Many Hats

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Shalom! When it comes to hats I have lots of them. In fact, it used to be said about me that I have a "hat face". The truth is that I really do wear a lot of hats; Singer-Songwriter /Jewish-Americana-Israeli, Certified Clinical Musician / Healthcare & Healing Artist, Educator, Mother, Friend, Cantorial Soloist... hmmmm.... they call me "the spiritual one"... passionate and compassionate, world traveler, straight-shooter... In a nutshell.... I'm a person.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Story 9: Living the Dream


My mother’s dream was to provide a home for her children. Her home ended up to be in Israel. Israel was my home was for twenty-two years, and will be again soon, G-D willing.

Born and raised in Israel until age 11, my daughter, Inbal (a bell of a girl!) insisted that she didn’t need to attend synagogue services in America because she already knew she was Jewish. She returned to Israel for 5 weeks as a grown up independent woman in 2005 after she graduated High School. When she came home that year she informed me that she had decided to go back to Israel and that she would be volunteering for the Israeli army. I was encouraged by her decision and also a little curious. I asked her what prompted her to make that decision. Inbal looked at me and said plainly and simply, “Mom, America is okay but in Israel I’m me”.

Inbal returned “home” to Israel in July 2007 at age 19. She lives and works in Israel as a career soldier.

My son, Eran Hillel (lively praises), is embarking on a career as an animator. Arriving in the USA at age 7, he did not object to the additional Jewish classes; in fact he actually enjoyed them! I hope he will find employment in Israel and come "home" with me!

I currently live (temporarily) in America, teach Hebrew and Jewish studies in a bunch of synagogues, and answer to my Hebrew name, “Rahel”. My dream is that Inbal, Eran and I will all reunite again in Israel and live as free Jews!

My Story 8: Samovar


This is a picture of Jacob's samovar from Russia; the one on display in my mother’s living room in her home in Israel. I believe that my mother’s story is the story of this samovar. According to Wikipedia:

“A samovar (Russian: самовар, pronounced [səmɐˈvar] - literally "self-boiler") is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia, as well as in other Central, South-Eastern and Eastern European countries, in Iran, Kashmir, Turkey and Hadhramawt eastern Yemen. The samovar was an important attribute of a Russian household. Samovars are a part of the traditional Russian tea culture. The Russian expression "to have a sit by samovar" means to have a leisurely talk while drinking tea from samovar. Concentrated tea is poured from a teapot in tiny amounts into a cup. Then hot water is added from the samovar to dilute the tea to the appropriate strength.

The samovar in my mother’s home belonged to a relative, I believe a great uncle Jacob (Yaakov), who lived in Russia. While living as a Jew in Russia, Jacob had a dream that he would eventually make “aliyah" and live in Israel. Although he made it out of Russia, his journey took him instead to South America. I don’t know the details of Jacob’s life and journey, but I believe it was Jacob’s children who then ended up in America, taking the samovar with them. Somehow my mother ended up with the samovar and with her eventual “aliyah” to Israel in 1967, Jacob’s samovar arrived and settled in Israel with her.

It’s clear to me that it’s no coincidence that my American-born mother ended up living in Israel. My mother, Jacqueline May Greenberg – Silverman – Alon, was named after Jacob!

My Story 7: Everyone is counted and recognized!

There are passages in the Torah and Tanach (Bible) where a census is taken. In America people are simply counted. In Israel every person is counted and recognized. Each life is valued. Every life is a world. Every individual is an important part of the whole and is needed to make Israel complete – shalem. As Jews there is a certain level of comfort we gain from knowing that we are counted and recognized. This is the kind of comfort that exists in Israel - our home.

My Story 6: Tofa'ah; A Musical Phenomenon



In 1981 I joined an all-woman’s rock band. When I auditioned I had no idea this band was comprised of only women because of a Jewish religious ruling or “Halachah” known as "Kol Isha". In 1981 I was only beginning to understand and identify myself as a Jew, let alone and observant one. I had studied for six months at the Pardes Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and because my boyfriend at the time had become observant, I also tried to live accordingly. Rituals and ceremonies were not my style and I soon returned to a “secular” lifestyle.

I joined the band and, even though I was not as observant as the other band members, I was anointed the “spiritual one”. I loved the band, the music, the women, and all the challenges that we lived through because of our multi-leveled and multi-faceted Jewish and religious choices. I’ll never forget how important it was for some of the more religious women in the band to be certain that the words we were singing be interpreted musically with the right pitch or note or vocal expression. WOW~! Were there completely nuts? Actually, no, they weren’t. Each song we wrote was handled with extreme halachic care and utmost love. These were the words of G-D that we were singing and expressing publicly to all-women audiences. The essence of my entire being was challenged and put to the test in those years. My soul was elevated and my spirit elated. My life and outlook changed tremendously and, mostly, profoundly. My life and Jewish identity rose to a whole new level.

My Story 5: "HOME"



I lived in Israel from 1976-1998; 22 years! They were 22 exciting years filled with music, people, good friends, a small but important (nuclear) family connection, and with lots of learning, growing, enlightenment, revelation, and filled with CHAI – LIFE!

I was always called “Ann” in Israel.

In August 1976 I returned from Europe to my mother’s house, to the Anglo folk club, and to 6-months in a Hebrew language ulpan. I began to make a new life for myself. I became a person with a new identity; I became a musician and an educator. I became a student. I got religion for a while, and then became “spiritual”, but most importantly, I became a Jew. I gained confidence, strength and pride. There were no holidays now that I was left out of. I was part of the majority and that felt real good.

Rather than go into the little details about my life in Israel, which included eleven wonderfully exciting and fun years as a single woman making a living as a musician – and eleven years married, raising a family, and working musically with young children, I’d like to mention just a few significant moments that made a huge difference to me as a person and as a Jew.

DREAMS & VISIONS

Early on, in the first year or so of my “aliyah” (integration and immigration process), my mother introduced me to her professor, Mr. Dov Noy, a folklorist at the Hebrew University. Dov Noy is a warm, welcoming and friendly man who hosted an open house event every Monday evening at his home in Jerusalem. The purpose of the evening was to network. As people introduced themselves one by one, saying only a few brief introductory remarks, I began to realize that each and every person there that night seemed to be in Israel for a clear and specific reason. With clear intent and purpose, and in only a few sentences, each person told of a particular vision or dream - the reason they were in Israel. It was an awesome and inspiring evening. My eyes were beginning to open to a land and a people rich and full - - whole and complete. Today I have been witness to the actualization of some of those guests' dreams. For example, I remember distinctly a woman with an art collection. She had arranged for a wing to be built at the Israel Museum to house her collection. A few years down the road the wing was dedicated and the dream actualized.

That night at Dov Noy’s home, I met composers, writers and poets, academics, and even a few simple people just like me. Each one was a piece of the puzzle, one of the lost “sparks”, the incoming exiles that would become a future “light unto the world”. To achieve this, all that was needed was simply to live and exist in Israel. This revelation had a profound impact on me. I learned that night that Israel was a place where each person is special and important and where dreams are real and come true.

