Reclaiming Aleinu

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8 Responses

  1. de la costa says:

    i agree with the general tenor. when non-O jews talk about tikkun olam, it will never mean ‘bemalchut sha-dai , but rather some left wing social agenda

  2. YM says:

    Great post.

  3. Bob Miller says:

    This may be an aside, but can’t somebody compose good replacements for the Aleinu tunes typically sung? The beginning is reasonably solemn but “churchy”, the middle (Shehu noteh…) is sing-songy and repetitious, and the last part (Al kein…), is monumentally repetitious and dull.

    Jews have been among the greatest musical minds. Let’s get to work!

  4. Gershon says:

    On behalf of all of those struggling to finish even half of alenu before kaddish, thank you. How can anyone possibly understand the words and still say them so fast?

  5. another Mordechai says:

    Of course your point is extremely important.

    A number of times, I have visited “Fleetwood Synagogue” (in Mount Vernon, NY, when Rabbi Joseph Chait served as its Rav) where (on Shabbos mornings) all of the children would gather on the Bimoh to sing “Aleinu” together – and not just the first part – but the entire content of both paragraphs – and nobody else had to “rush” through it.

    I have often reflected on the fact that these children were being “trained” to recite every word of this prayer, and that if other Shuls would copy this custom – this might be a small step in the right direction.

  6. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “This may be an aside, but can’t somebody compose good replacements for the Aleinu tunes typically sung?”

    Taam V’Reach Ayn L’Hisvakeach 🙂

    But I also think that we first need to ascertain the source of the current Alienu tune; it may have been introduced in America, or it might have a prior source, in which case one can certainly argue for its continued place today. I know one yeshivah which does not use the American Young Israel nussach(not that there is anything wrong with it), yet sings Alienu on Yomim Noraim in that manner until “v’anachnu korim”, so it might even be of European origin.

    The reason I note this, is because I once asked a rosh yeshivah who is a baal tefilah for Neilah, about what to me, was a curiously upbeat tune used by his yeshivah/congregation, and he told me that the yeshivah’s original chazzan heard it from R. Meir Shapiro. I can think of similar examples as well with tunes composed by other European roshei yeshivah(at least in my taste/opinion). So a tune may have an ancient source, even if it would not be one which we would compose to those words.

    Also whether European or American, there might be reason for keeping what people are familiar with. In that vein, the above person also mentioned that while a chazzan can innovate to an extent and introduce certain new melodies during Yomim Noraim, he needs to keep the particular tzibbur’s basic nussach that they are used to.

  7. Arozora says:

    THANK YOU!! Happily, four of the five shuls in which I’ve davenned since moving to the city where I now live actually sing all of aleinu and v’al kayn all the way through. It’s not that hard to learn (not nearly as difficult as anim z’merot, which everybody toils through every week and which defeats even the most determined little kid leading it).

    As to tunes; I’ve been using the tune to the Notre Dame fight song for y’ru et hashem since I lived in South Bend, Indiana, in the mid-80’s – it’s nice and up-tempo…

  8. Steve Brizel says:

    IIRC, at NCSY Shabbatonim, one aspect of every tefilah btzibbur was the recitation out loud of both paragraphs of Aleinu after the point where the well known nusach stops. We also say Aleinu in Musaf for RH to emphasize its importance as it relates to one of the major themes of the day-Malchus HaShem-as opposed to saying it in a hurried manner during the rest of the year.

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