At Temple Beth Rishon, the significance of music as "the language of the soul" is clearly perceived in all aspects of our temple. It has been carefully yet solidly woven into the fabric of our community: simple melodies of holiday songs stimulate our preschool children; the cadence of trope motivates learning in our Religious school; our social events frequently incorporate musical performances; and during worship, the crescendo of prayer at Shabbat services is infused with the language of music creating an impactful interaction of spirituality and prayer.
MUSIC HELPS COMMUNITY BUILDING: Throughout Jewish history, music has brought people together to create connections in a shared cause, purpose or belief. The joy of music permeates our community bringing us together for Shabbat and High Holiday prayer, for celebrations of marriage, births or b’nei mitzvah, for consolation in times of sadness and for sheer enjoyment with friends!
MUSIC ENHANCES WORSHIP: Music has maintained a sacred purpose throughout history. Interpretations of Jewish text are heightened and expanded when the sacred texts are complemented by melodic chants. Our dynamic clergy intensifies the meditative spirit of our prayers by empowering us to sing with one voice, as a community. The most important aspect of our worship service is congregational participation. Prayer needs congregational engagement for it to be inspirational. When the congregation sings and participates, that is when it becomes prayer.
Religious services at TBR are imbued with both the past and the present. They encompass traditional congregational melodies, chazzanut, modern liturgical compositions, Chassidic melodies, as well as American, Yiddish, Sephardic and Israeli folk music with some elements of contemporary pop and rock music.
Creative and inspiring musical Shabbatot are offered frequently throughout the year, including a Carlebach Shabbat, folk rock participatory services, a South American themed Shabbat La Vida Loca, Shabbat services dedicated to the music of Meir Finkelstein and Craig Taubman, as well as Shabbat Shira, a musical Shabbat Evening Service highlighting our adult choir, Kol Rishon with its vast repertoire of both classical and contemporary choral compositions.
MUSIC PROMOTES HEALING: From the sanctuary to someone’s home, to a hospital room, or a shiva call, we bring sounds of music that promote healing and strength for those in need. Using the restorative power of music to help to relax the mind and body, we convey our sympathy to those who are ill or those who are grieving using melodic prayer.
MUSIC IS GREAT ENTERTAINMENT: Social events at Temple Beth Rishon are intertwined with musical performances or community singing. We engage new and established performers from the Jewish music world to entertain us. Recent concerts have included Jeff Warschauer and Debora Strauss’ klezmer duo, Sephardic Ladino vocalist Nicole Murad, Epichorus’ Jewish-Oriental folk rock presentation, Tizmoret, Queens College’s Jewish a capella group, a classical piano recital by Itay Goren and an impressive concert by the New Jersey Cantors Concert Ensemble that featured a choir of 25 talented cantors.
We encourage Temple Beth Rishon congregants to be in the spotlight either at our annual cabaret night Cafe Beth Rishon, or as instrumentalists during festivals or as part of our adult choir Kol Rishon, which performs several times a year during services.
MUSIC BRINGS US TOGETHER: We offer a wide variety of opportunities for our congregants to participate in musical programs and services. • Singing in Kol Rishon, our adult choir; • Singing in Zemer Rishon, our teen choir; • Chanting Torah portions and haftarah selections at High Holidays, Shabbat, and Festival Services; • Participating in our cabaret evening and social musical programs; • Singing or playing an instrument at our many special musical worship services.