enotes logo
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
In This Issue
Josh Jacobson's Musings
Upcoming Concerts
Winter Roundup

Quick Links

Zamir's 2013 Honoree: Rav-Hazzan Scott Sokol

Scott Sokol We are delighted to celebrate Israel's birthday by honoring our own Rav-Hazzan Scott M. Sokol. Scott wears several professional hats: Professor of Psychology, Jewish Education and Jewish Music and Associate Dean for Academic Support at Hebrew College. In addition, Scott has two part-time pulpits: cantor at Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham, and rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Marlborough. 


He also maintains a private practice as a pediatric neuropsychologist. Scott received his BA from Brandeis University, MA and PhD degree from Johns Hopkins University, MSM and Cantorial Investiture from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and rabbinical ordination from the Rabbinical Seminary International. 

Scott Sokol with ZCB at Fenway 2013 Scott is an accomplished violist and singer. He is a featured soloist on several recordings with the Zamir Chorale of Boston, for whom he served as assistant conductor and vocal coach for several years. He is also the co-founder of Koleinu: The Jewish Community Chorus of Boston; Sheminiyah, an octet of cantors; and Jazz 'n' Jewz, a professional jazz ensemble. 


Scott met his wife, former Zamir president Francene Reichel, at his first Zamir rehearsal. They live in Framingham with their two sons, Benjamin and Samuel. 


While Scott's resume is extraordinary, it doesn't do justice to the beauty of his voice, the warmth of his heart, and the spiritual grace he embodies. If you haven't heard Scott perform, you will not want to miss this concert. And if you have, well, you know you're in for a treat! For ticket details, visit www.zamir.org.


ZAMRU: Alumni News and 



Ruach and Rugelach

Twenty Zamir alums came together on a bitter-cold Saturday, January 26, for an evening of music and merriment at Sheri and Eli Gurock's beautiful Brookline home. 
Sheri Gurock and Sharon Eisner
With Josh at the helm, of course, the group sang through old favorites from the Zamir songbook, including Rossi's "Halleluyah," Burger's "Tikvateinu," Moshe Wilenski's "Uri Tsiyon," and many more.  Alan "Tep" Teperow shined in the solo role of "Der Rebbe" and Mike Zaitchik did us proud at the piano.  "It's amazing how much I remembered," said Debbie Sosin, who sang with Zamir from 1994 to 2009.  "The words, the notes, all those consonant endings that Josh drilled, they're all still locked in my memory!"  

Thanks to the Gurocks for hosting and for providing yummy treats.
Debbie Sosin and Eli Gurock
Debbie Sosin and Eli Gurock
group of New York/New Jersey area Zamir alums also convened on Thursday night, January 31, for dinner, singing, and reminiscing.


Save Monday, June 17, for the next ZAMRU* reunion in New York. 
Linda Hoffman Kay, Sara Ruderman, 
Joan Bronspiegel Dickman, Bobbie Sue Daitch, Ruthie Birnbaum Pernick, 
Sam Bahn
To see additional photos from the two events, visit the alumni page on Zamir's website.
ZAMRU's New Leadership

Alan Teperow has stepped down as ZAMRU* chair after years of leading the alumni and reinvigorating their activities. Bruce Creditor, Zamir board member and former board chair, and Herb Birnbaum will henceforth take ZAMRU to new heights! Thank you, Tep, for your inspiration, and welcome to Bruce and Herb!


(Zamir Alumni: 
Music and Ruach)


Zamir Milestones


Don't forget to send your personal and professional updates (simchas, achievements, condolences) to alumna Ronda Jacobson for inclusion in "Zamilestones."

Ronda Jacobson selling Zamir CDs 
Alumna Ronda Jacobson selling CDs at Zamir concert
YouTube Features
Watch the

Zamir Chorale of Boston's

From Boston to Berlin performance at Slosberg Hall, Brandeis University, 

June 2012!   

Sim Shalom, From Boston to Berlin, Brandeis University's Slosberg Hall, June, 2012
"Sim Shalom," sung by
 Joel Caplan
Kiddush sung by Louise Treitman
"Kiddush," sung by
Louise Treitman

 SPRING 2013  

Dear Friends of Zamir,


Chag Kasher v'Sameach! Warmest Passover greetings to you and your families. We are grateful for the turning of the season here in New England and look forward to welcoming the flowers and birds soon, perhaps not quite in time for Pesach, but soon enough. We're also looking forward to more wonderful music making in the coming months, capping our season with the splendid "Touch the Dream: A Musical Tribute to Israel at 65," on June 6. We hope to see you there!

In each issue of E-Notes, Artistic Director Joshua Jacobson offers his unique insights and experiences as a world-renowned scholar, composer, conductor, and influential teacher of Jewish music. 

