In the summer of 2001, I was at the URJ Kutz Camp starting my journey as a Jewish professional. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time. At the time I was there because my summer trip to Israel was cancelled and my other Temple friends were going there. Also, they had a track where I could learn how to do this thing called “songleading.” I knew it had something to do with music, and even though I didn’t know how to play guitar, spending the whole summer singing sounded like fun to me. By the end of that summer, I knew I wanted to be a Cantor.
At Kutz I experienced my first song session: hundreds of teens singing, shouting, and dancing. I experienced a place where Judaism was alive every day, from morning t’filah (prayer) to singing Sh’ma before bed together. I learned and sang and taught so much Jewish music that I still love and use today. And I learned that I love being Jewish, and the drive I have to share that love with others.
I was devastated to hear recently that Kutz will be closing its doors after this summer. But I know that it is still possible to cultivate that feeling through music in our community. This year for Music Shabbat, we will be welcoming Jacob “Spike” Kraus to do just that. Spike is an incredible young artist with a fresh and inspiring take on Jewish music. He will be joined by our adult choir, our youth “pop-up” choir, and teen musicians for a service fill with energy and ruach.
Here are just a few of Spike’s pieces that we will hear on March 8th, 2019. I hope you’ll join us.
What music inspires you? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by Cantor Michelle Rubel