I’M RICH!

Two years now in Israel, although I kept company with mostly native English speakers, fondly referred to as “Anglos", I was finally beginning to achieve some basic fluency in speaking Hebrew. The ability to speak Hebrew opened up the whole world to me. With my limited abilities I began to conduc simple yet compelling conversations with all kinds of people, people I would have never met in a lifetime of living in America. Jews from every corner of the world were, and are, to be found in Israel and I could now speak with them all. I didn’t have to seek them out. They were just there everywhere! I began to listen to their stories. I learned so much about the world, about their ives, about places I’d never even heard of. What amazed me the most was that all these strangers had now become part of my ever-growing Jewish family. It seemed to matter little that we had grown up in different parts of the world. As Jews we shared a common history and a collective Jewish experience; and now we shared the same language and country. WOW~! This revelation stopped me in my tracks one day as I marveled in the feeling that I had suddenly become the richest person in the world. Yes, I WAS RICH! I had the world at my fingertips and, what’s more, I was part of it.

My Story 4: A Trip to Europe

In June 1976, after spending three months in Israel, I met my friend in Europe as planned. I was politically ignorant but apparently Israel was a hot topic in the news. As the El Al flight landed in the Amsterdam airport, it was directed to a separate landing area. I was shocked to see the plane surrounded by tanks with Dutch soldiers pointing their guns at us as we deplaned. Apparently plane hijacking had become the mode of terror at that time. I'm not sure if the soldiers there to protect us or protect Amsterdam. Nevertheless, we deplaned far away from the terminal and were bussed to the entrance.

I was in France when I heard about the successful rescue of the Israelis and Jews being held hostage in Entebbe. I was still clueless but I was slowly beginning to understand that being Jewish came with its own unique trials and tribulations. I was also beginning to understand that the only place I felt really welcomed and safe, as a person and as a Jew, was in that place called Israel.

In any case, hitchhiking around Europe was thrilling. My friend and I had a great tent and all that we needed. We started in Amsterdam at the FESTIVAL OF FOOLS and spent the rest of the summer following theater and street festivals as they happened. It was the best time of my life. I was free - the most free I've ever been.

Now it was August and time to go home. I had 6-months left on my open-ended ticket and a decision to make. Instead of a future as a cabbie in America, a future that suddenly seemed empty and void of warmth and friendliness, I said good-bye to my good friend and returned “home” to Israel.

My Story 3: Almost an Adult; Leaving the American Life Behind

With my parents divorce came my divorce from Jewish life. Our new family became members of a Conservative synagogue (we were previously in Reform). With no organ or choir this was a total turn-off for me. When I turned 18 and finished High School, I set off to start my independent young adult life.

As a young adult the best I would do was to occasionally show up at my parent’s home on the major Jewish holidays, and to read the endless stream of letters that my mother sent me from that far away place she was living called “Israel”.

I don't remember experiencing any serious anti-Semitism in America at that time, or perhaps I didn’t recognize the occasional exclusions from American life as such, but something was beginning to tug at me. I began to feel more and more alienated with every Christmas celebration that I was not part of, and the letters from my mother were beginning to dig a big empty hole in my soul. After three years living in Boston as a cabbie, I decided it was time to accept an offer of a free ticket from my grandparents to visit my mother.

I set out in March 1976 with a year-long open-ended plane ticket. The plan was to spend three months getting re-acquainted with mother, then meet my friend in Europe for 3 months, and then fly back to Boston and my job driving a cab. Since I was virtually ignorant about Israel, I took someone’s advice to read a book called, “The Source” – which I read before setting off. Unbeknownst to me, this was the start of my “return” to Judaism and to a life lived openly and proudly as a Jew.

Boarding the plane in March 1976, a virtual ignoramus about my own Jewish identity and homeland, I found myself surrounded by a very loud, boisterous and very joyful Christian group, the members of whom never stopped singing during the entire 12-hour flight! I also noticed a few orthodox Jews who stood up to pray every now and then. When the plane approached Israel everyone clapped and the Christian group sang even louder and more ecstatically. I noticed that some of the passengers kissed the ground upon deplaning. I was clueless. I didn’t understand anything. Why were these people so ecstatic about being in this place? This journey meant nothing to me except that I was going to see my mother and I was quite nervous and anxious about that!

My mother was waiting for me as I exited through the customs lobby. I hadn’t seen her since High School. I was now almost 21 and I had no idea what to expect. At this point all I really knew about my mother from the letters that I mostly just skimmed over and placed in a special box for safe keeping - just in case someday I might decide to actually read them all the way through.

My mother had a small Volkswagen mini-van. We traveled from the airport towards Jerusalem. It was the middle of the night and after the long flight I was quite tired. Oblivious to my exhaustion, my mother, so excited that one of her children had finally come to visit her in Israel, jumped right into tour guide mode. She pointed out the rusted frames of the army vehicles that had been left as memorials to past wars. We ascended to Jerusalem and, rather than take me directly to her house, she took me straight to the Kotel – the “Wailing Wall”. Whoopee. I didn’t care then but I can tell you now that that was a night I will never forget and will always hold close to my heart. Seeing Jerusalem for the first time at night was extremely special, but then I didn’t even get out of the car to touch the wall. I had no idea why my mother was urging me to go see it up close. I just wanted to go to sleep. My mother continued the tour, taking the long route all around Jerusalem, pointing out the various landmarks on the way until we finally arrived “home”. She showed me my room and I retired. I was angry at her from that moment on. In fact, I'm sure I had been angry at her ever since she and my dad divorced - - but that's material for the "shrink"!

Now in Israel, my mother had made all sorts of plans for my potential “aliyah” (immigration to Israel) beginning with an all day bus tour. I don’t think she realized it, it's clear that I ended up on a Christian-based tour. So I set out to visit the Christian sites of the “Holy Land” apparently together with my Christian "friends" from the plane! When we got to Bethlehem, which then was a thriving tourist spot, everyone got out and went over to the church to a room that had a display of the baby Jesus in a manger. It made no sense to me at all. To me it just looked like a toy doll and I wondered what all the fuss was about. I guess I was simply naïve about all religions – not just my own! Those first weeks in Israel were interesting though. In an attempt to distance myself from my mother, whom I was now experiencing some deep rooted childhood anger towards, I began to explore Israel on my own. I spent a lot of time in Jerusalem's Old City which was so different to me than anything I had yet seen in my short life.

My mother decided to enroll me in an “Ulpan” (a language learning class) for a month to learn to speak Hebrew. I sat next to a French nun and spoke French with her while the teacher yakked away in Hebrew. Neither of us understood what she was saying but at least I could read the Hebrew letters in the textbook and write in cursive so I wasn’t completely lost. I guess I learned something from those childhood classes at the synagogue after all!

