Friday, July 25, 2008
I aim to keep it still focused on what I am all about, and that is the simple goal of praising His name and spreading the good news of His Word. I hope those who stumble on this page will also gain something from the links and other info.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
"In Israel, a resurgence in the number of Jews who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) is getting a lot of attention. Many leaders say it's the strongest growth since the time of Jesus and that the Messianic movement could be on the brink of a great revival.
"This is the first time where we've seen Israeli society in general being so open to consider who Yeshua is," said Messianic leader Asher Intrater. "This is a real miracle, and there's beginning to be grace and favor with us in the land."
An American Christian divinity scholar who is participating in an Australian Jewish study program has said the Jewish community may need to come to terms with Jews who believe in Jesus.Professor Amy-Jill Levine trains Christian pastors at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and describes herself as “a Yankee-Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Protestant divinity school in the buckle of the Bible belt”.
Prof Levine and her partner Professor Jay Geller are lecturing at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation Winter School program this month.
On the subject of messianic Jews, Prof Levine said that for many people there was a “dividing line here over which one cannot step” and “once the Jewish person accepts Jesus as lord and saviour, that person is no longer a Jew, but a Christian”.
Prof Levine said she respected that view but also looked at the subject from “the other side”.
Prof Levine said it was an “exceptionally complicated issue” because Jews who say they accept Jesus have “palpable and real” views.
“It’s often easier,” she said, “to simply say ‘I’m not a Jew for Jesus, I’m a Presbyterian or Lutheran or Catholic’, but what happens when they want to hang on to that Jewish identity, and what do we do with that individual’s family?
“One could look at them simply as a Christian, one could look at them from a traditional Jewish perspective as a ‘bad’ Jew or an apostate Jew, or a very confused Jew.
“On the other hand, if the argument is that they have a different way to the divine, a different pathway to God, then I can say the atheist Jew doesn’t care about God at all. Why would I accept one and not the other?”
Prof Levine said she was concerned at the impact on Jewish families. “Sometimes children of these marriages will say to their grandparents, ‘Gee, bubby and zaide, it’s too bad you’re going to hell’.”
Sunday, July 20, 2008
This place does much needed work for the community by combining resources from many other ministries to provide for the homeless and less fortunate.
I offered some praise and worship music while those in attendance could sing along and clap their hands. Dr. Lou Miller gave a great message to help keep the flame of the Holy Spirit alive in the people there, and a few came to know the Lord at this time.
It is a great reminder to see how easily one can lose the grasp on wordly things, and end up needing the assistance of others. Thankfully, there are others who are willing to assist.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
2006 October: I uploaded some concert video footage from a CBH event done three yrs ago. The camera work was done by my then 11 year old son, who did a surprisingly good job although he did have some moments of shooting the cymbals and such. The sound is not bad though for a camera mic and it does show some of the band members who joined me that day, including my good friend and wonderful vocalist Cheryl Grant, and my older son Jordan who is behind the drums.
I played an acoustic guitar on this event, not my usual favored electric, but the sound is a full one, which is what we wanted for this particular night.
The videos are able to be viewed on Yahoo Video, Youtube, and Google video. Put in "messianic music" for the search term to find them.
Here is a link to the youtube videos. Please post your comments on the video pages.
November: The videos have had over 11000 hits, which for this type music is terrific. I can only pray that those who view it will share the web address and my web site with others. Some people have come to Congregation Beth Hallel after viewing the site, and then using the link to the synagogue web site to discover it. This is wonderfully encouraging.
Wow! I sold out of my first three round of cds that were pressed for me. Exciting to see so many people get a copy and the hear the reactions from listeners who have seemed to really enjoy this music.
If you are one who has enjoyed this cd please email me your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can publish some on this site. Also your reviews in Itunes, Rhapsody and the three video sites are terrific to help get the word out.
Winter : I have been getting some great emails from folks who like the music and this web site. Also great testimony from some who are researching their Jewish roots. It is interesting how some people are drawn to Messianic Judaism not knowing why, only to discover later that their parent(s), or grandparents were jewish, and that fact had been hidden. Commonly in past years anti-semtism drew many Jews underground, or to "pretend" they were not jewish at all.
Keep those emails coming !
for more details.
Here are quotes from some recent emails and postings
"I've been thinking about this for a long time, and your info finally put the pieces together! I just want to say thanks and it was good that you placed in in an area where others have the choice to further their quest for the Truth, in Yeshua Ha-Maschiach, our saviour.
I was raised Catholic, but changed to non-denomination evagelical (Bible churches). There was something missing and I always considered myself somewhat of Jewish ancestry. My ex wife would sometimes say (after we divorced and I remained succesful), that I was from one of the lost tribes of Israel. "
" A few years ago I made a wrong turn in Orange County, Ca. I was looking for a library and ended up at a Chabad Shul instead. I had been searching for soulful fullfilment at the time and thought this was a sign. I got involved with my local Chabad center here in Chatsworth, Ca. for a couple of years."