"When the Lord returned the captives Josh Jacobson of Zion, we were like dreamers." Those words from Psalm 126 described the first reestablishment of the Jewish state some 2,600 years ago. Subsequently,
Diaspora Jews kept that dream alive: the dream of returning to the ancient homeland. Many centuries later, in 1902, the Zionist visionary Theodore Herzl said, "If you will it, it is not just a dream." He convinced his followers that it was in their power to make the dream come true. And Herzl's dream was of a utopian state in which Jew and Arab lived in harmony, harnessing technology to rebuild the land and create a utopian society.


We will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel with a musical program that recaptures that dream. We'll invoke biblical prophecy, pay tribute to courageous pioneers, tour the land, sing of war and of peace, and perform visions of "another way."


The concert's title comes from Shalom Chanoch's beautiful song "Touch the Dream":


You and I will reconnect:

A loving heart can't go wrong.

Like rivers flowing to the sea

our lives stream forward.

You and I will keep seeking 

until we arrive,

until we touch the dream.


Israel @ 65 graphic onlyOne of the highlights will be Sol Zim's moving setting of the T'fillah LiShlom Medinat Yisrael, the prayer for the welfare of Israel. Cantor Zim composed this piece 25 years ago, on Israel's 40th anniversary, and it has become a favorite in synagogues around the world. This year, for Israel's 65th, I have created a new arrangement of the T'fillah for Zamir and Rav-Hazzan Scott Sokol.


Zim's is not the first musical setting of this prayer; for many years, we have performed David Burger's inspired composition. Let's take a closer look at the history of its lyrics. Immediately after the United Nations vote on November 29, 1947, to establish an independent Jewish state in the land of Israel, the chief rabbi of Petach Tikvah, Reuben Katz, composed a prayer for the nation-to-be. In the months that followed, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, Judah Unterman and Professor Dov Sadan both tried their hands at creating a new liturgy, but none of these were accepted by the general public.


On September 21, 1948, four moths after the establishment of the State, a new prayer for its welfare was published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, and this version was eventually embraced by Israelis and Jews around the world. It was composed by the two chief rabbis of Israel, Yitzhak Herzog and Benzion Uziel, with the assistance of the great Israeli writer, S. Y. Agnon.


But, as with anything political, there was bound to be controversy and disagreement. According to Prof. Yoel Rafel, many ultra-Orthodox Jews, including Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadya Yosef, rejected the prayer because "this was not the nation for which we had prayed for so many years." In some synagogues, the text was emended. The Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Imanuel Jacobowitz, opined that the new nation was not yet "the first flowering of our redemption." In his version, the reader prayed, "may this state become the first flowering of our redemption."


After the Oslo negotiations between T'fillah for State of Israel Israel and the Palestinian Authority, some Israelis were outraged at the thought that an accord could be reached and that land would be ceded. Rabbi Moshe-Tzvi Nerya, among others, proposed to change the original plea that God "protect [Israel] with Your merciful wings, and send Your light and truth to [Israel's] leaders, ministers and advisors" to "protect [Israel] from [Israel's] leaders, ministers and advisors."


After the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, Prof. Shimon Sheetreet proposed to add to our prayer the following words: "Instill love, friendship and fellowship in our hearts, and keep far away hatred, malice and zealotry."


After the war of June 1967, the prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel became more widely accepted. Before the war, it was recited only as part of the celebrations of Israel's Independence Day. Now, in many synagogues, it is recited every Sabbath after the completion of the Torah reading. And thus our prayer made its way from the back of the siddur to its central core. (The column is based on an article that appeared in Haaretz, May 1, 2008.)


Singing for Seniors on Mother's Day 


Sunday, May 12, 2:30 pm: 1200 Centre Street, Roslindale. Zamir returns for our annual concert for the residents at Hebrew SeniorLife, always a heart-filling experience. Join us for an afternoon of wonderful Jewish music for all generations! No tickets necessary.

Middle East Harmonies on the Cape


Sunday, May 19, 5:00 pm (note time change from 7:00 pm): Cape Cod Synagogue, 145 Winter Street, Hyannis. We are delighted to reprise the spectacular program from our 2011 season, featuring music from "Middle East Harmonies: A Musical Dialogue Between Arab and Israeli Cultures," a collaboration of Zamir and Northeastern University. Guest musicians include flutist Amir Millstein, percussionist Taki Masuko, vocalist and oud player Mehmet Sanlikol. The concert is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Cape Cod. For information: jewishfederationofcapecod.com or email Terry Smily


Touch the Dream: A Musical Tribute to Israel at 65


Thursday, June 6, 7:30 pm: Temple Beth Elohim, 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley. A musical tribute to Israel on its 65th anniversary of independence, and an invocation of the idealism of its founders. This pops-style concert honors Rav-Hazzan Scott Sokol (see Sidebar) and will feature songs about Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Emek Yizre'el. The program includes Yehezkel Braun's dramatic setting of Alterman's poem "Magash Ha-kesef" (The Silver Platter); Israeli songs about coffee and wine, about love, about war and peace; a new setting of Sol Zim's "Prayer for Israel"; and, of course, Shalom Chanoch's beautiful "Niga El Ha-Chalom" (Touch the Dream). The concert is co-sponsored by Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Consulate General of Israel. Order your tickets now at www.zamir.org.


