From early childhood, I was blessed with family members who provided me an eclectic music education, and learned to love everything including Broadway, classical music, Hasidic melodies, and even pop songs on the radio. As a result, I was elated when I read Samuel Freedman’s recent profile in The New York Times of Rabbi Andy Statman, a klezmer and bluegrass musician whose recent album, “On Brooklyn,” combines his musical sensibilities with his religious passion. Regarding this album, Statman told Freedman that,
- “Being religious…deepened my appreciation of what music can do. It created a sense of responsibility to play the best music I can play, because I see the effect of that music on people.”
When we think about what it means to bridge the gap between Jewish and secular culture, we are not simply asking ourselves how we can enjoy the benefits of the secular world while not losing our Judaism, but we are also asking ourselves how the secular world can provide us avenues to deepen our Judaism, a lesson that Statman exemplifies for us in his most recent album. Happy listening!