I’m not really sure how I met up with Moshe, an Israeli ragtime guitar player. I think my mother had something to do with it. He introduced me to the Tzavta folk club – a weekly open mic event where I met a few Israeli’s but mostly a lot of English speaking “Anglo’s” like me. Moshe knew I played guitar and could also pluck a few tunes on the banjo. Back then I was a closet musician but somehow I ended up on the open mic stage – banjo in hand. From then on I became an integral part of the Jerusalem/Israel “Anglo’ folk music scene. I began to make new friends and started to feel that this far away place wasn’t so bad after all.

My Story 2: Second Generation American Jew

I am a second generation American Jew. My story no doubt mirrors the story of a large population of second generation American Jews. I grew up in Lexington, MA, an up and coming suburban town where I lived a middle class American life in a very good environment and received a very good secular education. Lexington was known for its excellent school systems and, like most towns in the 50’s and 60’s, was grounded in typical Judeo-Christian traditions. Lexington was also the home for a fairly well off and good sized Jewish community. I grew up like most second generation American Jews, mostly secular though we observed the major Jewish holidays. I received a Jewish education twice weekly at a local syngagogue on Sundays and after school. My siblings and I, like my father, did not enjoy learning at a Jewish school". Not because it was Jewish, but because classes were either after a long day at secular school or on the weekend. That simply disrupted my regular American life.

Most of my friends were not Jewish and I engaged in a mostly non-Jewish lifestyle. I knew I was Jewish and was aware that that made me a little different than the others but, during those school years, the only time I ever really felt different was when the rest of the country was collectively celebrating such holidays as Christmas and Easter. Those were nation-wide holidays that just about everyone I knew observed and celebrated. Even the schools and businesses were closed. Families gathered together on those days to celebrate. We gathered together on those days to do nothing and so I was left feeling alone and disconnected from a community that I generally felt so much a part of.

I was 12 yrs. old when my parents divorced. It was a difficult divorce which left many scars. My father re-married about a year later and, after many years of fighting, and a few life-changing trips to Israel for post graduate academics, my mother decided to leave America to make a new life there. She remarried and began to build a new home where she always hoped her children would come to.

My adult life in America was not too thrilling. After High School, as was expected in those days, I applied and was accepted to a college. It was not my first choice college. I didn't get into that one. College life was not my style because I was not the partying type! That seemed to me was all that was going on in college! So I attended one year of college before dropping out, moving to Boston where I lived and worked as a Boston cab driver for three years.

Cab driving in Boston was lots of fun. I absolutely loved the job. I was free to work according to my own hours and the job was always there waiting for me whenever I decided to take a vacation. I took my summers off and set out with a friend to see the rest of the world. We traveled around Canada and on the third summer planned to meet in Europe after I would spend a few months in some country called “Israel” where my mother was now living.

My story 1: What’s in a name?


Today I go by the name: Rahel (pronounced RAH-CKHEL). That’s Hebrew for ‘Rachel’.
I was born Ann Rachel Silverman. “Silverman” was originally “Zylberkant”. My brother, who currently lives in Israel, learned that:

“In Poland, it was Zylberkant. The family mythos was that it was changed at Ellis Island, but my Dad found the records and it turns out that my grandfather changed it during his first few years in the states.

Zylber means silver and kant (in German) means edge, which doesn't make a lot of sense. It has some nice poetic finesse of finding the silver lining, but how someone would come to be named that is confusing. My Dad recently found out that it could be a regional variation of kunst which means art or artisan, which makes a lot of sense if one of my ancestors worked in silver.”

I was given the Hebrew name, ‘(Chana) Rahel’, and the Yiddish name “Raizele Ratza”. I’ve been told that Raizele was a young child, a relative on my dad’s side, who, together with most of her family, perished in the Holocaust. Their story is part of my story, though, curiously, I do not feel entirely connected to that part of my family’s history.

My relatives on my dad's side are mostly from Poland.

All but Aunt Sarah (my dad's oldest sister) perished in the Holocaust. My grandparents on my father’s side were immigrants from Poland. They lived in the now famous tenement buildings of the lower east side of New York where most of the immigrants lived after arriving via the Ellis Island port. My father, Sam, or Shmuel Mendel, was sent to yeshiva, an orthodox Jewish school, where most Jewish immigrant kids would learn. My father, like most first generation Americans, rejected the yeshiva education, skipping school to spend a good deal of time as a street hooligan with his peers. He was a smart kid though and an avid reader. The father of a friend, a college professor, took note and my dad managed to learn a lot from him – so much so that he was able to attend NY’s City College at the age of 16 yrs. My father went on to became a geo-physicist. He worked for the American Air Force as a research scientist studying auroras for twenty years. He then retired so that he could study to become a lawyer, which he accomplished at age 50. My dad married twice and I am the eldest of 5 siblings with two different mothers.

My relatives on my mom's side are mostly of Russian descent.

My mother, Jacqueline May, was the eldest of two sisters born into a very large family system of Jewish immigrants mostly of Russian decent. Their immigration to America also came via South America. My mother’s family did very well in America selling upholstery and pickled products in East Orange, NJ. They lived the American Dream in the Gulden Medina.

Education was valued in Jewish families and my parents were both educated and both have graduate and post graduate degrees. Even with this they tell of having difficulties getting jobs because of anti-Semitism. They managed though and finally settled in the suburban town of Lexington, MA – just outside of Boston.

All-women religious band Tofa'ah still rockin'



Tofa'ah, Hebrew for 'phenomenon,' is celebrating 28 years of playing music. Their ninth studio album will be released later this year

Several weeks ago we published an article about a newly-founded religious rock group made up solely of women and titled the story, "Introducing 1st religious women's rock band." It turned out we were wrong. Another band, founded almost three decades ago, was in fact the one to pioneer this unique genre.

This year the all-women religious rock band Tofa'ah is celebrating 28 years of playing music. When the band was founded in 1981, the idea of an all women, Jewish rock-and-roll/blues/jazz band that only performed for women was unheard of. The band inspired religious women by offering an acceptable outlet to explore Jewish identity and the arts.

Yona Jakobovitz started the band driven by a belief that women deserve opportunities. She held auditions looking for a group of women that together could inspire audiences through music. The band's original lineup in 1981 was Yona Jakobovitz (drums, piano vocals), Esther Leuchter (Vocals), Rachel Kantorowitz (violin), Joy Shapiro (flute), Rahel Limor (guitar), Tehilla Shwab and Devorah Belinky (flute).

Tofa'ah was supported by the Israel Center in Jerusalem and given free practice space and a venue to perform concerts for all women audiences. Throughout the years, the band has undergone a series of lineup changes but has stayed true to their original message.

"We organized the first women-only events there. It was thanks to us that women's events became more common, and finally the norm," Yakobovitz told Ynetnews.

