"Far-breng'-en!" and CD Release Party!

Come celebrate the Rebbe ~ Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield, zt"l, of blessed memory ~ and enjoy an evening of music, dance, art, film, poetry, storytelling and much more!

Sunday, March 21st, 5:30 p.m. at:

Havurah Shalom
825 Northwest 18th Ave
Portland, OR

$6 at the door. Kids free! Light dinner and snacks available for purchase

(What's a Farbrengen?)

To benefit the Southwest Community Health Center and P'nai Or of Portland

Sponsored by:
Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield Legacy Trust
Interfaith Council of Greater Portland
Congregations P'nai Or of Portland
and Havurah Shalom

A Jewish Arts Month Event

For more information: (503) 679-7978

On the evening of March 21st we are hosting a joyous, multimedia celebration of the arts, called a Farbrengen to honor Reb Aryehs birthday and benefit the Southwest Community Health Center (a safety net clinic) and Pnai Or. This is a Jewish Arts Month event that is open to all. Please see the attached announcement and flyer for details and co-sponsors.

The Hirschfield Meshuggeneh Man Band by Helen Tevlin

Helen Tevlin is one of the exquisite artists who will be displaying at the Farbrengen ~ art to delight and tickle our souls and the neshamah of our beloved Reb Aryeh zt"l.

Quotes from Farbrengen planners, performers, and artists:

Said Dr. Harriet Cooke (member of Congregation P’nai Or):

“I’m delighted to be one of the planners of this incredible event. A Farbrengen is a traditional celebration of the teacher, the Rebbe in yiddish, often planned around joyous occasions such as weddings, birthdays, and the birth of children. Our Farbrengen to honor Rabbi Aryeh, his memory is a blessing, is slated for the spring Equinox, March 21, and we’ll be celebrating the Rebbe’s birthday. It is our tradition at such joyous occasions to give Tzedakah (from the Hebrew word Tzedek meaning “justice”). We will honor Reb Aryeh zt”l by making this celebration a benefit for a cause close to his heart-- the Southwest Community Health Center (SWCHC). The SWCHC is a safetynet clinic for the medically needy and uninsured in southwest Portland where there is much hidden poverty. The SWCHC is unique in that it has gathered the many different faith communities surrounding it into an intertfaith council to help support it financially. This area of Portland happens to have the largest communities of Jews and Muslims living together. The SWCHC combines two of Rabbi Aryeh’s important values: seeing and being responsible for the disenfranchised people of our society and interfaith communities working together for tikkun olam, repair of the world.”

Said Lynn Taylor, president of P’nai Or:

“Rabbi Aryeh, may his memory be for a blessing, with his charismatic personality, humor, depth of spirit, and love of music, drew to him and his Jewish Renewal Congregation P’nai Or such talent in the arts-- musicians, composers, dancers, writers, storytellers, poets, actors, filmmakers, and artists of silk, clay, papercut to name a few. This is not surprising. And one of the amazing qualities of our beloved founding Rabbi is how he encouraged, inspired, and directed “the closet creatives” in so many of us. He encouraged us all to bring forth our gifts and connect our creativity to our spiritual Selves and “serve the Holy One with joy.”

What better way to celebrate our founding Rebbe than to delight his soul and our souls with our creativity. With appreciation and gratitude to Reb Aryeh zt”l for his enduring inspiration and influence on our lives, we say ‘All who are hungry, let them come feast!’ at this joyous, multi-media Celebration of the Arts.”

Said Joanie Levine, dancer, visual artist and planner for the Farbrengen:

“I was first attracted to P’nai Or because of the wonderful music that Rabbi Aryeh imbued in our services and all the musicians and singers that seemed to come out of the woodwork to join our congregation and deepen the beauty of our worship. Rabbi Aryeh’s services rocked! He touched our souls deeply and sparked our own creative genius. And Rabbi Aryeh’s legacy is that P’nai Or continues to rock with incredibly beautiful music and talent of all kinds.”

Said Skye Pelicrow of Berkley, Ca. (filmmaker, actor, and producer speaking for the Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield Trust):

“We are happy to announce the release of Reb Aryeh’s long-awaited 20th Anniversary, Digitally Re-mastered Double CD, “Wings of Peace & As the Deer Yearns” which includes his world-renowned composition, Wings of Peace. You’ll hear this new CD at the Farbrengen and will be able to purchase it, as well as Reb Aryeh’s entire music collection: “Let the Healing Begin,” a reconciliation concert recorded in Freiburg, Germany; “Batee L’ganee~I’ve Entered My Garden,” love songs from Song of Songs and inspirational songs from the book of Isaiah; and the DVD, “Reb Aryeh, A Tribute in Music and Images” with a soundtrack of Reb Aryeh singing five of his most beloved songs. And for you to be ready for Passover, Reb Aryeh’s Passover Haggadah– “Sulam Hahayrut: The Ladder to Freedom” will also be available.

Said Cathy Zheutlin, film-maker and Farbrengen planner, about some highlights of the program for the evening:

“You will be able to enjoy light dinner foods and wine while purveying art displays by incredibly talented artists connected to Reb Aryeh and Pnai Or, listening to Rabbi Aryeh’s music and having a chance to purchase Rabbi Aryeh’s CDs and other materials. Then Dr. Rick Kirschner, best-selling author and longtime Ashland friend of Reb Aryeh’s, as master of ceremonies, will start our program.

