First, there's been the travel. Between my time with Machane Jehudah camp in June and my trip to Cincinnati last month, Ive been kept pretty busy. Coming up in a little over a week is my first of seven visits to Temple Chai in Phoenix, where I will share in the sweetness of Shabbat. And in less than a month, I head back to B'nai Jehudah near Kansas City, where I will help to usher in the New Year. Since June of 2013, I have been on a airplane as many times as I had been in the previous twenty years. Talk about measuring how a life can change!
In addition, I have been invited to submit proposals for two special Jewish learning festivals. LIMMUD is an international program that schedules days of learning in Jewish communities around the world. Two of the biggest are Chicago (November 2014) and Miami (February 2015). I am submitting proposals for both and hope to be accepted. Limmud festivals are volunteer-run, and most cities are unable to pay presenters (though a few cities can assist somewhat with travel costs for those coming from far away). Limmud is a great way to spread the love of Jewish learning for as many people to experience as possible. I am hopeful that I might be able to bring my music to a Limmud festival in the coming months.
Finally, I continue to write songs and two projects are now in the creative stages.
The first is a collection of children's songs that I've written over the years. I haven;t talked much about children's music here, because I don't have kids and because my experiences teaching music to younger kids in Jewish settings has been limited. But along the way I've written some songs and folks seem to like them a lot. So at some point I hope to create a recording of the best songs and make it available to families and schools. I am working on a couple more songs for this collection but most of it is already written. The collection will be called The Pavement Shines and I hope to record it by late next spring.
The second project is a third collection of adult contemporary Jewish music. While some of the songs are in English, I am also working on some new settings of Hebrew liturgy that can be used in synagogue or home worship. This collection will take longer to compile since I am still writing songs for it. I am not setting a date goal for this collection as yet, but stay tuned for details as they emerge.
In both cases, I plan to record at The Map Room Studios in Southeast Portland. I had such a great experience recording Ten Miles there and want to work with Josh again.
So as you can see, I've got an action-packed year coming up! As always when time permits I will schedule some coffeehouse shows or perhaps try to put together a Beit Cafe sort of thing at the Mittelman JCC in Portland. If there's a Jewish venue you'd like to see me at, help us connect with each other and let's get the ball rolling!
The month of Elul begins next week, a month of contemplation, reflection and prayer, and of making things right with the people in our lives -- all in advance of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I will probably step away from blogging so much during Elul and focus more on what's right in front of me. But rest assured that I will keep doing what I'm doing, for you and for whomever else may discover my music. Thanks to all of you for your support and enthusiasm. If you are planning to pause and reflect in Elul, may your preparations send you into the New Year with your feet on a good path.