For the past 20 years, Tofa'ah has been performing continuously throughout Israel and the United States. A few times a year the Jerusalem Municipality hires the band to perform at large women-only events. In the last few months alone, the band has performed to over 12,000 women.

Accepted by all Jews

Throughout the band's history they have been embraced by all sectors of the Jewish world. Early on they received a blessing from one of the highest rabbinical authorities in Jerusalem. The rabbi has asked to remain anonymous. Band founder Yakobovitz said: "He encouraged us all through the years and told us that as women we had an opportunity to reach out to more diverse audiences and that we should remember our responsibility to spread goodness and light in the world".

2004 reunion

Many of their songs feature arrangements of sacred liturgy so the band has always consulted rabbis to ensure proper adherence to halachot. The band's diverse fan base ranges from secular feminist, Hasidic, modern Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Amazing performances

Tofa'ah has toured with major national and international music festivals around the world and packed Binyanei Ha'uma, the largest convention center in the Middle East. They also performed on a number of Israeli television and radio shows.

"Tofa'ah opened the door for women to reach other levels of creativity and spirituality and identify. Woman to woman songs about Rosh Chodesh, the mikveh, motherhood, sisterhood, and women's prayer…before us, and even to this day, most Jewish music is very male dominated," explained Yakobovitz.

Tofa'ah, whose musical influences include Joni Mitchell, Pat Benatar, and Earth Wind and Fire, have always worked to encourage women to embrace their spiritual identity and have influenced women to pursue the arts. The band's non-profit organization, Tof Miriam, promotes the arts among women in Israel, working to create forums for musicians, painters, and writers, to showcase their talents.

Another band member Rahel Limor told Ynetnews: "In the 1980s, observant women had never seen electric guitars and especially a woman playing on a drum kit! Many women asked about these instruments at our concerts. It was so new and exciting to them."

After rocking for nearly three decades Rahel added, "We are still here. Tofa'ah remains true to its name – a truly phenomenal group of women who, though not always in the public's consciousness, have offered so much to the world". The band's ninth studio album is due to be released later this year.

To listen to Tofa'ah and watch concert clips, check out: www.myspace.com/tofaah

Josh Lichtenstein Published: 06.08.09, 17:18 / Israel Jewish Scene
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3727290,00.html

All Music by Rahel

Here's where you can find my cd's:

http://www.rahelmusic.net/cds.html

MOTHER GOOSE ON THE LOOSE / IMMA AVAZA


Recommended Family Entertainment! - Rollicking fun with traditional nursery rhymes and songs. This multi-lingual Raffi-style interactive concert features songs, rhymes, and fingerplays sung in English, French, Spanish, Hebrew and more, and includes dance, movement and games. This program is part of the Cass-Beggs "Listen Like Learn" music, and Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen's "Mother Goose on the Loose" programs. An ALL HEBREW performance is also available.

www.mgol.org
www.cdbaby.com/bdcr
www.cdbaby.com/rahelmusic3
www.cdbaby.com/bdcr2
www.cdbaby.com/cd/rembdc

RAHEL & ROOTES - Folk-Rock Innovations

"Rootes" plays a progressive guitar-driven groove that fuses jazz, folk, rock and world rhythms to produce songs that are filled with energy and emotion. RAHEL sings in a ’free verse" style with strong and expressive vocals supported by her middle-eastern influenced guitar work. JASON PAUL’s meandering bass groove safari takes you through traditional folk backwaters, to jazz, to blues and to strong currents of today’s rock riffs. Drummer-percussionist, ANDRE DUMONT, marks the beat with a creative rhythmic force that completes the dynamic sound.

Jewish Healing & Spirituality Group


You are a being of Light, Love and Joy. Chaverim, we have much to learn from each other. The Torah is complete, yet, so often I find myself unable to see what is right there before my eyes as plain as day.

The purpose of this group is to learn about and explore ancient healing sources and traditions found in the Torah and other JEWISH sources.

Think "yeshiva", "chevruta"...

Think "hitbon'nut", "hitbod'dut"...

Think "alef-bet"...

Think David and his harp, Solomon and the wisdom of the ages, the "Baal Shem Tov" and "Reb Nachman"...

Think "refuat ha'guf", "refuat ha'nefesh"...

Think "dveikut" and "SHLEIMUT"!

Together we will explore and discuss verses, passages available to us in the Torah, and writings from the sages; ancient and contemporary. We will learn about the wisdom and healing energy of the Hebrew letters and vowels, and about the healing psalms, the "Tikkun HaKlali", and more. We will site Torah sources and learn how the Torah has guided us with its healing energy throughout the ages. We will study and discuss its influence on us today; for spiritual inspiration and direction, meditation, contemplation, prayer; we will sing and apply music and music medicine enery; and gain guidance about physical comfort and healing.

We will strive to learn about maintaining healthy Torah-based habits to maintain wellness, well-being, inner and outer "shalom" and "shleimut" - wholeness and peace.

Please note that this is not a religious-based group. We will be studying Jewish texts and sources and the focus is on Torah-based JEWISH healing practices, however this group is meant to be open to all those with an interest in this subject matter from all perspectives and faiths.

This group meets in Southern New Hampshire (Nashua, Amherst and Milford).

All are invited to join! Please contact me if you are interested.

"Tikkun HaKlali - The Complete Remedy" - Psalms for Healing


"Tikkun HaKlali - The Complete Remedy" - Psalms for Healing

Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum teaches: The essential art of the musician is to build melodies from pleasing positive vibrations that will dispel any vibrations of negativity. The Psalms/Tehillim (songs and meditations), express an emotional outpouring of the heart from the depths of the soul. Kabbalistic sages have taught that the original Hebrew text of the Psalms contains profound hidden wisdom and includes a complete musical system referred to as the “Ten Types of Songs” (or ten types of pulses). Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) taught that there are ten Psalms that contain all the “Ten Types of Songs”. He called these ten the “Tikkun HaKlali” (The Complete Remedy).

The Ten Psalms are: 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137 and 150.

When one abuses his/her G-d given powers s/he becomes spiritually flawed which, in turn can cause physical illness. At times, one may find that traditional methods and remedies may not help. "This," explains Rav Avraham Greenbaum, "is because they do not go to the essence of the problem. The Hebrew word, tikkun, means 'remedy'. Rebbe Nachman's Tikkun attacks the flaw at its very roots, drawing on the most powerful creative force in the universe: song."

The Sages taught that the Psalms have the power to bring out the hidden good that exists in the varied moments of our lives, providing inspiration and spiritual healing, and promoting health. Psalms to say at times of illness or crisis are: 6, 13, 20, 23, 30, 38, 39, 41, 88, 91, 92, 121.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, "Through ten expressions of praise, the book of Psalms was composed. They are: Nitzuach, Nigun, Maskil, Mizmor, Shir, Ashrei, Tehilah, Tefillah, Hoda'ah and Hallel." (Pesachim 117a, Zohar III, 101a) These ten types of song correspond to the ten sefirot as alluded to in the Zohar. Therefore, they have the power to nullilfy the strength of the klipah and blemish of a negative experience. Every negative experience has its own remedy but the Tikkun HaKlali is the Complete Remedy. It should be said as a whole, uninterrupted and in sequence, by those seeking a remedy for any problem they might be experiencing.

When the great Temple stood in Jerusalem, the Levites would sing/recite certain Psalms to the accompaniment of musical instruments in the Temple service. According to the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 31a) the daily Psalms were intended to recall the incidents of the six days of creation: Sunday - Psalm 24; Monday - Psalm 48; Tuesday - Psalm 82; Wednesday - Psalm 94; 95:1-3; Thursday - Psalm 81; Friday - Psalm 93; Shabbat - Psalm 92

Torah-Based Healing - An Ancient Practice
An ancient source provides us with the answers we seek today about health and wellness. The study of Torah is said to profoundly effect our well-being; refu'at ha'nefesh (the healing of the soul) and refu'at ha'guf (healing of the body).

The Torah, and commentaries of the sages, include numerous mentions of illness, healing, and yes, medical practice. For example, music was often used to provide invaluable help to those in need in ancient times and it still proves effective today.

How did King David rise each night at midnight?

"Rabbi Shim'on Hasida said: 'David hung his harp above his bed and when midnight would arrive the north wind would blow upon the harp (vibrating the strings) and causing music to emanate. David would immediately rise and begin studying Torah. He would continue his studies even as the first light of dawn appeared in the sky.'" (Talmud Tractate Berachot 3:b)

We learn from the book of Samuel 16; 14-23 about King Saul's illness and David's musical gift that provided him solace:

"The spirit of G-d departed from Saul, and he was tormented by a spirit of sadness and melancholy from G-d. Saul's servants said to him, 'Behold now! A spirit of melancholy from G-d torments you. Let our lord tell your servants who are before you that they should seek a man who knows how to play the harp, so that when the spirit of melancholy from G-d is upon you, he will play the harp with his hand and all will be well with you."

So Saul said to his servants, "Seek now for me someone who plays well and bring him to me. One of the young servants spoke up and said, "Behold! I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who knows how to play the harp, is a mightly man of valor and a man of war, who understands a matter, is a handsome man, and G-d is with him."

Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said " Send me David your son who is with the sheep....

And it came to pass, that whenever the spirit of melancholy from G-d was upon Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand, and Saul would feel relieved and it would be well with him, and the evil spirit would depart from Saul.'

Micah Harrari of House of Harrai harps in Israel, www.harrariharps.com writes:

"3000 years ago the servants of King Saul knew that the sounds of the harp were able to have a healing affect on people. They didn't have the scientific knowledge of why and how, but they did know that something profound happened to people when the harp was played, and so they found the 'best harpist' in the land to bring to their ailing king to ease his suffering and bring him moments of peace and well being.

3000 years later, in our generation, recent medical research, studies and testing is showing the 'why and the how' of the healing affects of the sound of the harp."

LIVE music is the key. Torah provides the answers. There is a lot of information today about TORAH-BASED healing. To learn more, I recommend visiting: www.jewishealing.com

Jewish Healing & Spirituality MEET UP Group
You are a being of Light, Love and Joy. Chaverim, we have much to learn from each other. The Torah is complete, yet, so often I find myself unable to see what is right there before my eyes as plain as day.

The purpose of this group is to learn about and explore ancient healing sources and traditions found in the Torah and other JEWISH sources.

Think "yeshiva", "chevruta"...

Think "hitbon'nut", "hitbod'dut"...

Think "alef-bet"...

Think David and his harp, Solomon and the wisdom of the ages, the "Baal Shem Tov" and "Reb Nachman"...

Think "refuat ha'guf", "refuat ha'nefesh"...

Think "dveikut" and "SHLEIMUT"!

Together we will explore and discuss verses, passages available to us in the Torah, and writings from the sages; ancient and contemporary. We will learn about the wisdom and healing energy of the Hebrew letters and vowels, and about the healing psalms, the "Tikkun HaKlali", and more. We will site Torah sources and learn how the Torah has guided us with its healing energy throughout the ages. We will study and discuss its influence on us today; for spiritual inspiration and direction, meditation, contemplation, prayer; we will sing and apply music and music medicine enery; and gain guidance about physical comfort and healing.

We will strive to learn about maintaining healthy Torah-based habits to maintain wellness, well-being, inner and outer "shalom" and "shleimut" - wholeness and peace.

Please note that this is not a religious-based group. We will be studying Jewish texts and sources and the focus is on Torah-based JEWISH healing practices, however this group is meant to be open to all those with an interest in this subject matter from all perspectives and faiths.

This group meets in Southern New Hampshire (Nashua, Amherst and Milford). All are invited to join: http://www.meetup.com/Jewish-Healing-Spirituality/

I am a Therapeutic Musician - Sound Healing


"The essential art of the musician is to build melodies from pleasing vibrations that will dispel any vibrations of negativity." * Rav Avraham Greenbaum: The Wings of the Sun.

Laurie Riley, author of Body, Mind and Music, writes: "Music is the birthright of humanity. It is something we are all born able to do. We cannot help it; we are music...Our cells, our molecules, our atoms, our quantum particles all vibrate with the aliveness of rhythm; without we are, literally, dead."

Our bodies are affected by sound. More and more today, live music is being used as a complementary healing modality. Music transforms the experience of illness or death, it connects one person with another even when s/he may not be able to interact. It calms, relaxes,and creates a comforting environment. Live music can: reduce blood pressure, accelerate physical healing, stimulate memories, relieve anxiety, induce mental imaging, provide a way to release emotions, reduce stress, provide a way to express feelings, augment pain management, provide a segue for grieving, relieve mental tension, provide companionship, ease the delivery process of a birthing mother, provide time for contemplation, refresh, renew, and nurture mind, body and spirit.

It is believed that just a half hour of music can produce the same effect as ten milligrams of valium.

Music is safe, inexpensive and effective.


* The use of music for healing was once a highly developed sacred science. Music was originally utilized as a communal activity with magical and therapeutic intentions. The use of specific tones, frequencies, intervals and chants was extremely refined and specific. Sonic vibration was known to be the fundamental creative force of the universe.... Vibrational medicine music is bringing forth necessary changes in ourselves on both physical and mental levels to be able to live harmoniously in our times and in times to come. This is a journey of evolving conscoiusness which successfully unifies us with the essence of perfection who we ultimately are.
* Trans-Hyperborean Institute of Science

Stella Benson, author of The Healing Musician, reminds us that, "Music alone does not cure. Healing, within the context of therapautic music, is best understood as a process or a means to an end, not a product or an end in itself....Healing music is a holistic mechanism causing a chain reaction, which can affect the physical body, the emotions and the spirit."

Applying healing music is a healing art.

Please feel free to contact Rahel to play individually-tailored music, and to facilitate comfort, relaxation, and a healing environment for: patients at bedside, chronically and critically ill, dying, elderly, infants & children, birthing mothers, caregivers, in alternative health clinics and healing environments, and for corporations who provide rest & relaxation time for their employees!

Sound Healing - Therapeutic Music


"You are a being of Light, Love and Joy."

Rahel is a compassionate, sensitive and insightful musician who has been trained to play therapeutic music for healing and transition at bedside, in medical,clinical and hospice environments, and at memorials and funerals. She provides individually-tailored and appropriate repertoire that is holistic in intention and supports patient care and can also assist the patient's family, friends and health care team. Rahel's "TIKKUN" engages the listener in Torah-based healing using the Psalms, specifically the ten healing psalms revealed by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) known as the "Tikkun HaKlali - the General Remedy", sung in their original Hebrew to create an environment in which one can meditate, reflect and engage in a personal connection with G*D. The study of Torah is said to profoundly effect our well-being; refu'at ha'nefesh (the healing of the soul) and refu'at ha'guf (healing of the body). The Torah, and commentaries of the sages, include numerous mentions of illness, healing, and yes, medical practice. For example, music was often used to provide invaluable help to those in need in ancient times and it still proves effective today.

http://www.soundhealersassociation.org/member/show/2154

Where to find me...

Here's where I am:

RahelMusic.NET: http://www.rahelmusic.net
RahelMusic.COM: http://www.rahelmusic.com
ISRAEL IS REAL: http://israelisreal.weebly.com
Israel is Real / WSMN: http:/www.wsmnradio.com
CDBABY: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Rahel
Sound Healer's Association: http://www.soundhealersassociation.org/member/show/2154
YouTube RahelNET: http://www.youtube.com/user/RahelNet
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rahelmusic
RahelMusic Fan Club: http://ja-jp.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12732020978
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rahelmusic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rahelmusic
Rootes MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rootesmusic
YouTube Rootes: http://www.youtube.com/user/Rootesmusic
Our Stage: http://www.ourstage.com/profile/rahelmusic
One True Media: http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/my_videos
Create Culture: www.createculture.org
Gigmasters: http://www.gigmasters.com/Artists/RAHELMUSIC/
Healing Israel: http://www.healing-israel.com/hisdirectory.htm
NH Arts in Healthcare: http://www.nh.gov/nharts/artsandartists/aihcartistdirectory.html
http://pierce.state.nh.us/nharts/artsandartists/healthroster/healthartistinfo.asp?ArtistID=343
Encore: http://encorebuzz.ning.com/profile/Rahel
ArtSpider: http://www.artspider.net/performarts.php
Linkdin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rahelmusic
NH Acoustic Musicians Association: http://www.nhama.org/bands.php
Hot Shabbat: http://www.hotshabbat.com/
Tot Shabbat: http://www.totshabbat.com/#P-S
Psalms in Song: http://home.earthlink.net/~apex_ps/links.html
One Wed: http://www.onewed.com/reviews/wedding-dj-bands/new-hampshire/nh/milford/rahel-music/1899390/
Party-Wedding: http://www.party-wedding.info/manchester/musicians.html
Myxer: http://www.myxer.com/artist/5937/
Jewish Advocate: http://www.thejewishadvocate.com/node/14117
Our Hometown: http://www2.our-hometown.com/public/busprofiles.php?AdvID=152177
PayPlay.fm - TIKKUN: http://payplay.fm/rahelmusic
mp3.com: http://www.mp3.com/albums/20040911/reviews.html
http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/126384-rahel-ann-rachel
Free Media Scoop: http://www.freemediascoop.com/video/YKqm-CdX6LU/Meet-ROOTES.html

The REAL Israel... More about the Arabs...

Hello Everyone,

Tonight I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with my Arab taxi driver. Before I write what I remember of it, I want to say that one of the things I have noticed in Israel today is how integrated into Israeli life the Arabs seem to be. I sharing this observation with a friend, however, one has to ask, would Jews enjoy the same integrated and free life in the Arab states?

Here is what I remember of my cab ride talk:

One of the things I like most about being in Israel is straight talk. We speak "yashar" - in other words - we say directly what's on our minds. Here's my story:

It's about 10:30pm and, because I am carrying a few bags, I decided to take a cab home. Without a second thought I hopped into a taxi that was waiting by the bus stop at Jerusalem's central bus station. Off we went. I assumed the driver was an Israeli - after all, it was an Israeli taxi. We started to talk and then I asked him if I could ask him a few questions. I explained that I host a radio show in the USA about Israel and that I am curious about life in Israel - the REAL life, not the propaganda. He agreed to answer my questions. My first question was to ask him if he was from around here (Jerusalem area). He answered, "yes and no" explaining that he's an Israeli born in Jerusalem, but not quite yet a citizen. Noting how intermingled the Arabs are in the Jewish state these days, I asked him directly - are you an Arab? He replied, "Yes."

The taxi driver explained that he's a third generation Arab here in Israel. His mother is from Yaffa and his father from Jerusalem. He was born in Jerusalem. He considers himself an Israeli. He enjoys all the same benefits as the Jewish residents: health insurance and care, social security benefits, pension options, employment... and so on. He can vote in municipal (town) elections but not in the national elections. He is not a citizen because he missed the small window of opportunity when "Israeli" Arabs were granted citizenship. He then told me that he holds a Jordanian passport because there was a time that Jordan's King Hussein granted them citizenship and promised to take care of them - a promise they're still hoping to see fulfilled! He said that the Arabs in Gaza were granted Egyptian passports, and the Arabs in the autonomous areas in Israel have some sort of special ID card. I asked him what he thought about all this? He said he's not worried at all about it - except if he might want to travel out of Israel. Even then, providing he had never engaged in anti-Israel activities or terrorism, he should have no issues leaving the country for travel.

My cab driver spoke about the Intifadas, violence and terrorism by recalling simply that his wise father always taught him that these things never lead anywhere so why engage in them. Blood only leads to more blood. Also, these are simply political games. Since politics change all the time why risk ruining your life by ending up in jail or worse?

What about fear? He notes that Jews are afraid of Arabs. They see an Arab and they look for an alternative route. Why live your life in fear? I ask if he is afraid of Jews? He answers, "Yes, sometimes," but it is because of his job as a cab driver. Occasionally he confronts drunks or finds himself in an unfriendly neighborhood. I agreed. I once had a job as a cab driver and faced similar fears. Some clients were hostile as were some neighborhoods. He is simply concerned and asks again, "But why do we have to live in fear?"

During the Intifada years he was just coming into his college years. He had wanted to attend college to get a degree but because of the Intifada, the (Arab) colleges were all closed down. So he missed his opportunity to get a higher education. His younger siblings, however, did not and most have gotten degrees by now and have made good livings and lives for themselves.

