The Jewish Innovation
My name is Josh Warshawsky, and my project is to create a full-length album of original Jewish music to inspire a new generation of Jews in the 21st century. I’m a Jewish educator, musician and songwriter living in Los Angeles, CA. During the last six years working in this field, I have discovered the endless possibilities to connect and build community through music. I have been inspired by contemporary folk, rock, and pop music, by the melodies of our ancestors, and by Jewish musicians and song leaders of the past 25 years. Music brings us together and takes us to places we have never imagined. I want to share these songs and melodies and continue to sing them with you for years to come. But I can’t do it alone. I need your help!
People are searching for new ways to be inspired and new paths to connect to their Judaism. Music knows no boundaries and has the power to bring even the most diverse group of people together. As Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “First we sing, then we understand…Praise and song open our eyes to the grandeur of reality that transcends the self. Song restores the soul.” For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to serve as the first Artist-in-Residence at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles, where I have been fortunate to see firsthand how music can unite people. This past year, my position expanded to include working as the music teacher at Pressman Academy. In these roles I create opportunities for musical engagement for people of all ages. Both the synagogue and school served as a laboratory for me to try out my new melodies during Tefillot (prayer).
During the past year and a half that I have lived in LA I have written dozens of songs that have been used for worship and in my teaching, and I’ve narrowed them down to the top 12 that I’m so excited to record. These songs are in both Hebrew and English and span the breadth of Jewish texts — from our weekday and Shabbat liturgy to the words of our prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel, to Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers). My song list wouldn’t be complete without some melodies without words at all (Niggunim).
A closing thought: A zemer is a song or melody, commonly used to reference the beautiful melodies we sing on Shabbat. If you spell it backwards, you get the word remez, meaning “hint.” It is when we sing and pray together that we build a space in which we are able to see and experience a hint of something more; a hint of the Divine. Please join me in sharing this new music with the world.
What Will You Do with the Money?
Making an album these days is a huge undertaking. I am working with the extremely talented musician Sam Glaser to record, produce, and mix my album. It is going to require a lot of studio time to record at least 12 songs. In addition to Sam, I’ll be working with a variety of musicians, singers, producers, mixers, and editors throughout the process that all need to be paid. Then, the album needs to be mastered to yield the best version of each song. I will also use some of the funds to design a cover and actually make the CDs. All of the funds raised will go towards completing this project. With your help, I can turn a dream that I have had for so long into a reality. Thank you so much for your support.
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