The Chai Project.

 
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The Project

“The Chai Project: 18 new songs for 18 communities in 2018”

Noah brought together communities from across the country to compose music that celebrates the vibrancy of life within congregations.  

He collaborated with clergy teams and lay-leaders, fellow musicians and songwriters, community choirs, poets, recording engineers, producers and many more to bring this project to life.  

The Chai Project creates an archive of ‘the sound of 2018.’ We’ll be able to look back and hear what our communities sounded like, what we were singing about, what values we shared and what sounds we gravitated towards in the year 2018. Each song was written in partnership with the community leaders to ensure that the texts, music and messages truly represented their values and intentionality. As a collective whole, they communicate the love and hope poured into every moment of the progressive Jewish communal experience in 2018.

To help celebrate this year of LIFE, every week between now and through the holiday of Chanukah, we’ll be releasing the songs on online in partnership the synagogues involved to share them with the broader community. On the final night of Chanukah 2018, we will release the entire Chai Project album and songbook exclusively available here on NoahAronson.com

 

The Communities

  • Park Avenue Synagogue (New York, NY)

  • Congregation Beth Elohim (Brooklyn, NY)

  • Central Synagogue (New York, NY)

  • Temple Beth Elohim (Wellesley, MA)

  • Temple Beth-El (Northbrook, IL)

  • Temple Israel (Memphis, TN)

  • Am Shalom (Glencoe, IL)

  • Temple Isaiah (Lafayette, CA)

  • Temple Rodef Shalom (Falls Church, VA)

  • Temple Beth Am (Miami, FL)

  • Temple Israel (Boston, MA)

  • B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim (Deerfield, IL)

  • Temple Beth-El (San Antonio, TX)

  • The Temple (Atlanta, GA)

  • Westchester Reform Temple (Westchester, NY)

  • The Temple, B’nai Jehudah (Overland Park, KS)

  • Beth Emet Free Synagogue (Evanston, IL)

  • Congregation Emanu El (Houston, TX)

    The Songs

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the temple (Atlanta, GA)

With Your Two Hands, written by Noah Aronson

Having just celebrated Simchat Torah, it is appropriate that the first Chai Project release be the song  “With Your Two Hands.” This song was written in collaboration with Cantor Deborah Hartman and the clergy team at The Temple. It is based off the text from Torah that reminds us that each person must write their own personal Torah to bring their lives meaning and purpose: “v’chatav lo et mishnei haTorah hazot, v’haita imo kol y’mei chayai.”

Vocalists: Cantor Deborah Hartman, Rabbi Loren Filson Lapidus, Matan Berg

Piano: Judith Cole

Engineers: Will Robertson and Spencer Poole

Mastered by: AriaMastering.com

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Am Shalom (Glencoe, il)

Blessed Will You Be, written by Noah Aronson

For this piece, I partnered with Cantor Andrea Markowicz and the clergy team at Am Shalom to craft a piece of music around blessing. We used the text from Deuteronomy that says: Baruch Atah b’voecha uvaruch atah b’tzietecha “Blessed will you be as you come and as you go.” We used this text as the starting point to shower their community with blessings give them more opportunities to celebrate the concept of ‘welcoming.’

Vocalist: Cantor Andrea Rae Markowicz, Cantor Julie Staple, Koleinu Adult Choir

Guitar: Andy Dennen (guitar)

Percussion: Noah Plotkin (percussion)

Bass: Geoff Shell (bass)

Keyboard: Ken Smith (keyboard)

Violin: Emi Tanabe (violin)

Produced by Cantor Andrea Rae Markowicz and Mike Konopka

Mixed and Mastered by Mike Konopka at PIE IN THE SKY studio

Engineered by Mike Konopka with Jim Galvin

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Congregation Emanu El (Houston, TX)

Do Justice (Hinei Ma Tov), written by Noah Aronson

I partnered with Cantor Rollin Simmons and the clergy team at Congregation Emanu El to combine the prophetic words from Micah 6:8 “Ki im asot mishpat, v’ahavat chesed, v’hatzne’ah lechet im Elohecha”  to “Do Justice, love mercy and walk humbly” with the familiar words of welcome from the book of Psalms “Hinei ma tov uma naim shevet achim gam yachad” to remember how good it is to do this sacred work together in community.

