Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Auditions in the Heavenly Choir

When I was kid, I was given a couple of tapes of Megama, a duo made up of Moshe Yes and Shalom Levine.

How I loved those tapes, I played them so many times that I must have driven my family crazy, but I loved the music, even if even back then I found the lyrics a little silly (“What page are we on the prayerbook”, “G-d is Alive and well in Jerusalem”, and "Throw away that Ham”) however I found the Dollar Bill, My Zaidy, and especially "Yosef My Son" very powerful.

It was with great sorrow that I heard that Moshe Yess, the star of Megama returned his soul to it’s Maker last Motzei Shabbat.

Interesting that this week another big name in Jewish Music also passed away. Of course I am referring to Debbie Friedman. I don’t know if Moshe ever met Debbie in this world, but I’d love to see their expression if the meet for the first time at an audition for the Heavenly Choir.

Debbie Friedman has been described as the Shlomo Charlebach of the Reform movement. When I worked with NFTY’s Summer Program in Israel, all the kids with a Reform background were very familiar with her music, both as liturgy and as campfire music. one of her most popular tunes was “Lechi Lach”, which was a feminine version of “lech lecha”. The corruption of a Hebrew Possuk made no sense to me, but the kids loved it.

Only later when I found out that in addition to being a driving force behind the modern-musical style of Reform services, she was also a radical feminist and a Lesbian, did the concept of re-writing a passuk in the feminine make sense (and drove me even more crazy).

So this week, the Jewish world lost 2 influential singers, although singers with radically different world views. Both were very well known, although I wonder how many people were familiar with both of them.

May their memory be blessed.

Yosef My Son

Moshe Yess

A child was born into this world, in 1933
a blessing for a Jewish home, in Frankfurt, Germany
his father taught him Aleph-Bais, he learned to read and write
each night he heard his mother say these words to him

Yosef my son, the Lord our G-d is one
G-d is very near, Yosef my dear
Yosef my son, we are the chosen ones
do not fear we'll always be together

Yosef was a boy of 9, in 1942
he had a secret hiding place, like all young children do
horrified, he saw them take his Mom and Dad away
alone, he heard his mother's final words to him

Yosef my son, take some food and run
G-d is very near, Yosef my dear
Yosef my son, we are the chosen ones
do not fear we'll always be together

To feel his hand on the Western Wall, was a life-long dream come true
he'd made it to Jerusalem, the city of the Jew
and he opened up his Siddur, as he had done each day
and he prayed to G-d for his mother and his father

and an old man stood there praying, for a son he thought long dead
that voice! thats my fathers voice! was all that Yosef said
and he looked into the old man's eyes, tears came down his face
and he fell into his father's embrace

Yosef my son, the Lord our G-d is one
Now come your mother's here, Yosef my dear
Yosef my son, a miracle has been done
from now on, we'll always be together

Yosef my son, the Lord our G-d is one
G-d is very near, Yosef my dear
Yosef my son, we are the chosen ones
from now on, we'll always be together
from now on, we'll always be together

1 comment:

Boruch Rappaport said...

It is a pleasure and I am honored to meet you and your blog. I got to your blog, if you don't have Google analytics, through the search term "Shalom Levine contact". You see, I just heard about the passing of Moshe Yess this Shabbos, and I am shaken up, as I am amongst the population of Jews who was significantly affected by their music. Specifically "My Zeidy". I was a wild bochur during the 70's, yet the line "who will be their zeidies if not we..." went so deeply into my heart that it still brings me to tears almost 30 years later. I guess that makes me a chacham whose eyes is in his head :-)

I am writing because I remember Shalom Levine from way back when. Actually I learned in Dvar Yerushalayim from 78-80. Shalom I remember from there, Moshe I don't. I would like to contact Shalom, maybe talk over old times, maybe he will remind me that I did know Moshe Yess better than I remember. It's something I need to do to release the sadness which actually I'm not sure exactly where it's coming from.

Can you help me, do you have any contact information for Shalom Levine, a site, a blog, a facebook page?

I don't want to leave my email here, the best way to contact me is on the contact page on my blog. Then I don't mind being in contact by email.

Wishing for you and yours all the best, brocho vehatzlocho,

Boruch Rappaport