Shir Shel Shavua : Issue 17

September 22, 2023

Ha'azinu: 5784

This week’s Torah portion of Haazinu is traditionally called the Song of Moses. So, is there a better week to have an amazing Shir Shel Shavua?

In keeping with the theme of the High Holy Days, I want to share with you a beautiful rendition and offering of a favorite prayer of the season, Avinu Malkeinu.

In contrast to the folk melody that we all sing congregationally on Yuntif, this composition was written by a famous figure in Jewish music, namely, Max Janowski, and was recorded by, amongst others, Barbara Striesand.

Janowski was a composer of Jewish liturgical music, a conductor, choir director, and voice teacher. Born in Berlin into a musical family, Max was the son of Chayim Janowski, a choir director, and Miriam, an opera singer. As a youth, Max studied at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory (Klindworth-Scharwenka-Konservatorium) in Berlin. In 1933, he won a piano contest, which led to him becoming the head of the piano department at the Musashino Academia Musicae in Tokyo, Japan. He emigrated to the United States in 1937 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. From 1938 until his death, Janowski was the music director at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in Hyde Park in Chicago. While living in Chicago, I was privy to numerous stories about this great figure in Jewish music. Max passed away in 1991.

This selection is presented by a talented and young Israeli singer/ vocalist Hila Ben David.

In addition to enjoying the music itself, I am sure that you will find the accompanying video which portrays the meaning of the words incredibly powerful. Enjoy and Shanna Tova!

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