Happy Birthday, Dan!
GUCI + 50 = Happy Campers
"IT’S ON US”
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.
CLICK BELOW FOR DAN NICHOLS’ AND ELLEN DRESKIN’S NEW ALEINU L’SHABEI’ACH
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
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.”
Just for fun. “Dan makes a smoothie with his new Ninja Blender. Shh. It’s a Ninja.”
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!
Dan Nichols discusses his creative process and Jewish music today with Hebrew Union College's Bully Pulpit podcast.
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.
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 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
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.
Last week I was having a conversation with my long time friend and band-mate Mark Niemiec. We've been spending time daydreaming working with you on your sound, your song, your EP, your album. If you're interested shoot me an email:
We'd love to make a joyful noise with YOU!
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
What is it like to pray alone versus praying in community and how do I consider this relationship when creating one of my compositions?
How do I balance Kevah and Kavanah in my song writing and in my leading of prayer?