Jack Gottlieb: Eitz Chayim

Written by Joshua Breitzer


In category: Song of the Day

Published October 7, 2016

Jews liken the oral and written tradition to an ever-living, ever-flourishing source of inspiration. The text of “Eitz Chayim” is always sung when returning the Torah scrolls to the ark, along with a prayer to “renew our days as of old.” The late composer, teacher and scholar Dr. Jack Gottlieb wrote his setting of it for the 1970 New Year’s Service for Young People and dedicated the piece to Cantor Barbara Ostfeld, the first woman to be ordained a cantor. I performed it at the end of my master’s recital in 2010 with the composer in attendance and offer it here at the end of this week, along with my prayer that we all find a sense of renewal in this new year.

“Eitz Chayim” (“Tree of Life”)

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Joshua Breitzer is cantor and music director of Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn. Considered one of his generation’s leading talents, Cantor Breitzer has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Merkin Concert Hall. For the past several years, he has appeared with NYFOS in our annual “A Goyishe Christmas to You!” program, and has coached several NYFOS’s Emerging Artists on Jewish repertoire.


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