"I still have a hard time believing as I was not raised to be religious. However in my heart I believe in God and I still search. I'm still searching after many years and I take that as a sign that there is something for me. After reading about your journey I am going to check out a couple of the Messianic Temples we have here. I hope to find what I'm looking for as you and your wife Shannon did. "
" I was blessed to read about your faith journey on your web site. Although my journey with God has taken me through years of Catholic formation and now more expressions from protestant traditions, I was overwhelmed by my pilgrimage to the Holy Land in oct of 05. I only wish I could have stayed there longer and someday I want to take my wife and 3 children back. It was so humbling to realize how shallow my understanding of God and his dealings with his people really is. I have so much to learn about my spiritual heritage. Our guide, Svee, was a Messianic Jew and he was the most fascinating man. I could sit and listen to him tell stories for hours. " Wayne P.
From a post on one of my You Tube videos- "I'm new to Messianic Judaism, coming from a tradtional Jewish background. Your singing and guitar playing, truly moved me. Thank-you! " Emily
our musical group played for the huge Beth Hallel Passover Seder. As in prior years, this wonderful event was sold out! More than 300 came to share in the seder and the meal. Volunteers our congregation cooked, set up, served, tore down and cleaned the large room. My wife Shannon headed up a serving team, and my 14 year old son Jason spent 13 hours there working in the kitchen ministry.We played music to welcome the guests, as well as a praise section during the seder. We also played for a worship time and I got to sing acapella versions of some of the traditional songs in the seder itself, like Eliyahu Hanavi ( Elijah the Prophet).It was a great night and although we had also played the morning Shabbat service, we were energized by the whole day.
- In May I went with a group of volunteers to Birmingham, Alabama to play the Friday services at the new Congregation Beth Hallel Birmingham. The congregation is an enthusiastic mix of Jews and Gentiles, and the Rabbi is Eric Walker from our home congregation in Roswell. They are building a faithful following! Please use the link below to visit their web site and find out what great things are hapenning in our sister congregation.
Beth Hallel Birmingham
Its June and hot as a firecracker here in Atlanta! The Spirit is on fire here too, and moving in our midst! Last night we went to hear Dr. Daniel Dana, an Israeli lawyer and holder of multiple College degrees, who had an amazing story to tell. I am telling it as I remember from the meeting last night....
Dr. Dana was born in Iran, raised as Muslim and was an ardent student of the Koran, even writing passages and articles on it as a young student. His family fully expected him to grow up to be an Imam.
Then while in College, he denied his god, and became an atheist. His studies and athletic abilties ( a wrestling champion) led him to Austrailia, where in a powerful "dream" he realized that Yeshua (Jesus) was the true Messiah of all mankind, and he felt the power and strength of the Trininty of G-d, Yeshua, and the Holy Spirit. He wandered through the night after this dream, unable to sleep. The next morning he found himself outside a Church, where services were about to begin. He went in, and was embraced by the congregation and his life changed as he accepted the lord into his heart.
He became a Bible scholar, and actually earned a Doctor of Divinity in Jerusalem.
Circumstances led him to "have to" stay in Israel, permanently. While there he became very ill and required blood tests and hospitalization. Through this testing he found that he is actually oif Jewish ancestry, having a rare disease that only affects middle eastern Jews. To his amazement, G-d had led him home to Jerusalem, and he now is a practicing Messianic Jewish Believer, and a member of the King if Kings congregation there!
He is a historian and tells much about Iran,his former home, and the truth of what is happening there. He believes that the Lord is being served by many converted Muslims whose numbers are growing, as they are seeing the false beliefs of Islam. He does not deny the billion plus Muslims worldwide, but feels in his heart that the true Messiah will reach them too. His goal is to establish a Bible College in Tehran when the regime there finally falls, as he knows and prays that it will.
What a great story from a brilliant man. It was riveting to listen to him. My goal now is to visit him in Jerusalem and to play music at his congregation....
Update!!---- the weekend of the Atlanta Prophecy Conference, where we again were invited to play, Dr. Dana was in Atlanta. I escorted him to our Beth Hallel Men's breakfast on Sunday, where he shared his story with the attendees. They, too were amazed by the move of G-d in his life! We mad a DVD video of this event, and it is available for loan through the Beth hallel library.
Thanks to one of our "mishpucha" who sent me this link to a video from Israeli Television news about the growth of Messianic Jewish congregations in Israel. They state that there are over 15,000 Messianic Jews in the country, and at least 16 congregations in Jerusalem alone. It is amazing to see the acceptance of this movement in Israel. The IDF accepts these believers as soldiers, where once they were only persecuted. Still it is the ultra- Orthodox Jews who violently oppose them, but then these same Orthodox also oppose anyone who is not of their exact belief system.Check out the video, and while there if you have not viewed or commented on my music videos, please take the time to do so, as it is very helpful to my goal of spreading the Good News through music. Messianic Jews in Israel ( video)
Messianic Music Radio and Interent stations are now playing my cd music. One is located in Kiryat Yam, Israel. On this site recently, some of the songs have been listed as their most requested. How great it is to know this music is reaching around the world in some small way!!! Check it out here---
A Latino Christian music site is now showing the "Be Still" live music Video. See their site here-
A special message on Israel and the Jewish people was given by Pastor Munn at Restoration Church of Alpharetta, Sunday Nov. 18, 2007.
