Of sorts. One project I no longer need to do because someone else has. I don’t know how long zemirotdatabase.org has been around, but I’ve long intended to create a site where people can share Jewish tunes with each other. And break down a monopoly of tunes from the Virtual Cantor, who is being over-used now that taped chazanut is no longer as popular.
Of course (in my way of doing things), my idea was somewhat more ambitious. Which is why it never got done. I’d like to see:
- More annotation of the origin of lyrics and tunes
- Links between tunes which are applied to different prayers
Essentially this means that the tune and the words are separated, and each of them could be annotated with Hebrew, transcription, translation, authorship/variant notes… and somewhere in the intersection people would upload recordings. Maybe I can ask Mendy and Gabe to work on it. Or mabye it was just too much to ever make a site out of and they’ve got it right.
Either way, I’ll need to find some time to record some tunes. (Because most of their voices are terrible…)
I’ve updated the chart linked from my previous post to include an English translation. Thought that might help some people.
I will be singing next week at one of the communal commemorations for the Holocaust next Wednesday night. At first I was going to only be singing with the Sydney Jewish Choral Society (my usual Wednesday night entertainment), but they invited me also to sing El Male Rachamim (the memorial prayer) alone.
Not only do I have to work out the tune, but there seem to be a variety of texts for the purpose. This chart compares a few samples. Any bits people particularly like or don’t like??
- Is God a dweller on high, or a father to orphans?
- Should God procure space upon or under the wings of His presence?
- Do we mourn “6 million Jews”, or “our brothers, Children of Israel”, or “multitudes of thousands of Israel”, or the “holy and pure”?
- Do we specify “men, women and children”?
- Do we state that their death was “in the sanctification of God’s Name”?
- What different means of death should we list?
- Do we name the holocaust, or list the camps, or mention Germans, or Nazis, or that their name should be erased?
- Do we give attribution to our prayer for them, or to our charity on their behalf?
- Do we mention that among them were the righteous and learned?
- And why is יום pluralised irregularly as ימין when it follows the word קץ?
I haven’t run out of things to say. I sometimes seem to have run out of time to say them. Or maybe I’ve just found overly effective forms of procrastination. And my life here is less made up of events than of themes and relationships, so is harder to pull apart and capture in neat written entries.
In my second week in Montreal, I received a phonecall. (more…)