Here goes…

I’ve been in the American Jewish music business for…well, at least a couple of decades.

Along the way, I’ve collected my share of opinions and attitudes and I’ve received my fair share of praise and criticism for combining the secular and Jewish worlds in my life and in my music. I’ve got plenty to say, so if you start then maybe I’ll argue!

I don’t wish to simply use this blog to promote my work, but I do have reason to mention it here. My new CD, “Reach Out” is my pride and joy, accomplishing what I’ve hoped for a long time…to record an original album with messages that underline our obligations, not simply as Jews, but as human beings.

The album is not meant to be Chassidic, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, etc… it’s human and it’s universal. It touches on our relationship to G-d, but it emphasizes our relationship to our fellow man as well as to ourselves. Prayer is fine for those who do, but certain priorities must be in order before those prayers should be expected to have genuine value.

For most people, it’s easier to address those tangible issues that are right in front of us down here on earth, rather than maintaining faith in a greater power that is not directly visible to us. Balancing the two is the great challenge.

Ironically, the aspect of man’s relationship to his fellow man is not addressed in Jewish music as frequently as that with G-d, even though the former is, by all rabbinical authorities of any kind, the most important.

As a lifelong fan and student of hundreds of musical genres outside Jewish categories, I find great use for the many styles of lyrics and music available that can serve the Jewish people in many ways. Many Jewish audiences, however, are reluctant to allow these influences into their lives. Those more open-minded are, unfortunately, part of the minority within the active buying market of Jewish music.

Talk amongst yourselves. Here are some topics. Discuss. No fighting… not yet, anyway.

  • Is it just entertainment, or is there more to it?
  • The rules of Jewish music are always changing…or are they?
  • Should they be?
  • Should there be rules at all?
  • Is there really such a thing as music that is “purely Jewish?”
  • What is the purpose of Jewish music in American life?

Feel free to jump in at any time…

10 thoughts on “Here goes…”

  1. I think that music, all music, is expected to change over the years. That’s because the times are constantly changing. Everything in the world practically, changes as people change. Our great-grandparents most probably did not enjoy the very same stuff we now do. The kinds of music people loved 100 years ago, can’t be expected to be enjoyed by people today. That’s why we need today’s artists to compose music befitting today’s society. And, Gershon Veroba’s doing a fab job at that!

  2. ure song style is perfect, your voice pretty, but… you it’s absolutely not jewish music.
    In France we are less opened, the border between religous and chilonims is very clear.
    You can’t see a real Rabbi speaking with a woomen like Paula abdul (where is the elementary tzinus ??? its incredible!!)

    Im not a bachur yeshiva, i’m a maths student…

  3. Shulom uvrocho

    I have enjoyed your engaging, exciting and edifying music for many years now. From your ingenious parodies of pop standards to your latest and greatest efforts you have utilized your G-d given talents to “reach out” to all types of audiences and with your own special brand of music make a profound “impression” on their lives, inspiring them to face their personal challenges, and then take the resulting growth in character spirit and “turn it around” for all to see and emulate, each according to his/her own madreigah. And despite all the “variations” in our approach to avodas Hashem, the ultimate standard by which we will all be judged is how well we behave “man to man”, as you have so poignantly reminded us in your latest CD.

    Yasher koach for giving klal Yisroel such fantastic music that can bring us to tears and then wipe them away in a flash.

    Ksiva v’chasima tova

    Shanah Tovah uMevoreches


  4. My family having known you Gershon since you were a teenager in my fathers choir at Camp Hili, I think you have done an INCREDIBLE job at making Jewish music pleasurable for all of Klal Yisroel, frum or not.

    My wedding last year was really full of ruach thanks to you and the band and you should continue to be matzliach with everything you do.

    -Pinny Gildin

  5. — I love that album; I love your signing in general — 'with heart and soul'!
    — This is really the definition of Jewish Music — "with heart and soul" such as Klezmer… Whereas Classical Music is 'with heart and one's intellectual mind' well balanced (especially those by Mozart, Bach).

    The question that really needs to be asked: whether or not Music can be determined as Music, without affixing to it adjectives of any kind (Yiddish, Goyish…)?

    The answer is, yes!
    Music is one form of wisdom, very deep and endlessly as apparent through the sound of classical music; by adding to it the Fidlle effect, a spiritual touch, it then turns into Jewish. Thus there is plenty music of Mozart that sound to me Jewish. Classical music is the foundation of what "Music" in general is about, when added to it Jewishness it then becomes Jewish Music — the concept of music at first, and then added to it the Jewish spirit.
    In fact, Classical Music has had a direct influence on Cantorial Music even on those composed by R. Joseph Rosenblatt, Cantorial Music thereby to be viewed as classical with a Jewish flavor to it.
    Goyish music however — music just with heart without involving one's intellectual mind, keeping [the music] cool; resultingly in having bad influences on one's mind, such as Jazz, Rock & Roll…
    Consequently in general, there are three catagories:
    1. Music — heart & intellect (fine music such as Classical, and even music composed by Jean Michael Jarre (when perceived as a complete set of sequences, referring to his Oxygen recordings and etc.) — music as a wisdom)
    2. Jewish Music — heart & (Israelite) soul (fine music as Cantorial or even some Klezmer, music that elevates a Jewish soul to bring him closer to his Creator)
    3. Goyish Music — heart (American "cool" music; Fast-food music: Pop music, "without aiming high", which includes also music by Yanni [I know his music became very popular among the Brooklyn residents for over a decade of years], one with the right mind can detect immediately the impurity of such music by nature).

    Hence, 'Goyish music' is not something that can be open to debate for the following two reasons: 1. The Goyisness is something one should notice himself by one's own inner senses. 2. 'Goyish' and 'Music' don't go together, what's Goyish (/rubbish) can't even be Music!

    Again, me personally, I love your compositions, especially the one bearing the lyrics "Etz Chaim" (of your first Album "Turn it Around") — Marvelous, magnificent!

    Humbly yours,
    Hillel Glueck

  6. Hillel,
    Thanks for the comments. You've done more than you realize, since I've been seriously considering firing up on this blog again and transferring it to my website.
    Plenty to talk about, so I'm looking into making it so.
    Thanks for the comments and the kind words. All the best.

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