I asked him how he identifies himself? For example, I am an American-Israeli-Jew. I often feel comfortable in America but also, because I am Jewish I feel more like a stranger in a strange land. My cab driver identifies himself as a "Yerushalmi" - Jerusalemite. Born and bred in Jerusalem, that's who he feels he is. He explains that for Israeli's Jerusalem seems to have that special something. You can be from anywhere in Israel and be an Israeli. But Jerusalemites are simply that - a catergory all their own - something extremely special. He feels that's who he is - and it's not particular to being Jewish or Arab. It's all the same if you're a "Yerushalmi".

I asked if he might be interested in living in another Arab state such as Jordan? No, he has a very good life here, better than he might have in an Arab state and he's happy here. No complaints. He respects his fathers' teachings to aspire to live peacefully and let the political winds blow over and away.

Noting America's recent political demands that building in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel be stopped or frozen, my cab driver agrees with my Jewish/Israeli friend who stated that these policies not only affect Jews but also affect the Arabs who now have lost work and income. My cab driver added that, by the way, these orders from America have also frozen building in Arab towns and areas! It's essentially a lose-lose situation all around. In regards to outposts - he simply wonders why anyone would want to live in an outpost where your home and family are always under guard and live in fear? Who would want to live like that? He realizes that we all have our share of fanatics and extremists on both sides. However, that would not the life he would choose for himself.

I ask my driver if thinks there are any solutions to our struggle for peace? He answers that perhaps a few years ago there might have been a window of opportunity. Today, the divide seems to be growing wider and wider and he's not so sure if those small opportunities still exist. Then he quoted Yitzchak Rabin, Israel's former Prime Minister, who wondered how long our children will need to walk our streets carrying guns? How many more generations will have to live like this?

We arrived at our destination. The fare was 70 shekels - which is the standard fare. I offered my driver 100 shekels for the extra time he took in answering my questions but he insisted on taking no extra tip! I thanked him and then we both agreed that the best we can wish for is QUIET. If we get peace too we'll take it!

The REAL Israel - Arabs....


I am in Israel for family matters. I thought I would share some of my immediate impressions of the current Arab-Israeli conflict as I see it on the ground today.

I am living in Maaleh Adumim - the first community that was built just outside of Jerusalem on the way to Jericho in 1979 (I think was the year?). This is now a bustling city of perhaps 50,000 (though don't quote me - I haven't checked the latest statistics). It is also one of the city's that pops up every now and then in the news when the USA and the world's political heads decide that Israel should not allow "settlements" or should put a freeze on any more building in the so-called "disputed territories". I lived in Israel in Jerusalem (1976-1991)and in Maaleh Adumim (1991-1998) where I lived until I returned to the States.

Maaleh Adumim is a beautiful CITY - not settlement. It has all the necessary gov't facilities which makes it very convenient when we need to tend to bureaucratic affairs. We used to have to go to Jerusalem and stand in long lines. Today we simply take a bus around the corner and hardly wait very long.

Public transporation in Israel has always been top notch. You can get a bus to wherever you want to go. You can also take a taxi or sherut (shared taxi) for a bit more than a bus if you prefer the door to door service.

Maaleh Adumim is an extremely safe city, as are most cities, towns and just about everywhere in ISRAEL. People are always out walking (yes, I'm finally getting some much needed exercise) and kids are abundant. You will see kids of all ages (from tots and up) hanging out together and walking around with their peers. Families are often seen picnicing on holidays and Shabbat. These are mixed communities - religious and secular of all kinds, as well as mixed ethnicities. All in all it's a wonderful community of people all enjoying this city.

I've noticed a few changes since I was here last in 2007. First of all, I've noticed that people are a lot less pushy. In fact, they're getting downright polite. Okay - I exaggerate. But, yes, they are much more cosmopolitan these days. I'm not sure if it's just because they are tired, exhausted and drained from the endless politics, or if they've simply settled into their own life as Israelis. Whatever it is, it's different then the kind of tension I felt last time.

But let's talk politics for a moment. We all know how things look from the outside - outside of Israel - everywhere else in the world. Arab propagandists are very successful. They are crying loudly about how oppressed and badly treated they are by the terrible monstrous Israeli machine. I have to say that this is a VERY OLD AND WORN OUT STORY ALREADY. This is absolutely NOT TRUE. At least not in ISRAEL.

Perhaps the Arabs are oppressed and badly treated by their own in places like Gaza - and other places where they have some kind of autonomous situation and are governed by themselves. But in Israel they are living quite well.

Throughout Israel you can see Arabs living freely. You can tell them apart because of the way they dress, their head scarves and kaffiyahs. They are are treated in the same hospitals, sit in the same waiting rooms, they are heads of deparments, nurses, doctors, technicians, secretaries and so on. All are trained in their various jobs and professions and are EMPLOYED IN JEWISH ISRAELI INSTITUTIONS.

Seeing the situation "on the ground" I have to admit that I am extremely upset with the way Israel is constantly being portrayed in the world's eye. It is very clear to me that the Arabs are enjoying just about everything that Israel has to offer also to us, the Jews. They are gainfully employed, enjoy the same health care benefits and walk freely here in Israel. It makes me extremely upset that the world chooses to outright ignore the REAL PEACE that exists in Israel. It makes me extremely upset that the ARAB leadership is taking FULL ADVANTAGE of the world's gullibility and apparent comfort in the continued persecution of Jews.

Has anyone stopped to check where in the Arab world are Jews being treated with the same respect and opportunity as the Arabs are treated in Israel?

Come on folks. Stop the noise - the ugly propaganda machine - and let's face reality. Thank GD I am having the chance to live it here.

Israel in April 2010


I'm here. Safe and sound. I had a long journey "home" but in fact it was fairly easy. The first leg of the trip was Boston to NY which found me sitting next to a guy from India, in back of a guy from India - both going to Bombay, and a woman from CA, then later hanging around in line with an Asian going to Hong Kong, more Indians, and a woman going to Jordan. Such is the American melting pot. We all had time to get to know each other while waiting around for the fog in NY to lift. This melting pot of people felt somewhat familiar. Israel has a similar melting pot. The difference, however, is that in Israel we are all Jews - family.

Once in NY, I hurried over to the El Al check-in to the friendly security people who asked me all the usual questions. They hurried me over to security and the gate telling me that they were hoping to get the plane off early! (After all, it's erev chag in Israel and there were a bunch of people trying to get home for the end of Pessach!). Wishful thinking, as it turned out, the plane took off at the scheduled time.

Sitting on the plane, watching the people board, I realized that I was now already "home". It was clear that just about everyone boarding was Israeli, as opposed to tourists. Hebrew was the dominant language. The flight attendants didn't even bother to speak English. There were people of all ethnicities - and moms, dads, grandparents and loads of kids. They all shared one thing - they were Jews going to Israel. There's just something very settling about it all. It was high energy and chaos yet so very calming. Unlike the very well mannered people on the Boston flight, these exhausted, tired and weathered people were my family.

