Aleinu L’shabei’ach literally means, “It’s upon us.” 

Last winter Ellen Dreskin flew down from New York to join me in my home for a couple of days of study and creative work focused on what’s going on with Aleinu L’shabei’ach.

Here’s what we came up with.

If Bar’chu at the beginning of the service can be thought of as “The Call To Worship” then it might be reasonable to think of Aleinu L’shabei’ach at the end of the service as “The Call To Action.”  We have shared our communal redemption story through moments such as Mi Chamocha;  we have remembered the deeds and faith of our ancestors through the Amidah; and we have re-calibrated and re-energized our spirits in communal expression of our dreams and visions.  Hopefully, the process of prayer during the worship service has made some kind of impact that changes us for the good.  With this in mind, Ellen and I crafted an English setting for Aleinu L’shabei’ach that intends to explicitly unpack the core themes of our responsibility and the world’s need for action.  

For more background regarding Ellen’s perspective on Aleinu L’shabei’ach click here.

Folks of all ages from all over the country have been asking Ellen Dreskin and me for a recording and sheet music for this new setting. 

We’re delighted to share it with you.

It is available for free.

We are offering two recordings and sheet music.

One version is a piano/vocal in MP3 form. The piano is performed by Jef Labes from Rodef Sholom of San Rafael, CA

The second version is guitar/vocal in MP3 form.  I am playing the guitar.

The sheet music is in PDF form.



Songwriting and Recording Retreat



We’ve been dreaming about bringing a group of creative people together for three days for the sole purpose of writing and recording songs. In our opinion, nothing tells the truth like “the tape.” The recording process gives immediate and unbiased feedback on what a song is actually doing.

We’ve found that the process of recording and listening back guides our learning and cultivates meaningful choices. It profoundly impacts our growth as songwriters and recording artists. So after so many years of wanting to share the value of this experience with other folks, we’re excited to announce our first ever Songwriting and Recording Retreat.


To provide a process-based program that empowers songwriters to refine their skills through direct consultation with established and well respected leaders in the field of songwriting and recording.


  • A professional development retreat for adults 21 and older

  • A 3 day intensive focus on songwriting and recording original music

  • A self-directed opportunity to grow as songwriters and recording artists


March 22-24, 2019 (Depart morning of March 25)

URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute
9349 Moore Road
Zionsville, IN 46077
Phone: (317) 873-3361

Located 25 minutes from Indianapolis International Airport

FEE: $1,000

What is the value of the $1000?

Current market value for a studio quality demo recording of one song is $1000. The prerequisite to record a demo, at most studios, is simply having $1000. Our program provides opportunity to record two original songs while immersed in a loving, supportive and caring community with professionals who aim to get the most out of you and your songs. We will let you know where your song needs work and help you record your song with integrity and quality.


  • Opportunity to record two original songs (one written before arrival and one written during the weekend)

  • Semi-private housing at GUCI available on a first-come first-serve basis

  • Three days to write and record music alone and/or in groups

  • Delivery of two high quality demo recordings of original music


  • Food

  • GUCI is a 5 minute ride away from many restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, etc. Attendees may use their own car, Uber or Lyft for meals offsite. Uber Eats, GrubHub and other food delivery services are also available to bring food to you onsite.

  • Transportation

I Will Not Fear

Dan Nichols and Eighteen will be releasing a song a day from their new album I Will Not Fear beginning on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

About I Will Not Fear:

On June 2, 2018 my father, Bill Nichols, died. He battled stage four colon cancer for six and a half years. During that period of time, I had my struggles as well. Watching a parent die is hard. Facing the feelings that swirled within me while saying goodbye to my dad was challenging and confusing. Recording this album has provided me with a direction for coping. I Will Not Fear is a collection of songs intended to speak truth to my higher power- feelings of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. I pray that this collection will resonate and provide support to others who find themselves walking a similar path. Thank you for listening.

Happy Camping

Summer Solstice. June 21, 2018. It's going to be a long day. The first day of summer. Dan kicked off his 19th year of Jewish summer camps last week at GUCI.  This week Dan traveled out west for Camp Newman. He is now taking in the salt air and stairs. He definitely is getting his daily cardio in.  Just thought I'd let people know where Dan is. Hope to get an update from the man himself soon. Make the most of this long day and everyday. #Campful

New Lecha Dodi?

A new Lecha Dodi? Not sure, but wanted to share. Here’s a little demo. I wanted to explore some of the verses we don’t usually do where I go to pray. Let me know what you think.”

Ninja smooth

Just for fun. “Dan makes a smoothie with his new Ninja Blender. Shh. It’s a Ninja.”

Shabbat Shalom from Springfield

At 6:30 tonight I’ll be celebrating Shabbat with Temple Sinai of Springfield, MA.  I’m delighted to be working with Cantor Martin Levson. I hope to sing and pray with you there!

EquationCast featuring Ava Nichols

EquationCast featuring Ava Nichols

Last year’s math homework project. Ava had to write, produce, and perform a program about equations. I got to be her special guest. Warning: This is Dan at his cheesiest. 

Rodef Shalom Congregation

Shabbat shalom and Chag Sameach!  I’m back in Pittsburgh at Rodef Shalom Congregation where I first learned,  

 ”If you do what you’ve always done

You’ll get what you’ve always gotten

You’ll be who you’ve always been.” 


Wishing you a sweet Shabbes! 



Hinei Mah Tov for Ron Klotz

Hinei Mah Tov for Ron Klotz July 23, 1994

In 1994 the director of Goldman Union Camp Institute, Rabbi Ron Klotz decided he would take a new job at the UAHC Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY.  We at GUCI thought it would be nice to send Ron off with a celebration of his time with us at GUCI. The voice you hear at the beginning is that of my friend and program director, Michael Moskowitz, now Rabbi Michael Moskowitz of Temple Shir Shalom of West Bloomfield, MI. This setting for Hinei Mah Tov may be the first Jewish song I ever wrote.  GUCI still sings it today.  I get chills when I hear GUCI cheering for themselves singing something new, with the purpose of honoring one of our own, our beloved, Rabbi Ron Klotz.

Mockingbirds and Israeli Intelligence

Mockingbirds and Israeli Intelligence
Summer 2002, URJ Greene Family Camp

While at URJ Greene Family Camp in the summer of 2002 I was walking back to my room late at night after a staff reception. As I walked across the field to my room I could distinctly hear two Mockingbirds chirping to each other from trees some 200 yards from each other. I put myself in between the two trees and started to record.  These mockingbirds are the very ones that I recorded and used for Hashkiveinu on our album, My Heart Is In The East.  This out-take comes as an Israeli staff member walks up to me and asked me what in the world I was doing huddling in the dark of that field.


Shabbat for Our Lives

Shabbat for Our Lives: A Shabbat Service, Vigil, and Social Justice Song Session


On Saturday, March 24, kids, teens, parents, clergy, and Jewish community members from across the country will come to Washington, D.C. to demand an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools.

In  response to this demand for change, we are sponsoring a day of social action that begins at Temple on Friday, March 23 at 8:00 pm with a community-wide program, "Shabbat for Our Lives: A Shabbat Service, Vigil, and Social Justice Song Session."

Washington Hebrew Congregation

3935 Macomb Street NW
Washington, DC 20016-3741
phone: 202-362-7100