Saturday, February 14, 2015


Top of the evening to all....

I have been wondering lately as to how a tradition becomes a tradition.  Some customs are around for years, but remain only on a small scale.  Other things become tradition overnight.

One of the wonderful modern traditions is the song 'Oseh Shalom.'  It is sung in most congregations in North America at some point during a service.  Everyone knows it.  People join right in.  The version most people know is by an Israeli songwriter named Nurit Hirsh.  It is the quintessential 'Oseh Shalom.'  Here is a link to it: Nurit Hirsh. 

Nurit Hirsh composed this in 1969. 

Another tune, and my favourite, is by Debbie Friedman.  Here it is: Debbie Friedman.

Debbie Friedman composed this in 1981.

What I do not understand is how one composition became the version that the Children of Israel sang at Mt. Sinai, while another just did not.  With only 12 years between the two compositions, they were composed at the same time in terms of the history of Jewish music.

I prefer Debbie Friedman's version.  It is the one we sang when I was in camp.  When done well, the counterpoint is wonderful.

Happy listening.


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