Best Synagogue Music

Kehilla Community Synagogue

Walking into Kehilla Community Synagogue at the conclusion of Rosh
Hashanah morning services gives entirely the wrong impression of
Judaism. Rather than repetitious Hebrew blessings, overwrought
intellectual humor, and noodley niguns emanating from the bimah,
a visitor would encounter a scene of musical euphoria worthy of
Southern Baptists as a drum-crazed congregation belts out “Od Yavo
Shalom Aleinu.” The cantors, all curly-haired women in vaguely biblical
white vestments, hold their arms outstretched in a gesture of open
religious ecstasy that is not the usual mode of modern Jewry. The vibe
owes much thanks to musical director and self-styled “ritual creatrix”
Shulamit Wise Fairman, who has been with the synagogue since 2005 and
serves as lead lady in white vestments with arms and voice
outstretched. But Kehilla’s true musical signature is the powerful
drumming, courtesy of Debbie Fier, a percussionist specializing in
dumbek, djembe, and conga. Fier sums up her philosophy on
her web site: “Around the world, music brings people and communities
together, and I see myself as part of that joyful work.”

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