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“Building Singing Communities” is an easy-to-read, how-to guide to making music a lasting and joy-filled force in shul and Jewish life. In this short book, author, musician, and educator Joey Weisenberg presents us with a veritable treasure house of musical opportunities. "Just think how far we could come," says Weisenberg, "if we treated the songs sung by our day-to-day, lay synagogue community as seriously as we do the music created by professional stage musicians? We could create an atmosphere of both great beauty and drama in our spaces of prayer; we would value each and every individual in our community as a creative musician, and encourage his or her efforts in an attitude of musical collaboration."
"Building Singing Communities" is for the experienced musician and the musical layman alike. Its pages are full of practical guidance and heartfelt inspiration—the result of Weisenberg's spending hundred of hours working hands-on with Jewish communities across the U.S. and abroad. Pick it up when you need advice for leading a class; keep it close at hand for inspiration about how to make your shul a more song-filled place—or even for what to sing at your Shabbos table. "It's my hope that, with this collection of strategies you'll re-actualize the talents and potential of your community," writes Weisenberg, "reaping the benefits of re-starting what is, in fact, our beautiful, longstanding tradition of collective Jewish song."
Purchase your copy of Building Singing Communities
Joey Weisenberg is a mandolinist, guitarist, singer and percussionist based in New York City, who has performed and recorded internationally with dozens of bands in a wide variety of musical styles. Joey works as the Music Director at Brooklyn’s oldest synagogue, the Kane Street Synagogue, and is the music faculty at Yeshivat Hadar, an egalitarian yeshiva in New York. He is an artist-fellow at the 14th Street Y's Laba program, and teaches Klezmer music as a faculty member at KlezKanada. He was recently named to "36 under 36" in The Jewish Week as one of 36 new and exciting innovators in Jewish life today. Joey visits shuls and communities around the country as a musician-in-residence, in which he teaches his popular 'Spontaneous Jewish Choir' workshops. For more information, please visit www.joeyweisenberg.com.
"Joey’s effect on how we participate in Jewish singing will forever impact on our relationship to Judaism and each other. While he has taken from the legacies of Goldfarb, Friedman and Carlebach, not to mention the hundreds of lesser known creators of nigunim, ultimately he is putting his personal stamp on our ever changing tradition and helping us all achieve transformation through music."
- Elise Bernhardt
President and CEO
Foundation for Jewish Culture
“More than any other art form music has urged a new creative vista for Jewish expression and practice in our era. By fusing theory, pedagogy, and deep knowledge and feel for music, Joey offers a precious map for those of us who believe that a community must be able to translate its sacred traditions and texts through art in order to know where it needs to go.”
- Stephen Hazan Arnoff, Executive Director of the 14th Street Y
Founder of LABA: The National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture
"Joey Weisenberg is one of the greatest of the young Jewish musicians and teachers coming onto the scene today. He and his music are full of skill, sincerity, and passion. As a student of mine, he quickly learned the modulating modes and improvisational constructions of Cantorial music, and most importantly, how that music brings out the character of prayer. In Building Singing Communities, he thoughtfully presents innovations for the shul that reflect his experiences and experiments in the field of Jewish music. Joey’s work will appeal to people from across the Jewish spectrum, and I eagerly await seeing what develops from these promising ideas. "
Cantor Noach Schall
Author The Hazzanic Thesaurus and master teacher of Cantorial Music for over 60 years.
"To build and sustain Jewish community, Jews must find and lend their voices – every member of the mishpuchah must be given user-friendly tools to join in song, but simultaneously be motivated and empowered to find his or her own personal harmonies and twists. In Building Singing Communities, Joey Weisenberg, an accomplished and unusually versatile musician but also a shining teacher and rousing facilitator, shares his experience and expertise in orchestrating Jewish communities in search of depth, coherence, and transcendence. The practical lyrics of this how-to guide help generate the deeply inspiring spiritual music that both underlies and catalyzes the eternally singing collective of our people."
- Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, LCSW, Rabbinic Director, JBFCS National Center for Jewish Healing, Grateful member, Kane Street Synagogue, Brooklyn
"Joey's unique vision for building inclusive, participatory singing communities is a much needed contribution to modern prayer groups, regardless of age, size, or affiliation. Having sung - and lead - in his High Holiday services for the past 3 years, I can attest both to Joey's innovations and insights in davenning experiences, as well as to his incredible talent and breadth of musical knowledge. Above all, Joey strives to build relationships through shared musical experiences, and with the practical tips and colorful analogies in this book, he makes it easy for you to embark on your own journey as a leader of prayer and song."
- Aaron Bisman, co-founder & President, JDUB
"Joey Weisenberg has his finger on the pulse of today's "independent minyanim." In Building Singing Communities he shows us how to re-imagine the two core elements of your shul: building community and making music that enhances that community. There is so much here from which we can all learn. I highly recommend this book to professionals and laity alike."
-Hazzan Henry Rosenblum
Forest Hills Jewish Center
Former dean of the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary
"This book is more than an instruction manual: It is an expression of a philosophy—one in which musical quality truly matters, and to which we can all contribute. It is my hope that this book (like so many of Joey’s classes at Mechon Hadar and elsewhere) will inspire Jews of diverse and varied backgrounds to take singing and davening more seriously, and to recognize the power and beauty that they will unleash when they pool their musical energies—even as they direct their hearts towards their own unique and personal prayer."
-Rabbi Elie Kaunfer
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Mechon Hadar
"Joey Weisenberg, a brilliant musician and teacher, is a joyous, dancing, infectious soul who inspires and makes others feel Gd's presence. In this wonderful book Joey guides us all, teaching us to lead, to follow, to join and connect with each other in prayer and in song, in order to reach Beyond."
- Elli Kranzler M.D.
Shaliach Tzibbur, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale