When I first started visiting Israel, years ago, and I would attend Shabbat services at Heichal Shlomo, the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, I would hear the prayer for the State of Israel read aloud in an oratorical voice. It would also include the Prayer for the Tzhalal (the Israeli Army). I had never heard Avinu Shebashamayim done musically. About 24 years ago, I decided to compose a melody for this prayer in celebration of Israel’s 40th Anniversary. In my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined that this melody would become such a powerful force within the Jewish community, transcending all denominations and all ages, throughout the entire Jewish world.
When we recite this prayer on Shabbat morning, we pray to Hashem that the leaders of our Jewish state should have the courage & strength to protect our homeland and to keep it secure and free of war. Every time we hear the news about a terrorist act and possibility of a neighboring enemy on the verge, I’m sure we all sigh and say to ourselves….I pray to God that Israel stays safe. When I wrote this piece, I sat at the piano, like I always do, trying to really feel the meaning of the words. I wanted to bring the words to life. I wanted to create an all encompassing spiritual & meaningful experience for the worshipper.
Astonishingly, more than two decades later, I am now getting hundreds of emails (I am not exaggerating….hundreds) from people all over the world, sending me links to the never ending videos and recordings of performances of my Avinu Shebashamayim at celebratory events, Memorials, Family parties, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, Concerts, Israeli Government events, etc. I have also been sent you-tube links to performances by College Accappela groups, Church choirs, Cantors, Jewish Choirs, Entertainers and even Rabbis (Rabbi Wise…we can even do a duet). One of the most unique you-tube videos I saw was of the Moscow Jewish Choir (a fantastic group). You must check this out! A dear friend of mine who recently called me said ‘you must be raking it in on royalties $$$’. My dear friends, I must share with you…. the only royalties I get is through ‘MITZVOT’ and I kvel from one ear to the other. That’s royalty enough for me.
There are two very special videos on you tube of my Avinu Shebashamayim that have gone viral and are spreading like wildfire on the internet, through out the world. The first is a beautiful video of the Chief Cantor of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), Cantor Ltc Shai Abramson, an extremely talented and wonderful young Cantor that I had the pleasure of being in Concert with last year in Tel Aviv. It is an amazing video that makes you feel so much. The Second video is of my Avinu being performed at the Knesset for Yom Hazikaron that just took place. It has a time limit, so I hope that it has not expired. It is with the Yuval Choir and Symphony.
I want to share these videos with you so here they are….. you can either 1) input the below link titles into your web search tab and go on directly….or 2) you can log on to our Shul website (www.hollishillsjc.org) and click on the left side to “Dateline-our monthly newsletter” and scroll down to OUR CANTOR’S VOICE and then go to the bottom of my article and click on the links or 3) you can go directly on to You-tube and search “IDF Cantor singing sol zim’s avinu shebashamaym” and you will see a video titled “The Prayer for the State…” with the same words in Hebrew and you will see a picture of two men both with earphones. The man on the right is the chief Cantor of the IDF. Either way, CHECK IT OUT….
Please click on this link: IDF Cantor singing Sol Zim’s Avinu Shebashamayim
I was recently asked to write a new melody for an “American Idol” type of Cantorial Contest that took place in Israel a short time ago. I wrote a new melody for “SIM SHALOM” which we have been singing at HHJC on a regular basis. Who knows…maybe 20 years from now I will be getting hundreds of emails with videos that have gone viral for recordings of this melody too. I would be just as proud and I would kvel. I am truly touched, honored & extremely proud that my music is spiritually enriching the Jewish world!
See you in Shul.
Cantor Sol Zim