***IMPORTANT*** If you are interested in being listed as a member of the Host Committee (minimum of $360 contribution) on the Touch the Dream invitation, please let us know by March 23. Host Committee members also are requested to send invitations to 10 of their friends. Contact manager@zamir.org or sign up online: www.zamirtouchthedream.eventbrite.com.


Summer Treat! NAJCF in the Catskills

Sunday, July 21, 9:00 pm JST (Jewish Standard Time): Zamir will help kick off the festivities on opening night of the North American Jewish Choral Festival at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa in Kerhonkson, NY. Zamir is always delighted to join Mati Lazar and the Zamir Choral Foundation to celebrate Jewish choral music with musicians from all over the United States. For more information, go to www.zamirfdn.org. 


Temple Shalom Concert, Take Two


Sunday, October 27, 7:00 pm: Temple Shalom, 175 Temple Street, West Newton. We were snowed out last February, so let's try again! Stay tuned for details about this special "Open Your Eyes" concert, now slated to kick off the fall season. Sponsored by the Temple Shalom Music Committee. Details at concert@templeshalom.org.




Touch the Dream: A Musical Tribute to Israel at 65


Fathers and Sons: Adler and Weiner 


Adler Wyner event
Lynn Torgove, Sam Adler, Josh Jacobson, Yehudi Wyner, Brian Mayer, Amy Lieberman and Dan Lehmann

On March 10, Zamir performed at Northeastern University's Fenway Center as part of the 2013 Boston Jewish Music Festival in a special afternoon of choral and chamber music. Zamir, along with Kol Arev of Hebrew College, presented a selection of compositions by Lazar Weiner and his Pulitzer Prize-winning son, Yehudi Wyner; and by Cantor Hugo Chaim Adler and his son, Samuel, recipient of the Aaron Copland Award for lifetime achievement in music. 

Maestro Jacobson led a brief Q&A with Sam Adler and Yehudi Wyner. The two composers reminisced about their early childhood exposure to music and the influence of their fathers. Sam noted that his father's "I Will Lift Up My Eyes," a setting for chorus, soloist, and organ of Psalm 121, kept his spirits and hopes alive while he served in the army. Both speakers commented on the absence of serious, challenging music in most contemporary synagogues. Yehudi Wyner conducted an excerpt from his "Passover Offering." Other highlights included Zamir and Kol Arev's joint performance of Sam Adler's "A Prophecy of Peace." Rav-Hazzan Scott Sokol and Cantor Lynn Torgove served as soloists; instrumentalists included Edwin Swanborn, organ and piano; as well as an ensemble comprising four of Boston's finest chamber musicians.


Chamber Chorus at Northeastern's Henderson House

A small group of Zamirniks performed a potpourri from Zamir's repertoire on January 30 at Northeastern University's beautiful Henderson House for an audience of NU alumni.The singers were arranged on the steps of a marvelous split staircase, where Josh had conducted decades ago. 


50th Jubilee at Temple Beth El, Sudbury


On January 20, Zamir performed as part of "A Jubilee Celebration: Beth El at 50," at Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley. The temple's own Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler joined Zamir as guest soloist; and the synagogue's choir, Shir El, participated in the concert, which included selections from the liturgical, jazz, Israeli, and Yiddish repertoires. The performers and audience alike glowed in the spirit of the jubilee, which ended with Zamir forming a circle in the sanctuary for Rutter's touching "The Lord Bless You and Keep You." 


Hanukkah Happens XXIII

HH 2012 On December 24, Zamir performed Arthur Honegger's dramatic oratorio Le Roi David, featuring soloists Cantor Elias Rosemberg, Cantor Lynn Torgove, Patrick Cheedon, and Prof. Barbara Grossman in the role of narrator. Amy Lieberman served ably as guest conductor while Josh was in Israel greeting his grandson. Cantor Torgove's theatrical staging, as well as her portrayal of the Witch of Endor, enhanced the experience for the always-enthusiastic Temple Emanuel audience. Following intermission, the chorus saluted the city of Jerusalem with a rich array of selections, including Naomi Shemer's "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav" and Robert Starer's "Break Forth Unto Joy." 


Photos by Larry Sandberg


As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far. We hope to see you at our spring concert, "Touch the Dreamon June 6! 



Barbara Gaffin 

Managing Director


Deborah Sosin

Editor, E-Notes