Isaiah 58 + Sounds of Silence

IsaiahFrom Rabbi David Markus comes Isaiah 58 (from the haftarah reading  that tradition assigns to Yom Kippur morning) interlaced with lyrics from Simon & Garfunkel, set to haftarah trope.

Released last year, this haftarah setting was used in several different synagogues of different denominational (and non-denominational) affiliations.

After the holidays last year, one davener wrote, “I especially loved the use of Paul Simon’s Sounds of Silence.” Another told us, “The renewed haftarah was meaningful, surprising, and deep.” 

May its use enliven your Yom Kippur.


YK a.m. haftarah – Isaiah + Sounds of Silence [high-resolution pdf]

Two poems for Rosh Hashanah Day 2

finchFrom Rabbi David Markus comes this setting of two poems in haftarah trope, intended for the second morning of Rosh Hashanah.

The first is Mary Oliver’s “Invitation,” with its poignant reminder to pay attention and to be ready to change one’s life. The second is Stanley Kunitz’s “The Layers,” which offers a lens on teshuvah with the motif of turning, and ends “I am not done with my changes.” Continue reading “Two poems for Rosh Hashanah Day 2”

Chanah in poetry and trope

honeyThis poem by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat and Rabbi David Markus is a renewing of the traditional haftarah for the first day of Rosh Hashanah. (This is a collaborative updating of a poem that R’ Rachel released some years ago.) The poem tells the story of Chanah in contemporary, singable English. Its closing words about yearning and grace aim to bring the haftarah’s spiritual message home.

To download in high-resolution: click here – Chanah poem with trope [pdf]

Nevertheless She Persisted

unnamedby Rabbi David Markus
This trope mash-up of Esther and the 2/7/2017 Congressional Record (“nevertheless she persisted” silencing of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren) commemorates Purim and Women’s History Month at a time when society especially needs brave truth tellers to hold back the tide of hate.

Purim affirms Esther’s stand against official silencing, abuse of power, misogyny and anti-Semitism. At first an outsider, Queen Esther used her insider power to reveal and thwart official hatred that threatened Jewish life and safety. We celebrate one woman’s courageous cunning to right grievous wrongs within corrupt systems.

The archetype of heroic woman standing against hatred continues to call out every society still wrestling with official misogyny, power abuses and silencing. For every official silencing and every threat to equality and freedom, may we all live the lesson of Esther and all who stand in her shoes: “Nevertheless, she persisted.”