One Day in Your House: An Interfaith Musical Sukkot Offering

As the trees began to shed their leaves outside, we marked the Jewish festival of Sukkot by building fragile, temporary dwellings. Sitting in the sukkah we wondered what is lasting in our lives: What does it mean to have a place that we can always call home? How might we stay connected to the Eternal as seasons shift and change is all around us?

The Talmud teaches that in the days of the Temple, on the festival of Sukkot, sacred offerings were brought on behalf of all nations for rains of blessing, for a year sustenance. During the holiday of Sukkot in our times, we continue to pray for the wellbeing for all humanity.

The prophet Isaiah proclaims that God’s House will be known as a house of prayer for all peoples. In preparation for Sukkot this year, we gathered a multifaith group of clergy and other spirited singers in our Center City, Philadelphia synagogue to sing a mashup of the psalm that we recite through this season–Psalm 27–with the Christian worship song, “Better is One Day.” Both works explore the idea of dwelling in the house of God.

During the three hours we spent together in song, we also stood in silent prayer in the magnificent sanctuary at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel (that was once a church and is now a synagogue). With the prayers of Yom Kippur still reverberating in the vaulted ceiling, along with the energy of over a century of heartfelt offerings, we reflected on what it feels like to truly dwell in the house of the Eternal One. We know this home to be a space of love, integrity, justice, and awe for all of God’s creation.

We are blessed to belong to an interfaith community that is working to build a more just and welcoming Philadelphia for all who call our city home- regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, economic status, or whether you’ve lived here for 300 years or have just arrived in this country three weeks ago.

May our prayers and voices weave together to draw the Divine presence near. May our actions create communities, in our city and our country, that are spaces of dignity and welcome for all people, places that God would want to call home.

Below, please find the lyrics to the Spontaneous Philadelphia Interfaith Choral Ensemble (S.P.I.C.E.) singing Better Is One Day / Achat Sha’alti (Psalm 27), (original song by Matt Redman, arranged by Josh Ehrlich, with Yosef Goldman).


-Rabbis Yosef Goldman & Annie Lewis


Better Is One Day / Achat Sha’alti

Song by Matt Redman, with lyrics from Psalm 27
Arranged by Josh Ehrlich, with Yosef Goldman
Performed by the “Spontaneous Philadelphia Interfaith Choral Ensemble”
Recorded live at Temple Beth-Zion Beth Israel, Philadelphia, PA


Better is one day in your courts
Better is one day in your house
Better is one day in your courts
Than thousands elsewhere

Achat Sha’alti me’eit Hashem
אַחַת שָׁאַלְתִּי מֵאֵת יְהוָה
One thing I ask from Adonai

Otah avakeish
אוֹתָהּ אֲבַקֵּשׁ
That one thing I seek

Shviti b’veit Adonai kol yemei chayai
שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית יְהוָה כָּל יְמֵי חַיַּי
To dwell in Adonai’s house all the days of my life

My heart and flesh cry out
For You the Living God
Your Spirit’s water to my soul
Lecha amar libi, bakshu fanai
לְךָ אָמַר לִבִּי בַּקְּשׁוּ פָנָי

You seek my heart,
My heart seeks You
Et panecha avakeish
אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ יְהוָה אֲבַקֵּשׁ

I seek Your Presence, Adonai



This piece is republished with permission from

Discover More

Seven Sukkot Themes To Spice Up Your Sukkah

Sukkot is almost here! It’s our week to cram friends and family into the sukkah, whether for short services and ...

Celebrating Sukkot without a Sukkah

How to creatively approach the fall harvest holiday, even if you can't build a hut.

Learning About Judaism Through The Trinity (Yes, That One!)

A big part of my job is working on the interfaith program between my school, The Davis Academy, and a ...