Vocals & Guitar: Cantor Rollin Simmons
Piano & Percussion: Alex Navarro
Back-up Vocals: Emily Moses, Congregation Emanu El Youth Choir
Bass: David Craig
Violins: Rachel Shepard, Hannah Watson
Cello: Camille Gates

String Arrangement by: Alex Navarro

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b’nai jehoshua beth elohim (Deerfield, IL)

Choose to Live, written by Rabbi Karyn Kedar and Noah Aronson

I partnered with Cantor Jennifer Frost and her team at BJBE in Deerfield, to lift up the poetry of her Rabbi Karyn Kedar who reminds us “to live, to really live!” We combined Karyn’s poetry with the text from Deuteronomy that reminds us “Uvacharta bachayim l’ma’an tichyei”  that a life connected to Torah gives us choice and making that choice is choosing to really live!

Vocals: Cantor Jennifer Frost and Cantor Rayna Green
Bass: Geoff Shell
Acoustic guitar: Andy Dennen
Electric guitar, piano, organ, percussion & drums: Packy Lundholm

Recorded at Sound Vault studios, Chicago, IL 
Producer and engineer: Packy Lundholm

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Central synagogue (new york, ny)

Nadav Libam, written by Noah Aronson

When the Israelites were instructed to build the Tabernacle in the desert, God reminds them that everyone brings their own unique gifts to create sacred spaces. Nadav Libam, it’s the gifts of the heart that speak the loudest and last the longest. It was a gift to work with the Cantorial team at Central Synagogue in New York City for this piece.

Piano: Noah Aronson
Vocalists: Cantor Daniel Mutlu, Cantor Julia Cadrain
Background vocals: Noah Aronson

Recorded and mixed by: Bill Siegmund of Digital Island Studios, NYC
Assistant engineer: Jeremy Chinn

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The temple, congregation B’nai Jehudah (overland park, KS)

Psalm 150, by Noah Aronson

In Jewish tradition we seek to finish the book of Psalms every day. Psalm 150 is the culmination of that book and a celebration of music and praise. It’s last line, “Kol Han’shama t’haleil Yah,” reminds us that every living soul can use its breath to praise God. So this setting of Psalm 150 includes some new English text that says ‘If you can breathe then you can praise Yah!’

Vocalists: Coleen Dieker, Mark Hafter, Michelle Hord
Bass and Acoustic Guitar: Zach Hord 
Drums: Brendan Culp 
Percussion: Claas Jambor

Producers: Coleen Dieker and Claas Jambor, Cedar Room Studio
Location: Cedar Room Studio

beth emet free synagogue (Evanston, il)

V’asu Li Mikdash, by Noah Aronson

In the book of Exodus we learn of the construction of the moving Tabernacle and that God’s presence was intended to dwell among the people. This text reminds us that we God’s presence dwells among us at all times, wherever and whenever we chose to awaken to it. Beth Emet Free Synagogue has made it their mission to become a ‘sanctuary’ community, one that is welcoming to all and a place where all can come in and feel that the shechina truly dwells within their walls.

Vocals, guitar, and piano: Noah Aronson

Producer: Noah Aronson
Recorded at NoahAronsonMusic, Brooklyn, NY

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Temple rodef shalom (Falls church, va)

Pursuers of Peace, by Noah Aronson (in collaboration with Cantor Michael Shochet and Cantor Rachel Rhodes)

This community was seeking a ‘theme song,’ a piece of music that represented their values of pursuing peace and justice as their namesake suggests. We took the line from Torah that says ‘oheiv shalom v’rodeph shalom’ that we should not only be lovers of peace but pursuers of it!

Vocals: Cantor Michael Shochet and Cantor Rachel Rhodes
Acoustic Guitar: Hannah Piracha
Piano: Justin Ritchie
Percussion: Alan Yellowitz
Bass: Anthony Jenkins
Saxophone: Chad Green

Producer: Howard Rabach, Machine Room® Studio
Instrumentalists recorded live at Temple Rodef Shalom
Vocalists recorded at Machine Room® Studio - Arlington, VA

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temple beth-el (San antonio, tx)

Romemu, by Noah Aronson

‘Romemu,’ we seek to rise higher and higher in our spiritual pursuits. This piece does just that musically, rising higher and higher allowing us all to lift up our chins and keep marching forward. Temple Beth-El will use this piece to lift their Torah Services up and also to galvanize their congregation urging its members to rise up and stand for the things they value most.


Vocals: Cantor Julie Berlin and the Kol Simchah community choir 
Piano: Robert Brewer

Recorded at Temple Beth-El 
Engineered by: Talmon Jones of J&S Audio Visual

 
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congregation beth elohim (brooklyn, ny)

Kol Yisrael Areivim, written by Noah Aronson

Noah partnered with Cantor Josh Breitzer and the clergy team at Congregation Beth Elohim for this piece. It combines the text from the torah portion of “Breishit” that says “Lo tov heyot haAdam levado” that it is not good for humans to be alone in the world and the text from the talmud that states “Kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh” that all Jewish souls are connected and responsible for one another.  

Vocalist: Cantor Josh Breitzer, Student Cantor Sarah Grabiner, Rabbi Rebecca Epstein, and Rabbi Matthew Green

Piano: Noah Aronson

Recorded at Central Synagogue in New York, NY

Sound Engineers: Bill Siegmund

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Temple beth-el (Northbrook, IL)

My House, written by Noah Aronson

In the Torah portion of Vayeira, Abraham and Sarah gives us the first example of audacious hospitality where they welcome and feed three complete strangers into their tent. I partnered with Cantor Faryn Rudnick and her former clergy team at Temple Beth-El to craft a piece around the value of welcoming the stranger. We used the text from Isaiah 56 “Ki veiti beit tefilah yikarei l’chol ha’amim” to remind us that our congregations can be a house of prayer for all people.  

Vocalists: Noah Aronson, Cantor Faryn Kates Rudnick, Randy

Barr, Susan Coren, Shaina Farwell, Jane Heyman, Holly Israel,

Sara Reid, Sharon Rosenberg, Sherrie Schram

Piano: Noah Aronson  

Conductor: Richard Green

Acoustic Guitars: Tom Harris, Steve Lane, Jerry Lewis

Bass: Gordy Levine

Percussion: Steven Gillis

Producer: Steven Gillis, Transient Sound

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Westchester reform temple (ny)

Y’varechecha, written by Noah Aronson

What a blessing it was to work with the team at WRT on this piece about blessings. In the Torah portion, Toldot, Isaac gives his final blessing. What does it mean to bless someone? The Torah takes these blessings very seriously. The priestly blessing is the oldest blessing in Jewish tradition and it’s words ask for the light of goodness to guard us, shine upon us and to grant us a life of peace. This setting of the Y’varechecha blessing emphasizes the last phrase, v’yasem l’cha shalom, the blessing of peace.

Piano: Dr. Jonathan Faiman
Vocalists: Cantor Amanda Kleinman and Cantor Jill Abramson

Producer: Cantor Amanda Kleinman
Audio Engineer: Koby Hayon
Mixing Engineer, Mark Hallisey, Los Angeles

 
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temple beth elohim (Wellesley, ma)

Hamakom Hazeh, written by Cantor Jodi Sufrin and Noah Aronson

In the Torah portion Vayetze, Jacob wakes up from a dream and names the place of his divine encounter a Beit Elohim, a house of God. This is the source text for synagogues named Temple Beth El, or Beth Elohim and all the more appropriate that Temple Beth Elohim of Wellesley, MA chose this setting as theme song of sorts for their piece.

