About Hazzan Harold

As Hazzan* at Beth Am Israel, my driving passion is to help each person find their own spiritual path through music and prayer. I see my role as empowering our congregation to sing out, clap, pray with joy and intention, and be fully present to the moment. What I really cherish since arriving in 2006 is the encouragement I get to try new things with our community — to explore with passion the whole realm of prayer, song and spirit. We’ve created, for instance, adult drum circles, a teen song and prayer-writing workshop, our instrument-infused Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday nights, and a music/prayer lab.” My life’s experiences — as a counselor for teens in Israel and the U.S., playing in rock bands, working as a music therapist and later as an elementary school music teacher — all inform my work here at Beth Am Israel. You will also see the influence of my obsession with puppets, and my penchant for creating YouTube videos (most notably my record-holding “Model Ani Texas Style,” the “Most Viewed Puppet Video of a Morning Prayer”). I have recorded three CDs, including co-producing a collection of Jewish and Gospel music. I live in Merion Station with my wife Kes and our three children, Cole, Jonah and Juliana. I would love to meet you and talk with you about your interest in all things musical, prayerful, or spiritual. *I always liked this Hebrew word, which I discovered means “visionary.” I don’t think I’m a visionary, but I do come with a vision for how a prayer space should look, feel and sound. I work to make that happen every time I lead our prayers.

Hodu! (That is, “Praise” or “Turkey”) This Holiday Season Around a “Crowded Table”

November 26, 2019 2019-11-26T13:48:08-04:00

Yes, it turns out that the Hebrew word for “turkey” and the Hebrew word for “praise”, are in fact, one and the same. Hodu. As in, “Hodu L’Adonai Ki Tov”, [...]

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes.”

August 31, 2018 2018-09-01T13:45:56-04:00

Dear Beth Am'ers, I want to share a song written by Sufjan Stevens, "Chicago".  This glorious version is covered by the female sisterly trio, 'The Staves'. The final refrain of [...]

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