The kids were busy running all over the waiting room in the airport. The scene was like one of those "Where's Waldo" books - or a painting of a Breugal street scene. Maniacal yet somehow organized. Most people were interacting with others - very few on laptops, though cell phones were clearly a favorite!

Boarding the plane the kids were already busy claiming their chosen seats, feeling very free, confident and excited about the whole adventure. A family of 5 sat down near me - mom, dad and three little boys all under the age of 6 yrs. old. I watched the tired parents get the kids settled in. Then the tired dad, holding the youngest of about 2 yrs. gave his son a loving kiss as he settled him into the seat in front of me. Mom handed the baby bottled to Dad and dad shamelessly took a sip to see if the milk was warm enough. It was that loving moment that got me teary eyed. The Israeli dad's are so integral, engaged and involved. I watched the other parents with their babies and youngsters. Not a single parent, tired as they all were, raised their voice to their children. The other passengers were busy shoving their carry-ons into any free space available. Pillows and blankets were already all over the floor. The little girl in my row had already claimed her two seats and was stretched out sleeping, her head on her tired mom's lap, her feet already reaching my behind, which was okay by me. We all settled in and the plane took off.

As I sat on the plane I suddenly realized that I didn't have to think about bomb threats etc. This was El Al and I was with my people.

What a bunch of "shlumperim" we all were. Raggy taggy clothes, our hair dishelveled. Drawn tired faces exposing all the lines of worry, exhaustion and of age. Tired eyes yet still bright with life, wisdom, understanding and experience way past their actual age. You could see the inner beauty past the outer exhaution. The young Israeli "chatichim" and "chatichot" (hotties) doing their own thing. Kids changing into pj's right there in the aisles for all to see. Kids standing on the seats, and even on the arms in nothing but their undies. Personal space? What's that? Yet, there seemed to be more respect and patience than I remember from before. Maybe they're just too tired? There were only a few orthodox Jews this time aroun - the few who took a chance on making it to Israel before "chag".

The flight attendants were mostly young and attractive (in Boston they were older women arond my age). Ahh, then the captain announced that all the food would be kosher for Pessach and wished us a happy Pessach. Indeed the meals were all Glatt kosher and each meal came with two pieces of matzah. It was all really good too!

Anyway, I guess I was pretty tired because after the inital first 2 or so hours, I put on my eye viser (or whatever that's called), my headphones, some music for relaxation and leaned into my neck pillow (a must for plane rides!) and apparently slept for most of the trip. When I awoke I was told we had only 1 1/2 more hours until arrival!

Chana, always a loyal friend to me, met me at the airport. We traveled the old road back to Jerusalem where we picked up Inbal and then went to Maaleh Adumim. I dropped off my suitcase and Chana zipped Inbal and I over to her house for the holiday dinner. YUM - great food and great company. Three of Chana's 4 kids were home, one of Mimi's three and Inbal and I (plus the dog and cat). The conversations were lively - all of us talking at once as usual. Everyone curious about what the heck is going on in America and why do they (or more specifically, Obama) hate Israel so much? What about the Christians, why do they love Israel so much? What about me? What's this trip all about? Am I coming home already???? How can they help me now, and what can they do to help me come home? Finally everyone (but Inbal and I) got tired. Inbal and I walked home (no driving on chag!. Israel in April...

Music has always been a part of my life...

B"H

“If they want to know me, tell them to stroll through my collection. I’m in my collection.” – Isabella Stewart Gardner; Art Collector

Music has always been a part of my life. At age 6 my mother started me on the piano. I continued with recorder and flute until age 14 when I learned to play the guitar. Having had my fill of the Berklee School of Music jazz guitar method, I continued my lessons by listening to and playing along with LP’s of the likes of James Taylor, Paul Simon, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Crosby, Stills & Nash. I was in awe of the amazing open tunings of Mary McCaslin and Joni Mitchell. I also learned a bit of Renaissance music on the recorder.

Beatle-mania of the ‘60’s opened my ears to a new beat that guided my generation all the way to Woodstock. I have fond memories of the post-Woodstock era; hippies, flower power, the feminist movement, and anti-war protests all held important messages of empowerment. Music was at the forefront during those beautifully turbulent times; Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul and Mary were very influential leaders. I grew with the music. I listened to and learned the songs of Santana, Led Zeppelin, and Earth, Wind and Fire. Music was abundant. It was everywhere; it seemed to fill the world.

The ‘70’s provided the mold that formed my identity as a youth. It was a dynamic era that embraced the ideals of the ‘60’s and moved them into the next generation. It was a time when black and white turned into living Color. Freedom moved to Love as we celebrated in Unity and Harmony and rejoiced in the Diversity that was part of our Oneness. We communed together and sang loudly for Peace. Creativity highlighted the goodness of life and, caught in the throng of living passionately, we danced our way into innovative and progressive thought. We were young, old and in the middle – discovering ourselves. We had the Power and we were confident that one person could make a difference and together we could change the world.

I spent my summers traveling. In the summer of ’76, after an initial visit to Israel, and with $400, a tent, a camping stove, and our thumbs, I traveled through Europe with a friend. We had no plans, no schedules, and no idea where we were going. We started in Amsterdam at the “Festival of Fools”, and after two weeks of outrageous clowning, mimes, theater and fabulous music, we decided to go to wherever there were festivals. That summer I felt something I had never felt before. I remember waking up one morning and, sitting outside our little two-person tent, I suddenly understood what it was to feel free. I could do anything or nothing at all; I could go anywhere or nowhere at all. I discovered the whole world opening up to me in celebration. I was free.

Autumn 1976 found me back in Israel where I lived for the next twenty-two years. I learned Hebrew, Torah, Complementary and Alternative Therapies, and about Healing and the abundance of Spirit. I married, raised a family, and played music with musicians from all over the world. I was having the time of my life. I was living music in the Presence of the Divine. Every moment offered inspiration; wonderful harmonies, happy and joyous dissonance, slightly off-key sounding scales… the music felt complete. Life was full, creative, imaginative, multi-layered and multicultural. It sang of joy, sorrow, and yearning, and reached deep into the very core of human experience. It was then that I understood that I had become rich.

At an open house event at the home of Professor Dov Noy in Jerusalem, each guest spoke briefly about themselves, their hopes, dreams and aspirations. My eyes were opened that evening to the world of possibility where hopes and dreams were achieved and became realities.

I’ve never forgotten the excitement of those days. I have walked this earth on a path that has embraced the Divine, though I have not always lived it awake in a conscious and mindful state. It is abundantly clear that living consciously under the loving wings of our Creator is a path to embrace and to follow as best we can. Today I am a Musician, Performing and Healing Artist, and a Spiritual Guide/Lightworker. This is what defines me, keeps me spiritually connected and involved with communities of all kinds. This is the closest path to freedom that I’ve found yet.

http://www.ourstage.com/profile/rahelmusic