A couple of months ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to take my daughter Sheliya to New York to celebrate her bat mitzvah. She had decided to forgo a party or Kiddush in shul in favor of a mother-daughter trip. We stayed in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with dear family friends. On the morning of her birthday, we had the zechus (merit) to travel to the Ohel (resting place) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, obm. She wrote a pan (pidyon nefesh) outlining her goals and hopes as a newly minted bat mitzvah girl. The pan also includes personal requests for blessings. I was so proud and happy standing by her side in such a holy place, admiring my daughter who had grown from a baby into a lovely young lady in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
Aside from the obvious appeal of a trip to New York – kosher restaurants, Jewish shops, sight-seeing – the trip was especially meaningful for another reason. It was a chance for us to spend some time with Lubavitch women whom I greatly admire and see as role models for both myself and my daughter. Little did I know that we would quickly (on the very day of our arrival) meet an immensely talented female song-writer, singer, and teacher named Sara Hecht. It wasn’t too long before we were privileged to enter her world of music and inspiration.
Our hostess is a close friend of Sara’s and was one of a lucky few to have an advance-copy of Sara’s CD, “Pieces.” The music was soaring through the apartment when we arrived from the airport. My daughter’s immediate reaction was one of joy and curiosity. “Who is this great singer?” she asked. Well we were about to find out in person. After a quick phone call made by our hostess, we were on our way to Sara’s apartment just a few blocks away. She welcomed us inside and we sat around a small table to hear about the work and dedication that was finally bearing fruit with the production and release of her debut CD.
It had been a six-year journey bringing the songs to life and getting them into professional production. Sara had the privilege to work with professional musicians, arrangers, and producers from around the globe. She detailed to us how each of the tracks was recorded and laid down in various studios and how the cover was designed to inspire and uplift. Perhaps the most impressive part was hearing about her dedication to halacha every step of the way and her frequent consulting with others on matters of hashkafa related to her music.
I could see from the expression on my daughter’s face that she was living out a dream - sitting across from a bubbly and talented Jewish singer sharing her artistic life with us. Sara offered to take some pictures with Sheliya and sent her off with an autographed CD. And the fun continued several days later when we were invited back to the release party!
So why, you might be asking, is this appearing on a homeschooling blog? What does this have to do with Judaism and education? Well… absolutely everything.
Jewish wisdom tells us that, “words from the heart enter the heart.” Children are innately attuned to sincerity. There is no better way to communicate and implant the love of Torah and practice of mitzvot than from a pleasant and admired source. This heartfelt, impromptu meeting with Sara provided exposure to a multitude of ideas that I value as a parent: inspiration, determination, financial responsibility, creativity, halachic adherence, business acumen and more. The very fact that Sara had immediately opened her home and heart to total strangers – that she understood the soul of a young girl on the cusp of adulthood – showed my daughter how sincerity and generosity can unexpectedly brighten another person’s day.
From an artistic perspective, the songs on this CD are perfect for girls and women who appreciate musical diversity and lyrical creativity. Guitars and pianos soar behind Sara’s voice as she praises Hashem for His daily divine assistance; extols the bravery and mesirus nefesh (self-sacrifice)of Chana and her seven sons; and recalls a special bus driver in Israel who shared his wisdom along the way.
So what could be a more perfect way to share my love for this woman and her talent than to do a giveaway of her debut CD? Here are the rules:
- Open to U.S. residents only.
- Please go to Sara’s Facebook page and give it a like - https://www.facebook.com/SaraHechtMusic
- Then come back here to my website and leave a comment on this post that you have visited and liked Sara’s page.
- Your like on her page and comment on this post will be your entry into the giveaway.
- The giveaway will last from December 12, 2013 through midnight of December 19, 2013.
- The winner will be selected and posted on Friday, December 20, 2013.
- The winner will receive a copy of Sara’s CD in the mail.