A London chazan has starred in a music video shot in his empty shul during lockdown, about the longing for communal life to return.
Avromi Freilich, chazan of Norrice Lea in Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, performed a version of Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof, with new lyrics written by congregant Malcolm Green.
Following lockdown in March, the community’s synagogues closed their doors. Since the easing of restrictions, Chief Rabbi Mirvis urged caution on their re-opening, citing the risks to more vulnerable shul members.
Speaking about his video, Freilich said: “As a chazan, I pine after shul standing on the bimah, being buoyed along by my community in prayer and of course, in song. So, if we can’t come to shul, I realised that I had to bring shul to the community. Music is a great healer: it lifts spirits and it forges friendships.”
He added, “in a strange way, the idea of shul as the heartbeat of our community has in recent times, been forgotten. But now, ironically whilst disconnected, shul has reverted to a place of prayer, support and song at the centre of the community.”
The idea of rewriting this haunting song, and making a loving film, dedicated to the shul and our community, was ambitious under current circumstances”.
Malcolm Green, writer of the lyrics and maker of the film, said it “was an opportunity to bring our community together through film and music. Avromi’s incredible voice and charisma made this a pleasure to write and film. Watching him and his family do so much to entertain and inspire the community, along with the Rabbi, meant that I was only too pleased to do whatever I could to spread the joy.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.