Saturday, July 8, 2017

L'chulam - A Gift of New Songs from my home studio

So what happens to a singer/songwriter in between and after albums have emerged from recordings in the studio?   
My songwriting of original Jewish music has never stopped since the creation of "Let Me Sing My Way into Your Night" in October, 1999 and "Two are Better Than One" in November, 1999.   Each time I went to the studio, there were several songs that were not included in the recordings, but not because they were less favorite or meaningful to me.   I have now created multi-track recordings of many of these songs in my home studio, using the resources I have available for myself.   At some point, other people's voices and instruments may be added.  For right now, here is what I have done on my own.   All of these tracks are posted on and you can find them there, but here they are with brief introductions and explanations.  As always, it is an honor to share these songs with you! 


1) One Voice - created in 2005 as part of a songwriting workshop at Have Nashira led by Craig Taubman, the chorus emerged in response to a request for a sort of Jewish haiku.   The verses were added a few weeks later.   This was intended as a statement of who I am - and it still expresses my sense of self as part of a community. 

2) Lev Tahor (A Pure Heart) - Based on Psalm 51. 

3) Good to Me - This is based on the hopeful message that is contained in Psalm 13, created in February of 2006 to express gratitude for a fruitful 22-year run in Topeka, KS at Temple Beth Sholom.  

4) Eilu V'Eilu-  Jocelyn Segal Tarkoff asked me to come to her Cohen Hillel Academy 3rd Grade class in February 2008 to work on a song that expressed the values of being in a meaningful and productive study partnership.  I wrote the first two verses and the chorus, and the students wrote verse 3 and joined me on the vocals.  This was recorded on my iBook but I still love listening to these wise children add their harmonies.   

5) Turn to Me - Based on Psalm 84, this was a song of reaching out for help and hope.   No one wants to feel alone, the presence of God or supportive friends can guide us through difficult times.  

6) How Good - this was a song created in two stages.  The chorus was premiered at an Interfaith Thanksgiving service in Dover, NH.  The bridge in this song was written for a Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration at the University of New Hampshire.   

7) Remember Us (Ya-aleh V'Yavo) - This song "anglicizes" a prayer recited on the Jewish holidays, and its meaning reaches beyond those special times. 

8) What Peace Is - This was created for the Peace Village of Las Cruces Peace Camp summer program in 2015.    

9) Feel the Blessing - I wanted to write about the Priestly Blessing (May God Bless You and Keep You) but from the perspective of the one giving blessing and the one receiving blessing.    This is what emerged. 

10) House of Prayer - After the shooting at the church in Charleston, South Carolina, I thought about texts that spoke of holy places from the Bible, focusing on the Isaiah Chapter 56 message: "My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all peoples." 

11) Nigun Refuah/Esa Einai - I created this melody during a time of healing for myself in 2005.   The Nigun came first, then I realized that Esa Einai fit the melody.   

12) Asei L'cha Rav - I wrote this to mark the 35th anniversary of my ordination as a rabbi in 2016.  

13) Yosheiv B'Seter Elyon - This song incorporates text from Psalm 91, which is recited at funerals in Jewish tradition and at other times.  I wrote this the day after I wrote Asei L'cha Rav as a response to the attack at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on June 9, 2016.  

14) Or Lay'sharim - This song was created in late January, 2017, as a way of generating a sense of resolve and action to reiterate values that we prize in our society and country - and the world. 
Or Lay'sharim (Light of the Upright)

15) Hak'shivah- Listen to My Prayer - Psalm 16 seeks a sense of God's presence, which can be realized when we are present for each other.   It is about companionship, love and hope.   
Hak'shivah (Listen to My Prayer)

16) L'chulam (For Everyone) - The naming ceremony in the Reform movement's Rabbi's manual includes a reading that was part of my rabbinic ordination service based on a quote by Martin Buber, that each of us is here to fulfill our particularity in the world.   I added to the mix a saying of the rabbis that "there is no one who doesn't have his/her time and no thing that does not have its place."   This was written in honor of the impending birth of a Joshua Moise Karol, born on 6/1/2017, this is for you! 
L'chulam (For Everyone)

17) What it Means to Be Free - originally created in 2013 during the push for new immigration legislation, I broadened the message of the song in 2016, and made it multitrack on 7/4/2017.   
What It Means to be Free

18) Owe It All - In 2007, I asked my students at Temple Israel in Dover, NH to say what they were thankful for and, if they were asking God for strength, for what would they make the request.  In 2017, I added comments about peace from the 2016 Las Cruces Peace Camp staff and campers.   
Owe It All

19) Nashirah (Let Us Sing) - I wrote this song soon after a visit to B'nai Jeshurun in New York City.   It is about how music can lead us to joy, soulful expression, gratitude and love.  I added to the original 2005 recording additional vocals in 2017.  
Nashirah (Let Us Sing)

20) Offerings - I have had the honor of setting to music three of Alden Solovy's liturgical poems that inspired me to create a melody tailor to his words.   This is the song which I have recorded with harmonies, with the other two waiting in the wings.   
Offerings (Words by Alden Solovy, Music by Larry Karol)

There are even more songs than these that can/will be shared.  Please listen and enjoy.   That is why this music is here, whether from me or anyone else. 

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