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Music in Residence Weekend



Check out Yahala Lachmish's Music Below:

Yedid Nefesh  -  Ma Navu Aley  - Shiru Ladonai

Adon AselihotShalom Lecha Dodi - El Adir - Isn’t She Lovely


Yahala Lachmish Visits Beth El & Temple Israel as Musical Scholar in Residence
by Hazzan Michael Krausman

The Omaha Jewish community is in for an uplifting cultural, spiritual and musical experience during the weekend of December 2-4. Beth El synagogue is so excited to announce that this year's Musical Scholar In Residence will be Yahala Lachmish. According to the website of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, “Yahala Lachmish is a musician, Cantor, Paytanit, [liturgical poet] and Singer. She holds a B.A. in composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and accompanies the Sephardic track of the Ashira Tehilot program for musicians and cantors at the Schechter Institute. Yahala has been performing for 25 years as a solo artist, in various ensembles (such as Tandu and Voca Shabbat) as well as orchestras. She is the musical director and conductor for the National Singing Communities organization in Israel (Kehilot Sharot) and teaches Biblical trop and sessions on Jewish liturgical poems.”

Yahala explained what lead her to become one of the very few Mizrachi (Middle Eastern) Cantors. “My first experience as a Hazzan was quite coincidental. It was a very uplifting experience, and that was when I realized I want to be a part of a community. I joined one straight away, though it took a few years for me to deeply understand and embrace my place as a prayer leader. From the minute I started practicing as a Cantor, it was just a matter of time for everything to fall in place and for other roads to open and merge. Within a few months I found my voice in Mizrachi prayer, and I realized that prayer for me takes many forms – whether in a synagogue or on stage. Ever since I have felt that this is the main road of my journey in life – building bridges between people through love, music and prayer.”

Yahala will participate in services and teach at Beth El on both Friday night, December 2 at 6:00 pm, and Shabbat morning, December 3, at 10:00 am. Additionally, in collaboration with Temple Israel, she will present an extraordinary community Havdalah concert on Saturday at 6:00 pm at Temple Israel. She will also present a class at Temple Israel on Sunday, December 4, at 10:30 am entitled: “Piyutim Around the World”.

Cantor Joanna Alexander of Temple Israel commented, “We are so excited to learn about this musical poetic art form. Piyutim are integral to Jewish Liturgy but are often skipped over in Reform worship, so slowing down to explore their meaning and impact on worship is an amazing learning opportunity.”

When asked about her unique combination of talents and interests, Yahala replied, “Ever since I was a little girl, I have been singing and loving every moment of bringing people together through music. I have also always loved praying and, surprisingly, it took me years to feel the deep connection between both of these worlds – music and prayer. I am very blessed to have that as my calling in life – building bridges between people through love, music and prayer.”

Throughout the weekend, we will be treated to her special insight into the world of Piyutim. Not only will we learn about the origin and content of some of her favorite liturgical poems, but Yahala will also share some Mizrachi and Sephardi melodies, and even teach us songs that we can add to our own traditions.

Piyutim are poetic insertions that come from everywhere Jews live and pray. Some date back to the Middle Ages like Lecha Dodi (Shabbat) and Unitane Tokef (High Holy Days), and some are still being composed as we speak. “Some Piyutim are meant to endure for generations, and some are meant for a specific purpose (e.g., prayers for the people of Ukraine.),” Yahala explains. “This liturgical poetry is composed by authors who are influenced by the disposition of the Jewish community in which they find themselves at the time they are writing. By studying these Piyutim, we can learn a lot about the history and culture of their community of origin.”

For the past three years, Beth El has been privileged to host a Musical Scholar In Residence from Israel. This has been made possible due to the generosity of the Albert and Eleanor Feldman Family Israel Foundation. Past artists have included Feliza and Or Zohar and Yoel Sykes. This year’s version promises to be the most engaging and enlightening yet. Robby Erlich, Beth El’s Engagement Coordinator who has been instrumental in producing this exciting weekend said, “While I was in Israel just a short couple of weeks ago, I was amazed by the ruach and spirit that I felt with music there. I am excited for Yahala to bring that spirit to Beth El!”   

Rabbi Steven Abraham summed up the feelings of all of us who are involved. “I’m extremely excited to have Yahala Lachmish at Beth El to enable our congregants to experience her love and passion for Jewish prayer.”

The entire community is invited to join us for Friday night and Saturday services at Beth El, and the Saturday night concert, and Sunday morning class at Temple Israel. There is no charge to attend any of these events. For more information, please visit our website, www.bethel-omaha.org, or contact me at Hazzankrausman@bethel-omaha.org.

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783