RHR 2008: Convenient list of conference posts
This week's portion: encounter

New CD from Nava Tehila

This summer, while in Jerusalem, I had the pleasure of davening with Nava Tehila (the Jewish Renewal community in town) a few times: twice at their regular monthly services (followed by potluck and storytelling/singing late into the night at Reb Ruth's house) and once when they held a special service to celebrate an ALEPH group being in town. I posted here about my dips into their community: Coming Home: a Jewish Renewal erev Shabbat and Waltzing through Shabbat with Nava Tehila (second post is complete with YouTube video of the founders singing one of their original tunes in Reb Ruth's living room.)

They told us this summer that they were working on a cd, which made me incredibly happy. They use a variety of original melodies, written by the members of the trio who put the services together, many of which are now very close to my heart. So I was delighted to hear from Reb Ruth this week that the cd is now out: Nava Tehila: Dancing in the Glory - A Journey into Kabbalat Shabbat.

Nava Tehila is an emerging, inclusive spiritual Jewish community based in Jerusalem that brings together people from all backgrounds for joyous prayer. Over the last couple of years we have been blessed with an influx of many new niggunim (holy chants), that are especially suited for singing in community and bringing the presence of Shechina (God) to dwell in our midst.

Dancing in the Glory is a collection of chants that follow the magical flow of Kabbalat Shabbat. This 16th century kabbalistic ritual for welcoming in the Sabbath is built as a dance between the community and the Divine. In Nava Tehila we interpret the Kabbalat Shabbat service as a spiritual journey that can evoke new experiences every week while following the traditional prayer structure. This journey takes us, by the use of guided kavvanot (intentions), through wonder, struggle, joy, elation, dance, tranquility and eventually to peace.

We invite you to come and dance in the glory with us and all Ohavei Adonai - Lovers of God - around the world.

You can listen to snippets of the songs on the cdbaby website. Listening to them now, I'm reminded deliciously of what it felt like to sing and pray with such heart in such a wonderful, open, and generous community. I'm especially psyched that the album features their two Lecha Dodi melodies and their melody for Shalom Aleichem, which I adore! The recorded versions are more polished than the versions I experienced live; in some ways that's a good thing, in other ways I miss the immediacy of the live experience of singing and dancing and jumping up and down in prayer. For that, I guess, I'll have to find my way back to Jerusalem one of thse days.

Until then, I've put the cd on my Amazon wishlist. If you're looking for a good Chanukah (or Christmas!) gift for someone who loves Jewish music, and/or if you want to support the Jewish Renewal community of Jerusalem, this is a good use of your $18.

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