinian media, speeches and schoolbooks to showcase what the Palestinians are saying - in their very own words, and how their Arab-language messaging differs from the mask the Palestinians present to the English-language world. 

While numerous global news organizations do report on PMW's findings, Marcus tells Radio Chavura that too often the news media miss a critical aspect of the Palestinians' messages to their own people - what the journalists call "incitement."

"We say there is no incitement," says Marcus, who grew up in the U.S. and now lives in Israel. "They're expressing their honest beliefs and opinions. They're saying it and we should listen to them and believe them."

The PMW has a staff of nine translators who read the Palestinian newspapers and watch the newscasts of two Palestinian TV stations.

Read more about Itamar Marcus and Palestinian Media Watch on our website.

Recent Palestinian Media Watch Articles - "In Their Own Words":

Click here to Support Palestinian Media Watch and its vital mission 

Direct download: 090113_RadioChavura_KRKS_26min_Itamar_Marcus.mp3
Category:High Holiday Specials -- posted at: 8:19am MDT

Tonight on the Radio!

Dr. Neil W. Levin, a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary and one of the world's leading experts on Jewish music, joins us for our hour-long High Holidays series kickoff. 

Dr. Levin presents seven classic Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur songs from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, where he has served as the artistic director since 1993.  These moving tunes are guaranteed to move and inspire you as we approach the New Year and the Days of Awe. 
The seven featured melodies are listed and linked below.  By clicking on the links you'll be able to hear the unabbreviated versions of each song.

Ahot K'tanna

This classic tune, conducted in the "Western Sephardic" - or Amsterdam - tradition, dates back to the American colonial era, and would undoubtedly have been heard by George Washington had he ventured into one the five American congregations that had existed at the time. The exact same tune can still be heard at Congregation Sheerith Israel (a.k.a. The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue) in New York, the country's very first synagogue. This recording is sung with a unison choir, as it would have been done in the 18th century.

Ahot K'tanna is a "piyut," or inserted liturgical poem within the liturgy, and is recited at the close of the Jewish calendar year.  The text reads: "The year being ended, may all the evils of thereof be terminated..."
This tune is a sophisticated artistic treatment of the shofar service, which is conducted multiple times during the High Holidays. Herman Berlinski's composition gained popularity in the 1960s in Reform congregations in America, and beautifully intertwines the call of the ram's horn with its accompanying liturgy.

Rabbi Black Bookshelf
This shofar and the accompanying books come from the office of Temple Emanuel's Rabbi Joseph Black.
This holiday tune, composed by Israel Schorr, is sung with a traditional choir in the virtuoso cantorial practice, or Hazzanut. The prayer, which comes from the Yom Kippur service, translates as: "We dare not cast our supplications before You with a false felling of our own righteousness. We do so because of our faith in Your great mercy."
This tune is part of the "Mi Sinai" tradition, which dates back to the Rhineland region of Germany in the Middle Ages. The Mi Sinai tunes are so old, and so well known, that - in the Ashkenazi world - they might as well be considered canon. The Hatzi Kaddish is recited at the start of Mussaf service on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
This tune is a typical cantorial quasi-improvisation (with a typical improvised choral backup). The coposition is attributed to Moshe Koussevitsky, widely-considered one of the greatest cantors of all time. This version was recorded with Ben Zion Miller, a leading modern-day cantor. 

Une Sane Tokef is a central "piyut" for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and reads: "We observe the mighty holiness of this day - one of awe and anxiety... We conceive You established on Your throne of mercy... as Judge and Witness, recording our secret thoughts and acts, and setting the seal thereon."
Set by Joshua Lind, this tune follows the typical joyous nature of the Asheres S'foseinu prayer, which reads: "May our entreaties find favor before You, most high and exalted God, Who not only hears but understands, and Who gives consideration to the voice of our shofar blast." Appropriately, this prayer is read following each of the three sets of shofar blasts in the Rosh Hashana Mussaf service.
This prayer is read at the end of the Mussaf service on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. This very tuneful setting, again by Joshua Lind, accompanies the following words: "May You strengthen and bless us on this day; may You inscribe us [in the Book of Life] for a happy life..."
The Milken Archive of Jewish Music is a cultural and historic project of unprecedented scope, launched in 1990 by philanthropist and business executive Lowell Milken.  Milken is the chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation.
Dr. Levin has devoted his professional and academic life to the scholarly study of the music of Jewish experience from historical, musicological, ethnological, Judaic, and cross-cultural perspectives.  You can read his complete bio here.
Following Dr. Levin's interview, we air a conversation we had with Chuck Michaels, a local attorney, whose ancestors were among the pioneering Jews who lived in Leadville, CO.

Chuck, who - 17-years-ago -  was at the very first B'nai B'rith Leadville Cemetery Cleanup with his wife Sara and then-infant daughter Shayna (now a senior at Beth Jacob High School), tells us about his ancestor, Solomon Flaks, and gives us a taste of life in late-19th century Leadville. We interviewed Chuck earlier this summer at the B'nai B'rith Leadville Cemetery Cleanup.

Chuck and Sara's two other children are Shmuel, 15, and Benjamin, 13, both students at the Denver Academy of Torah.
FInally on tonight's episode, we receive a field report from Dr. Herzl Melmed, 76, on the final leg of his 500-mile solo bike ride on behalf of "Biking for Kids Under Fire."

Direct download: 081813_RadioChavura_FullBroadcast.mp3
Category:High Holiday Specials -- posted at: 2:57pm MDT