When the Night has Come
There is nothing quite like hearing 50 people, together, on a Friday night, come together through song. Ever since I was a little kid, I would find any moment I could to sing to my parents or family friends, even holiday gatherings would become my stage. Music has become such an important part of my life, a creative and artistic respite from a stressful academic life. Being a part of Shabband, singing at services (whether it’s old rabbinic melodies or the occasional mash-up or musical theater song) is the way I express my spirituality.
When I think of all the memories that I hold dear from services or Seders or what have you, I don’t think of prayers that were answered. I think of smiles, of funny jokes, of the occasional niggun. I have never been very comfortable about my personal belief in G-d or what religion means to me; part of that is simply because to me it only means something through community. It’s always funny when I talk to people about being in Shabband and being a part of Kesher, because I have to explain that I don’t go because my beliefs line up perfectly with that of the Reform Community. I go because that is where I feel the most welcomed, that is where my spirituality (or lack thereof) is accepted, and I can sing along whenever I want.
There is really nothing quite like hearing 50 people, together, on a Friday night, come together through song. There is nothing like those spontaneous harmonies, interwoven and intermingling, the constant dance around the root of a chord. That is what makes music exciting. That is what makes singing with 50 other people so exciting. People always swivel their heads towards me when I drop down an octave, surprised by the sudden complexity and development in the music. But those moments where others go into harmonies affects me in the same way. It gives me a rush of excitement and to be perfectly honest, gives me my spirituality in that moment. Song and music themselves are Israel, a struggle with G-d. And when we resolve at the end of every Friday night, we feel just a tiny bit closer to our Nation.
Eliran Oz is a sophomore at New York University studying politics.