One of the things that make Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El such a wonderful place is the activity of its members in all aspects of synagogue life. Well over 100 members can and regularly read Torah at our many services. Many of these readers come from our Youth Torah Reading Program. Our adult choir distinguishes itself as one of the very few non-professional choirs that performs a tremendous repertoire on the High Holy Days. We encourage our membership to use and learn new synagogue skills. It is a special thrill for me to see someone new, lead a morning service on the High Holy Days or chant a haftarah on the anniversary of a Bar Mitzvah. Opportunities abound so please contact me in the office and/or click on a link below to find out more about a particular musical/liturgical program at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El.
Hazzan Eugene Rosner, musical director
Lee Milhous, accompanist and conductor
The Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El Synagogue Chorale is a volunteer ensemble that sings throughout the year. We rehearse on Monday nights, 7pm - 9pm, and perform at various times including High Holy Day Services, Delaware Valley Jewish Choral Festival, Holocaust Memorial Program, special shabbatot, festivals, and concerts. In 2001, the TBH-BE Chorale was invited to sing and performed at the North American Jewish Choral Festival. We learn and perform music from the entire spectrum of the Jewish Choral Repertoire. Most of all, it is great just to get together once a week and sing! Please join us! We are always looking for new singers to get on board with us with this great program.
Our Bar/Bat Mitzvah training actually begins in our religious school and its tefillah curriculum where students begin study of the shabbat and weekday prayers. I visit the 5th and 6th grade classrooms throughout the year where they get their early training in taamei hamikra. Here we learn about the cantillation system and learn how to chant from the Bible. We focus on the Torah and prophetic reading (haftarah) skills. As we get closer to Bar/Bat Mitzvah, I send out scheduling letters to all families. I coordinate lessons for everyone. Whether I'm your primary teacher or you have one of our great tutors for instruction, I will meet with all students near the end of their study to go into the sanctuary and review all parts of the service that our students will be leading. We will read from the actual sefer torah we'll be using and practice using the reader's table microphone, especially to get comfortable in delivering the d’var torah (speech).
It's always meaningful to personalize your family simcha. I'm always available to work with family members who wish to participate in reading Torah. I'm happy to make recordings and photocopies of readings. We will also review the readings a week before your simcha. And if you’d like to come in and review from the sefer, that's great too!
Since 2001, Dr. Barbara Grinnell and I have been compiling and recording synagogue melodies for our Congregation. We have produced three compact discs:
Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El Congregational Tunes for Shabbat
Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El Melodies for the High Holy Days
The main purpose in producing these was educational. We wanted a tool to help our members to get more acquainted with the music of the synagogue service. We do have a lot of melodies! I will regularly alternate melodies to keep our services varied and fresh. On Ruach Shabbat, please note that the majority of these melodies are intended to be sung while we march the Torah to and from the bimah. Special pamphlets are included in the pews so you can actively participate. The music on these CDs is really great to listen to as well, so take them out now and then to listen and enjoy! Here is a sample taken from one of the CDs. It is a recently composed melody for Ashrei, intended for responsive chanting alternating between cantor and congregation. The echoed verses are your lines!
Learn the New Ashrei (2009 version). Enjoy this beautiful new tune for Ashrei. Download the music and play it on your computer (4.8 MB file), performed by Hazzan Eugene Rosner and Dr. Barbara Grinnell.
New Melodies post cd's:
New Ruach Shabbat-Style Melodies
Music for High Holy Days 2012
Ki Hinei KachomerClick here to hear
New Music for High Holy Days 2013
Ki Yeish La-kesef (Mahzor Lev Shalem p.224Click here to hear
Jewish Choral Music has always had a special place in my heart. Several members of our synagogue chorale regularly attend the North American Jewish Choral Festival. Here we learn new choral music and have a chance to sing with hundreds of other Jewish community singers. I had the honor of performing the following work with Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller and NAJCF youth ensemble assembled that week!
Kaddish, by Jay Danzig
Download the music and play it on your computer (4.0 MB file).
Performed at the 2004 North American Jewish Choral Festival by
Another special NAJCF performance occurred a few years ago. We are in a Jewish Community Choirs golden age of sorts, where new ensembles are springing up everywhere. How wonderful!
Several of our members are actually singers in NASHIRAH, the Philadelphia Adult Jewish Community Choir.
Naumbourg's Psalm 100
sung by NASHIRAH, conducted by Robert Ross
It's always great inviting local community talent to our synagogue. It's another great privilege to have been soloist with the Haverford Chamber Singers.
YouTube Video from Cantor's Concert 11/22/2009- Sim Shalom, Janowski - HHS Chambers, Hazzan Eugene Rosner Click here to see it!
As you can see, synagogue music and choral music can go hand in hand!