Jake started singing at the age of 5 and went on to sing in competitive small ensembles and choirs.They studied as a soloist, (with Bill Reed, Chuck Schneider, Lauri Young, and Amy Williams), from the age of 15 and majored in Musical Theatre Performance, (with a double minor in Psychopathology and Classical Literature), at Wagner College in NYC. They played clarinet in the VYO (Vermont Youth Orchestra) for several years and later picked up Piano and Guitar. Jake is the Tenor section leader in the world renowned Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir under the direction of Roi Azoulay. Jake also leads First Friday services at Temple. Jake is the front man and songwriter for the band Lakes of Canada. Jake has been teaching privately for twelve years and is the head of music at Camp Yavneh in New Hampshire. They won a Juno award for album of the year and a Grammy Award for Rock Performance of the Year for their work on Leonard Cohen’s “You Want it Darker”.
Oseh Shalom is our tradition’s stunning one sentence prayer for peace. Here is a beautiful recording of Yoel Sykes’ Oseh Shalom, performed by Jake Smith.
Here are the words, so you can follow along:
Oseh shalom bimromav,
Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu
V’al kol Yisrael
V’al kol yoshvei teiveil
May the One who make peace in the high heavens make peace for us, all Israel and all who inhabit the earth. And let us say, Amen.
Here is a Yehuda Amichai poem that is also a prayer for peace.
My child wafts peace.
When I lean over him,
It is not just the smell of soap.
All the people were children wafting peace.
(And in the whole land, not even one
Millstone remained that still turned).
Oh, the land torn like clothes
That can’t be mended.
Hard, lonely fathers even in the cave of the Makhpela*
My child wafts peace.
His mother’s womb promised him
What God cannot
* The traditional burial place in Hebron of Abraham and the other Patriarchs and Matriarchs of Israel.
Translated by Benjamin and Barbara Harshav
Jake Smith offers us this beautiful rendition of Craig Taubman’s Hashkiveinu.
Rabbi Hara Person describes the Hashkiveinu prayer as the prayer that envisions God as a guide and shelter during the night ahead and praises God for watching over us, delivering us, and being merciful.
There’s something profoundly comforting about the basic human terms in which this prayer speaks. Some prayers focus on lofty themes that can feel removed from our daily lives, but Hashkiveinu gives voice to our deepest fears. We ask for God to watch over us and guard us as we sleep, enabling us to rest peacefully and wake up again in the morning restored to life. It doesn’t get much more primal than that.
To read the rest of Rabbi Person’s words, click here.
Ushmor tzeiteinu uvo-einu
mei-atah v’ad olam
Grant, O God, that we lie down in peace,
And raise us up, our Guardian, to life renewed.
Guard or going and coming,
to life and to peace,
This week, Jake Smith offers us a beautiful rendition of the Passover song V’hi She-amda. The music is by Yonatan Razel. The message of this song is that in every generation, enemies have sought to destroy the Jewish people and in every generation, heroes have risen up to take a stand and take risks to ensure our survival as a people.