“Lo Bashamayim He” – It’s Not in the Cloud

The 2015 HaZamir Tutti Ensemble singing Tzaddik Katamar (from Psalm 92; Mizmor Shir L’yom HaShabbat), composed by Louis Lewandowski, at the HaZamir Gala Concert in 2015; photo courtesy.

An Open Letter to Seth Chalmer
[in response to Cloud Streaming American Judaism, 12/7/2017]

By Dr. Steven Lorch

Dear Seth,

What are you doing on the afternoon of March 18? If you don’t have plans yet, you might want to join me at David Geffen Hall in Lincoln Center, where 500 Jewish teens and young adults, amateur singers all, will rock the house with a program of Israeli folk, classical, contemporary liturgical, and American Jewish progressive pop, all in rich four-part harmony.

Where do they come from? LA and Long Island, Minneapolis and Manhattan, Orlando and Ofakim, and another 32 locations across America and Israel.

How do they get there? To borrow a punch line from a different storied venue (at which they’ve sung in previous years), practice, practice, practice. Every Sunday for the previous 20 weeks, plus two intensive rehearsal weekends, they’ve gathered to learn and perfect the music and achieve a perfect blend. Their precision, professionalism, and passion are the product of painstakingly hard work.

Who are they? They are members of HaZamir, a musical Jewish youth movement, a network of choral chapters that offer them a musically challenging and Jewishly enriched environment in which to learn, sing, grow, and bond.

What unites them? Jewish identity, a love of singing, and, eventually, friendships. Other than that, they’re about as different as one can imagine: affiliated and unaffiliated, secular and observant, Hebrew fluent and Hebrew illiterate, J Street and AIPAC.

Oh, and that’s my daughter over there on the right, in the alto section.

The crisis in Jewish creative capacity of which you warn? HaZamir has been combating it, and winning the battle with spectacular success, for 25 years. Come celebrate with us!

Dr. Steven Lorch is President of the Board of Directors of Zamir Choral Foundation, the parent organization of HaZamir: the International Jewish Teen Choir.