Through Skype, we’ll be honored by the presence and teaching, G-d willing, of the brilliant and world renowned spiritual teacher and wisdom-keeper, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Hailing from the Jewish shtetl life of old Europe, he is the father of the life-giving creative movement in this country called Jewish Renewal which has sparked life back into the Jewish community since the Holocaust. Reb Zalman who ordained Rabbi Aryeh 25 years ago, with that twinkle in his eyes, said of Rabbi Aryeh, “his music lifts the soul in prayer and turns the spirit to prophecy. In the tradition of hazzan-cantor-visionary-shtetl musician, Aryeh entertains the spirit as well as the mind."

A most special centerpiece to the occasion will be the playing of the yet unreleased and incredibly beautiful soulful music, the CD “Urah… Awaken!” recorded by Rabbi Aryeh in studio between 2006-2008.

Here are a few highlights of the evening: There will be offerings by Rabbi Aryeh’s spirited Choir, the P’nai Or Zingers, led by Bruce Morris and the Chant group, led by amazing vocalist Linda Zahavi. Eric Stern, the Northwest's own premiere operatic tenor, accordionist, pianist, and composer of Vagabond Opera, will entertain us with his cabaret-style, eclectic HotJazz/Klezmer-based melodies. Cantorial soloist and improvisational comedian, Debra Elliot, will be backed by guitarist Michael Sasnow. Rivkah Coburn, Jewish educator and teacher of Tree of Life Yoga, and Joanie Levine, visual artist and dancer, will be two of the dance performers. Bruce Morris, lay cantor for P’nai Or and bassist for the Oregon Filberts, accompanies his wife. Cassandra Sagan, poet, author and Interplay teacher, with her humorous vocals as she plays the ukelele. Devorah Spellman will enchant us with her storytelling. Harpists Michael Sasnow and David Helfand, performing harp duos, will give us some beautiful reflective moments.”

Said silk artist, Diane Fredgant, who will be displaying her artwork inspired by Reb Aryeh at the Farbrengen:

“I saw visions when Rabbi Aryeh sang. It was the tonal quality of his voice, the light in his eyes, the way he knew how to create sacred space and hold the energy in a room full of people, the way he cared so deeply. He was my spiritual teacher.”

Said Lieba Swartz-Brownstein, sophomore at Grant High School and P’nai Or teen:

“We hope to make a lot of money for the free clinic (SWCHC) and have a wonderful, enchanting evening. My twin brother Ilan will be performing on guitar with vocalists Elisha and Dov Hirschfield. I hope you won’t miss it. Hope you’ll be there for this celebration of our beloved teacher, Rabbi, and friend.”

Said Milt Markewitz, former president of P’nai Or and co-planner of Farbrengen:

“P’nai Or is a story of legacy, gratitude, resilience and celebration. Reb Aryeh discerned life as a blessing even in the most troubling of situations. He developed our individual and collective resilience with his teaching, the organizing of a choir and chant group, lay leadership for our prayer services, workshops and a group to aid the dying and Jewish ritual after death, and organizing the Congregation as relational community. Underlying the seriousness, there was always time for laughter and humor -- an ongoing celebration of life."

Said musician Lev Koszegi:

"The instrument I'll be playing is called a saz, which is a Turkish long-necked lute with moveable frets. I'll be accompanied with percussion by my wife Gayle Koszegi. As for the song I'd like to perform, it's called Ezleinu Bikfar Todra (In the Village of Todra) by Shlomo Bar. It tells of Jewish life in a Moroccan village in the heart of the Atlas mountains, south of Rabat where he was born, back before the founding of the state of Israel. When a boy reached 5 years old, the song relates, they would put a crown of flowers on his head, throw a big party for him, and take him down to the synagogue where they had written all the letters of the aleph bet onto a wooden board using honey. There he would lick the letters off the board, so the Torah would be as sweet as honey in his mouth."

Here's a nice video of the song, by the way:

Said Lyssa Tal Anolik, writer:

"In 2001, when I was new to P'nai Or, I worked with Reb Aryeh zt'l on the Tu B'Shvat seder planning committee. Knowing that I was a writer, he asked me to create a candle lighting blessing specifically for the holiday. I'd never written a blessing before, but he believed in me and suggested I tap into my inner listening and knowing. I was surprised at how easily the words came when I closed my eyes and got out of my own way.

A few years later, I began studying with Reb Aryeh for my adult Bat mitzvah. As we worked, he helped me connect with G-d through the act of discovering story—struggling with the Biblical characters and archetypes and connecting them with my own life history. We spent much of our time together working on my drash. Each time I showed him a new draft he said, “That's good. You're going deep. But can you go even deeper?” After my Bat mitzvah, Reb Aryeh encouraged me to continue writing drash to share with the community; he always pushed me to delve and discover more than I knew I could.

I wanted to bring this process of journeying with Jewish themes in a creative way more experientially into our community. Two years ago, Harriet Cooke and I co-founded the P'nai Or Writers group. Reb Aryeh was thrilled with the idea and encouraged us to write drash and liturgical pieces to contribute to services and holidays. Now, at each of our monthly meetings, as we put pen to paper and enter the mystery of creation through the portal of a biblical prompt, I hear Reb Aryeh's voice encouraging me to go deeper, and I know that we are not alone."

Brief Biographies:

Dr. Rick Kirschner, Master of Ceremonies

Dr. Rick Kirschner is a bestselling author, speaker and coach on change, communication and conflict resolution. http://theartofchange.com

Deborah Elliot, performer:

Deborah Elliott is an eclectic vocalist who has studied and performed sacred music for the past 16 years. After moving to Ashland in 1990, she co-founded the A Cappella Women’s Chorus at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is a founding member of The Hamazons, an all-women comedy improv troupe based in southern Oregon. While a member of Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland, she served as cantorial soloist, among other things. She is now an active member of P’nai Or of Portland.

Art by Helen Tevlin: