We preserve sacred Judaic music by fostering newly commissioned works & performances rooted in Judaism's diverse traditions.
In 2014 Professor Robert H. Freilich founded the Judaic Sacred Music Foundation and merged his love of Jewish High Holy Day music and classical music. The Foundation commissioned Dr. Steven P. Rothstein, a composer with a Ph.D. in Classical Music Composition from UCLA, to compose the Judaic Symphony. Together Dr. Rothstein and Dr. Freilich engaged in in-depth research identifying synagogue - temple music and motifs of the 18th-20th centuries.
The Judaic Sacred Music Foundation is based in Los Angeles, California, and is certified by the Internal Revenue Service and the State of California as a 501(c)(3) charitable tax-exempt organization.
Jewish music stirs the soul, and the Jewish Sacred Music Foundation is the only organization that seeks to preserve sacred Jewish music by commissioning works and performances rooted in Judaism's diverse tradition.
This symphonic work is in four movements. Each movement contains original musical material based on the traditional Jewish New Year services (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) of the 18th, 19th, and 20th century Eastern European synagogues.
These melodies embody prayers and hymns derived from the Bible, Talmud, and Mahzor written between the 5th and 6th centuries, which made the synagogue on these Days of Awe a treasure house where the national and religious genius of Israel was embodied.
The primary goal in creating this symphony was to capture that deep, emotional, and creative aura that imbued the heightened sense of personal relationship between the Jewish people and God.
Days of Awe recording session in Bratislava, Slovakia, October 29, 2017.
Composed in traditional Sonata Allegro form (Exposition, Development, Recapitulation), this movement centers on themes and concepts of the “call to worship” in both the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.
After a short introduction stating the Chatzi Kaddish melody, the movement introduces several High Holy Day themes:
Open the gates of heaven to our prayer
Call to Worship
Remember us to life, O God, who delights in life
B’rosh Hashanah Yikateivun
On Rosh Hashanah human destiny
is inscribed and on Yom Kippur it is sealed
In the center of the movement Sh’ma Yisrael reaffirms the monotheistic basis of Judaism -- Hear O Israel, God is One.
Other themes and motives are incorporated, as well as the sound of the Shofar (Ram’s horn) evoking a sense of emotional urgency associated with the desire to be renewed in the Book of Life -- a central theme of the Jewish New Year.
Movement I: Andante Espressivo
This movement is composed in three main sections with elements of a rondo form (recurring theme) incorporated. All the melodic material employed is based on prayers and hymns of “Hallel” (Praise).
Ki Anu Amecha
We are God’s People, God is our Lord
The central Chassidic melody recurs throughout the movement and is
juxtaposed with several prayers and hymns.
God, our Lord, mighty forever
He who answers us
The Lord forgives
Melech Al Kol Ha-aretz
King who sanctifies Israel and the Day of Atonement
Lord of the World
The living God
Movement II: Moderato Con Anima
This slow, contemplative movement employs the form of a double variation. The A theme is taken from the Kol Nidre prayer which is chanted at the beginning of Yom Kippur services, and the B theme is taken from the Grand Aleinu in which the cantor and congregants prostrates themselves before the Holy Ark. Variations of these two themes are explored along with shifting keys and changing textures Many solo instruments are featured to help create intimate statements of each melody including flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, trumpet, harp, and violin.
All vows and oaths we make to G-d from this Yom Kippur until the next,
It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to exalt the Creator of the
The movement concludes with the still, small sound of the shofar
sounded in the oboe.
Movement III: Adagio non troppo - piano version
This fast, exciting, and spirited final movement juxtaposes three different melodic settings of the central prayer Avinu Malkeinu - one hassidic, one traditional, and one reform. The Kaddish and various shofar fanfares are also incorporated.
Our Father, our King, be gracious to us and answer us.
Glorified and sanctified is G-d’s great name.
Shofar (Tekiah Gedolah)
The final, long shofar call signifying the end of Yom Kippur.
On December 15, 2018 the Riverside Philharmonic lead by Conductor Tomasz Golka performed Variations on Ki Anu Amecha, the second movement from Symphony No: 1 JUDAICA (Days of Awe).
Professor Robert H. Freilich has been fascinated by the High Holy Days liturgy days since his youth in New York City. His father Julius Freilich sang in the choir of world-famous Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt on the lower East Side from 1912-1924 and later graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1925. Professor Freilich has been a devotee of classical music his entire life. He merged his love of Jewish High Holy Day music and classical music when he founded the Judaic Sacred Music Foundation in 2014 to commission a composer to write a Judaic Symphony based on historic High Holy Day synagogue melodies.
The Foundation commissioned Dr. Steven P. Rothstein, a composer with a Ph.D. in Classical Music Composition from UCLA, to compose the Judaic Symphony.
Dr. Rothstein and Dr. Freilich have done in-depth research identifying the synagogue and temple music and motifs of the 18th-20th centuries.
Robert H. Freilich, Founder and President
Professor Robert H. Freilich has been fascinated with the High Holy Days liturgy and music since his youth in New York City.
As a teen, his father Julius Freilich sang in the choir of world-famous Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt on the lower East Side from 1912-1924 and later graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1925.
Steven Rothstein, Ph. D., Artistic Director
Steve Rothstein, Ph.D. is active as a composer and music instructor in the Los Angeles area. He received his Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of California, Los Angeles (2006). Mr. Rothstein has written numerous works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, wind ensemble, choral groups, as well as art songs. His works have been performed by The American Youth Symphony, the UCLA Philharmonic, the UC Irvine Symphony, the Redlands Symphony, and the New York Master Chorale. In 2008 his oratorio Hymn of Light received its international premiere in China.
Jerry Krautman, Director of Development
Jerry is a resourceful, energetic, hands-on professional with over 20 years of fundraising, administrative, management, and marketing expertise with Israeli and Jewish nonprofit organizations.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Journalism from the University of Northern Colorado and his Master of Business Administration from the American Jewish University.