By: Harley Rothstein  February 24, 2021
Click Here for Recordings

A few years ago three Beth Israel members asked me to help them learn to lead one or more Shabbat services. To facilitate this I decided to record the services which turned out to be a useful aid in learning. So I kept going until I eventually recorded most Beth Israel Shabbat services as well as the weekday evening service, seven recordings in all.

Each recording contains all the prayers, nusach and melodies needed to chant a particular service, along with commentary by me. I revised the recordings but this was cut short by Covid and there are a very few pronunciation errors that I didn’t have time to fix. These slips with corrections are noted in the Errata chart. I’ve attempted to sing in a middle range to accommodate most voices, but if you find the register a little high try singing along with me as best you can and then try the melodies on your own in the best key for your voice.

I’ve studied with several outstanding cantors and the nusach and melodies presented here are correct according to most accepted standards in the Conservative movement. Nevertheless, these are the services the way I was taught them, and they’re not the only way. After learning the nusach and melodies as they are on the recordings don’t hesitate to make adjustments or add variations as you see fit. I hope you will find leading services to be as meaningful and fulfilling as I have. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further help.

I’d like to express my gratitude to Rabbi Adam Stein for his enthusiasm for this project and for encouraging me to make these recordings available to the Beth Israel community. Thank you to my masterful sound engineer, John Shepp, and to Rochelle Garfinkel who tastefully designed the recordings on the web site. I’d also like to thank a few of my teachers, mentors, and fellow daveners including Ba’alat Tefilah Debby Fenson, Rabbi Jonathan Infeld, Cantor Michael Zoosman, Cantor Marc Dinkin, Rabbi Daniel Siegel, Cantor Ya’akov Orzech, davener Arnold Selwyn, Rabbi Wilfred Solomon, Cantor Murray Nixon z”l, and Reader David Rubin z”l for their inspiration.