I recently had the opportunity to bring in Shabbat with the good people of the Kerrville Folk Festival and let me tell you and it was awesome.
Rabbi-Cantor Robbi Sherwin of Sababa was scheduled to co-lead the service with Rabbi Kerry Baker (of www.everybodyneedsarabbi.com). Unfortunately she wasn’t able to make it and I had the opportunity to fill in for her, which was incredibly kind. We jumped at the chance to bring in Shabbat at the folk festival so April and I decided to turn it into a family trip! We all headed off for Kerrville and hit another incredible opportunity when holy brother and incredi-mensch, J. Platt Dutremaine, told me he was up in Austin. One thing led to another and his family joined ours for a Shabbat in the Texas Hill Country.
When we got to the festival, we gathered at Chapel Hill and celebrated Shabbat with those who walked up from the various camps around the festival grounds. People from all over gathered for prayer, song, community, and Torah. Any opportunity to pray with people you haven’t met before is one you should not pass up. When we gathered around the Torah, most of us were strangers to each other. We sang a new niggun together and then, through Torah and song, we had much in common. We listened to each other’s voices and despite where we were headed afterwards, we were together then. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been there with so many.
Later that night, around a huge fire pit, we all ate some crazy-good Oreo cheesecake and talked Torah under the stars. On Sunday morning before heading back home, James joined me on a new version of Mah Tovu. Now, for those who may not know, “Mah Tovu” comes from a figure named Balaam who was sent to curse the Isrealites by King Balak of Moab. Balaam goes to the where they are camped and when he opens his mouth to curse them, only praise comes out. I wanted to find a melody that sounded like praise just tumbling out. This was the result. Hope y’all like it!
If you haven’t gotten a copy of the album yet, you can check it out on iTunes, Spotify, and just about anywhere else – including our store. Have a great week and be well. More to come!