Bless the Land With Peace

Recordings of commissioned liturgical works premiered at Park Avenue Synagogue are a major component of the Shapiro Audio Archive. The 40th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel was marked at PAS on April 30, 1988 with the Twelfth Annual Shabbat Morning Liturgical Music Service (in memory of Sarah & Samuel Shapiro, z”l). The service, entitled Bless the Land with Peace, highlighted contemporary compositions that had as their texts Shabbat liturgy with the central themes of Israel and returning to the land.

Siddur Sim Shalom, the prayer book that had been adopted at PAS in 1986, included a revised version of the prayer Tikanta Shabbat, “Lead us to joy in our land.” Cantor Jerome Kopmar was commissioned to write the first musical composition for this version of the text, which – as noted in the April 30th program – is “modeled on the original [text and] includes biblical references to a restored Israel.” Kopmar’s piece is an "antiphonal presentation in Hebrew and English with classical and contemporary musical forms and traditional Cantorial motifs."

Also of note in the service is the music composed by David Nowakowsky (1848-1921) for Tikvatenu, the 1878 poem by Naftali Herz Imber now known as Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem. Nowakowsky's composition, premiered at the 1901 Zionist Conference, had been lost for more than eight decades. In the 1980s, Cantor David Lefkowitz uncovered various handwritten manuscript fragments of the poem in Hebrew and Russian as well as musical fragments of the composition; he then conceived the arrangement premiered at this music service.

Other highlights of the musical service included the premiere of a new work by composer/conductor Abraham Kaplan, Prayer for Peace, and Vay’hi binsoa ha-aron/Ki mi-tzion teitzei Torah, Out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, by Cantor Jacob Lefkowitz.

Click here for listing of compositions
Click here for April 30, 1988 program
Click here for David Nowakowsky's notations
Click here for the translation of Naftali Herz Imber's poem, Hatikvah
Click here for the Hebrew and English text of Tikanta Shabbat


 We hope you enjoy this piece of PAS history!