Beginning to wrestle

Kol b'seder in the J-blogosphere (now that Jeff Klepper's here)

Jeff Klepper helped to spark the "nusach American" folk-music liturgical tradition that shaped my Reform upbringing. In the early 1970s he and his buddy Dan Freelander, both URJ youth group leaders (at the time), teamed up to form a duo called Kol B'Seder ("Everything's Okay.") They're the source of some of my favorite tunes: melodies for "Modeh Ani" and for "Lo Alecha Hamlacha Ligmor" (you can listen to snippets of each here), not to mention this Shalom Rav and this Oseh Shalom (which Jeff wrote in Israel in '82.)

(Both of those YouTube links feature chorale and orchestra, which show off the harmonies beautifully but are a bit showier than what I'm used to. For contrast, here's Jeff singing "Shalom Rav" solo, with guitar. Some of you may remember the post I made about erev Shabbat at the URJ Biennial in 2005; Jeff was one of the song-leaders who led the postprandial song session that made me so happy.)

Jeff is a cantor (ordained by HUC-JIR in 1980) and one of the real luminaries of the Reform movement. He's also a total mensch. So it gives me joy to be able to announce that he's got a new website, complete with blog!

He's only been blogging for a couple of weeks, but he's already posted some gems, like Echad Mi Yode'a from Syra in Judeo-Arabic (featuring stories and an mp3 of the song in question), Uno Chi Sa?...When In Rome (more stories and mp3s, this time a Roman version of the same counting song) and Music & Mishkan T’filah (Jeff was one of three cantors on the editorial committee for the new Reform siddur, and he has intriguing things to say about the process of putting it together.)

If you're interested in liturgical music, and/or in one the musings of one of the smartest and kindest people I know in the Reform movement, Jeff's blog is worth checking out. Pop over and wish him moadim l'simcha and a hearty welcome to the blogosphere.

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