Chai Notes – April Bulletin with links


CHAI NOTES from the Director of Music

 In just a few weeks we celebrate the festival of Pesach (Passover). One of the ways that we rejoice in our festivals, is to recite the words of Hallel. Hallel, is a series of Psalms, bookended by two blessings, which we recite during the Shalosh Regalim or Three Festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, as well as during Rosh Chodesh, the celebration of the new month. One text from Hallel, which may be quite familiar, is Pitchu Li. This text from Psalm 118 begins: “Open the gates of righteousness for me that I may enter them and praise Adonai. This is the gateway to Adonai – the righteous shall enter through it.”

Many Jewish composers have chosen to set Pitchu Li to music, including Robbie Solomon, Julie Silver, Josh Nelson and Dan Nichols. Today however, I would like to draw your attention to a new melody by Deborah Sacks Mintz. Sacks Mintz is a composer, singer, guitarist, and rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She collaborates with many rising stars of new Jewish music such as Joey Weisberg, Josh Warshawsky, Elana Arian, Chava Mirel and Shani Ben Or. Her setting of Pitchu Li, which can be heard here:, is a haunting, lyrical and joyous melody. The two contrasting A and B sections highlight the text and the harmony created between the two vocal parts is stunning. To learn more about Deborah Sacks Mintz, and listen to her music, visit her website, To hear her setting of Pitchu Li live, join us for Shabbat Pesach Services on Saturday, April 20 and 7th Day Pesach Services on Friday, April 26th.


Many of you know that I have always had a soft spot in my heart for little kids. As much as I love working with the adults in Koleynu or helping to shape the young minds of my 6th grade class, I absolutely adore teaching tots. For the past few months, I have had the joy of teaching a JBaby music class here at TBI. JBaby is a part of JUF’s Young Families program, whose mission is to bring Jewish education, through books, music and classes to our community. Our JBaby music class is called Wiggles and Giggles, and it is one of three classes offered at TBI through the JBaby program.

In Wiggles and Giggles, we build connections while making music and movement! Parents or Grandparents and children will explore Jewish music by singing, dancing, playing with shakers, instruments, and scarves. This class promotes social, cognitive, and communications skills for your growing tot. This class is best for children, 8-24 months. Our next session begins on Monday, April 1, from 10:00-11:00 am. Sign up at:, or contact me for details.


Joy & Blessings,

Marla Aviva Bentley

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