Twenty First Century Shofar

MyJewishLearning Staff Picks


During the month of Elul, the month before Rosh Hashanah, the shofar is blown every morning at synagogue. The sound of the shofar is meant to wake something in us, to stir us to think about our actions, make resolutions for the year to come, and above all, to repent. The shofar is a primitive instrument, fashioned out of a ram’s horn, and its voice can be very powerful, but many of us also prepare for the High Holidays with more contemporary music. We asked everyone here at the MyJewishLearning to share their favorite songs to listen to during the intense emotional month of Elul. Here’s our list of recommended listening. We hope it makes your High Holiday preparations spiritually fulfilling, and rockin’.

Daniel Septimus, Editor in Chief
Re: Stacks by Bon Iver

The singing in “Stacks” turns my kishkes like no other song from the last couple of years. I don’t have a clue what the lyrics mean, but the end of the song does seem to refer to beginning a process of reinvention: “This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization/It’s the sound of the unlocking and the lift away.” (Oh, and there’s some strange reference to Qumran at the beginning of the song, too, so I guess it’s a totally Jewish song, too.)


Jazon Brzoska, Chief Operating Officer
Mojo Pin by Jeff Buckley
Box of Rain by the Grateful Dead


Meredith Lewis, Senior Editor
Just Dance by Lady Gaga

It might seem ridiculous but my song for this year is “Just Dance,” by Lady Gaga. The song’s lyrics are about just getting forgetting everything and living in the moment. That everything is “gonna be okay.”

It seems totally silly, but sometimes hearing the song makes me pause and just let loose. For those of us that spend the rest of year thinking quite a bit, the High Holidays can actually be a time to focus on the goodness of the New Year, and put our regrets in the past.

As the famous scenes of Meredith and Christina on Grey’s Anatomy prove, sometimes a dance party is needed.


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