On Tuesday nights, after Maariv services are concluded, Sim Shalom founder Rabbi and Cantor Steven Blane, substitutes his yarmulka for a fedora and preaches music of a smooth spiritual kind. Accompanied by the jazz musician Kevin Hailey on upright bass, Blane on piano and vocals, delivers contemporary bluesy original jazz songs about love, wit and joy at the Beekman Bar and Books Club located in New York City. The duets balanced harmony comes from the soul, the lyrics echo standards with fresh modernity, and the rhythms like life and faith are fluid and improvised.
Rabbi Blane leads a musical online Shabbat Service each Friday night, the liturgical sounds foster a peaceful uplift shared by an interactive global congregation that soars through the computer and mobile devices. The Tuesday live intimate jazz sets at the Bar and Books Club, have no religious association but the celebration of pure musical joy feels equally blessed.
The four jazz sets include songs from the American Songbook, and original compositions and lyrics by Blane who is also a singer- songwriter. Blane shared that an audience favorite is his song ” Coffee” with lyrics “It always understands me, She brings me up when I’m down, The sweet Columbian baby, Kona from Hawaii, Costa Rican , Ethiopian Kenyan,
Jamaican blue, I’m in love with all of you, At night beside, A fire’s glow ” And for any given Tuesday night the listeners at the Beekman room, that attracts an international crowd, felt too, that all was understood, the language of music is an intoxicating blend and warms the heart.
About Sim Shalom and JSLI:
Sim Shalom is an interactive online Jewish Universalist synagogue which is liberal in thought and traditional in liturgy. Created in 2009 by Rabbi Steven Blane on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Sim Shalom offers a means of connecting the unconnected. Rabbi Blane leads accessible and short Kabbalat Shabbat services every Friday night using a virtual interface and additionally Sim Shalom provides online education programs, Jazz concerts, conversion and life-cycle ceremonies along with weeknight services at 7:00PM EST led by Rabbis and students of this online community.
Rabbi Blane is also the Founder and Dean of the Jewish Spiritual Leader’s Institute, a rabbinical school for professionals.
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