Guitar & Piano: Noah Aronson
Vocalist: Cantor Jodi Sufrin, Cantor Shanna Zell, Noah Aronson

Producer: Noah Aronson
Engineered by: Eric Kilburn
Location: Wellspring Sound in Acton, MA

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Temple israel (Memphis, tn)

L’dor Vador, co-written by Noah Aronson and Abbie Strauss

The text of L’dor Vador reminds us that Jewish tradition is not only about living  right now in this generation, but that every generation before us and every generation after is connected by one long chain and that each member of this chain finds meaning in ‘singing praises.’

Co-written by Noah Aronson and Abbie Strauss

Vocalists: Abbie Strauss, Cantorial Soloist Temple Israel, Noah Aronson
Piano: Stan Harris
Guitar: David Bearman
Bass: David Yaffe
Percussion: Brian Lurie

Producer: Abbie Strauss, Temple Israel

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Temple israel of boston (Boston, ma)

Ma’ariv Aravim/Ahavat Olam, by Noah Aronson

This piece was written in collaboration with Cantor Roy Einhorn and the team at Temple Israel in Boston. We based the melody and themes off of my melody “Am I Awake” and crafted a suite of one continuous flow of music linking the liturgy from the Barechu through the Shema. The pieces take elements from the Hebrew and English translations of each prayer which helps show the thematic connections in the liturgy.

Vocals, guitar and piano: Noah Aronson

Producer: Noah Aronson
Location: NoahAronsonMusic in Brooklyn, NY

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Temple isaiah (Lafayette, CA)

Ki Mitziyon, by Noah Aronson

This piece combines the traditional Torah Service liturgy with the English text from Mishkan T’filah which says “It’s teaching is love and justice, goodness and hope. Freedom is its gift to all who treasure it.” The two melodies can be sung independently or in two parts simultaneously and is a lot of fun to sing during Hakafa!

Vocals: Cantor Leigh Korn
Choir: Temple Isaiah Adult Volunteer Choir
Piano: Daniel Lockert

Producer: Max Krongaus and Adam Lopez
Recorded live at Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, CA

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Temple beth am (Pinecrest, fl)

Kol Tov, by Noah Aronson and Cantor Rachelle Nelson

I had the honor of co-writing this piece with renowned composer and Cantor, Rachelle Nelson. Together we crafted a piece of music for the Gomel Blessing, a blessing for those who survived a traumatic episode. The blessing repeats the phrase ‘kol tov’ suggesting that even though we’ve gone through hardship, that somehow, this pain can be our teacher and be turned into the good.

Vocals: Cantor Rachelle Nelson and Noah Aronson
Guitar: Noah Aronson
Piano: Noah Aronson

Producer: Noah Aronson
Mixing Engineer: Eve Nelson
Recorded at Dubway Studios, NY, NY

park avenue synagogue (new york, ny)

V’tein B’libeinu, by Noah Aronson

This piece was written to celebrate the opening of a new center for learning at Park Avenue Synagogue. The line is taken from the morning liturgy thanking God for giving us Torah, and discernment and wisdom. This text is a celebration of learning and the continuous pursuit of knowledge in order to better oneself and expand our understanding of the world around us.

Vocals: Hazzan Azi Schwartz (lead), Elisa Strom, Yohan Gershator, Jason Weisinger, Tim Krol
Colin Fowler, piano
Matthew Rybicki, electric bass
Michael Cohen, alto and tenor saxaphones
Andrew Zinsmeister, acoustic guitar
Noam Israeli, percussion

Producer: Colin Fowler, Music Director, Park Avenue Synagogue
Engineers: Adrian Thorstensen, Sam Palumbo and Peter Karl
Recorded in New York, NY at Dubway Studios and Park Avenue Synagogue