I am honored and blessed that “Heal Us Now” was chosen from among so many wonderful and inspiring possible pieces of music to be sung by the HaZamir alumni at this historic 25thAnniversary Gala Concert. Originally written as a humble, heart-felt prayer for healing inspired by both the desire for personal, physical, emotional and spiritual healing of family and friends, as well as the hope for national healing between Israel and her neighbors, “Heal Us Now” has grown in significance for people all over this country and around the world. In addition to being sung weekly by many cantors and synagogue choirs, it is sung by community choirs, high school and church choirs, and I was honored to lead the United States Congress in singing this prayer at a Healing Service after the January 2011 shooting in Arizona of then- Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and 18 others. But my latest, greatest moment of gratitude and pride in “Heal Us Now” is that it is being sung today by the alumni of HaZamir. Zamru achim! Zamru!
I have grown up in an observant Conservative family, and before I was in eighth grade at my first HaZamir Festival, I had never been to a Reform service. A strong memory I have is feeling so happy and warm while singing a familiar tune I had heard multiple time before. The song that everyone was singing and even crying to, was “Heal Us Now.” I will never forget this experience and this amazing memory I have from my first Festival.
HaZamir North Jersey
Although I never sang “Heal Us Now” in a performance, it has been an important part of my HaZamir experience. “Heal Us Now” was one of the few songs that an alum of my chapter knew how to play on piano, so she played it at nearly every chapter rehearsal for the past few years. This past summer, I went to NAJCF. After our performance the first night, five friends and I stood around a piano late at night and sang “Heal Us Now.” Moments like that one truly encompass how HaZamir supports us all and allows us to be a part of something.
Alumnus, HaZamir Bergen County; Conductor, HaZamir Westchester
Though my time as a HaZamirnik has passed, my involvement with HaZamir certainly has not. After graduating high school, I would go on to pursue a degree in Music Education from William Paterson University in New Jersey, with a major in Classical Saxophone and a minor in Classical Voice. My choice in career was inspired directly by Vivian, though she wouldn’t have known at the time that her passing comment would shape the trajectory of the rest of my life.
Parent, HaZamir South Jersey
The first time I heard “Heal us Now” was at a HaZamir concert in Baltimore. I instantly loved the song! It was then that I learned for the first time that Cantor Leon Sher, our conductor from HaZamir South Jersey, wrote this amazing song and many others. The following year was my first year as the parent coordinator of HaZamir South Jersey. It was also a very challenging year medically for my family. “Heal Us Now” took on a special meaning for me and truly became a song of comfort.
After losing my mom suddenly in August of 2016, I didn’t want to sing, and I was afraid to open up music again without her by my side. I went to a HaZamir rehearsal one month after her passing and Erika had the choir sing “Heal Us Now” to me and my family. I felt so loved and supported, and at that moment, I realized that when I sang I could still be with her and connect with her.