We were invited to sing and provide some "Messianic Jewish flavor" to this service.
The Church music team and choir opened up the service with some terrific praise music, and then we played a set of songs before Pastor Don Munn gave a powerful message on support for Israel and the Jewish people, and why anti-semtism is a sin. The music and message were warmly received. We made many new friends and hope to go back there at a future date.
Restoration Church of Alpharetta, GA
I am invited to lead worship at Restoration on Christmas Eve. I will be doing Messianic music, and hopefully this will be ok!! I am a bit nervous about my first Christmas service as a worship leader, but putting it in God's hands of course to direct me.
Nov 30 2007 Played for a special Erev Shabbat at CBH, the ordination of Rabbi Eric Walker, who is heading up the Beth Hallel Birmingham congregations. It was a great service and terrific to see someone so willing to serve the Lord that he has literally changed their whole lifestyle to be available to do this. Within a year or so they will be relocating to Birmingham to further move in his new role there.
Mazel Tov Walkers!
another nice email arrived on..Dec 21...
I regularly attend the MJAA conferences mainly to purchase books & music CD's. I ran across your video "Be Still" on You Tube and love the song.
I looked up your web site wanting to purchase your CD.
How can I go about purchasing the CD with "Be Still"?
We need more Messianic music! (AMEN!)
We listen to Paul Wilbur, Marty Goetz, and others every day as part of our daily praise & worship in our home. We want your CD to add to our growing collection! Thank you! Bethany & Ron ....
The Atlanta Prophecy Conference for 2008 will be held in Jerusalem this coming Ocotber! I will be attending and providing some of the Praise an Worship muisc for this terrific event! Go to http://www.atlantaprophecyconference.com/
I am so thankful to the Lord for allowing me to be apart of this and for my first visit to Eretz Yisrael!
many people have commented to me about the quality of the praise sessions.
Obviously, you did your job because God showed up. Please convey to everyone in your group how very grateful I am to each and every
one of them. Special thanks to the shofar player. I pray that El Roi, the God Who see, will reward you richly for all that you did
to advance the Kingdom of God this weekend.
Watch, pray and be active!
quotes from Isaiah 53, passages that point us right towards the Jewish Messiah to come.......
53:1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
53:2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
53:3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
53:4 Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. 53:8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
53:9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand; 53:11 he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities.
53:12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
So what did Rabbi's of old say about this scripture??
Babylonian Talmud: "The Messiah --what is his name?...The Rabbis say, The Leper Scholar, as it is said, `surely he has borne our grief's and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God and afflicted...'" (Sanhedrin 98b)
Rabbi Moses Maimonides: "What is the manner of Messiah's advent....there shall rise up one of whom none have known before, and signs and wonders which they shall see performed by him will be the proofs of his true origin; for the Almighty, where he declares to us his mind upon this matter, says,
`Behold a man whose name is the Branch, and he shall branch forth out of his place' (Zech. 6:12).
And Isaiah speaks similarly of the time when he shall appear, without father or mother or family being known, He came up as a sucker before him, and as a root out of dry earth, etc....in the words of Isaiah, when describing the manner in which kings will harken to him, At him kings will shut their mouth; for that which had not been told them have they seen, and that which they had not heard they have perceived." (From the Letter to the South (Yemen), quoted in The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters, Ktav Publishing House, 1969, Volume 2, pages 374-5)
The figure described in Isaiah 53 suffers, dies, and rises again to atone for his people's sins. The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 53:10 for "sin-offering" is "asham," which is a technical term meaning "sin-offering." See how it is used in Leviticus chapters 5 and 6. Isaiah 53 describes a sinless and perfect sacrificial lamb who takes upon himself the sins of others so that they might be forgiven. Can anyone really claim that the terrible suffering of the Jewish people, however undeserved and unjust, atones for the sins of the world?
Whoever Isaiah 53 speaks of, the figure described suffers and dies in order to provide a legal payment for sin so that others can be forgiven.
So who is this passage speaking about?
It speaks of the Messiah, as many ancient rabbis concluded. The second verse of Isaiah 53 makes it crystal clear. The figure grows up as "a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground."
The shoot springing up is beyond reasonable doubt a reference to the Messiah, and, in fact, it is a common Messianic reference in Isaiah and elsewhere. The Davidic dynasty was to be cut down in judgment like a felled tree, but it was promised to Israel that a new sprout would shoot up from the stump.
The Messiah was to be that sprout. Several Hebrew words were used to refer to this undeniably Messianic image. All the terms are related in meaning and connected in the Messianic texts where they were used. Isaiah 11, which virtually all rabbis agreed refers to the Messiah, used the words "shoot" (hoter) and branch (netser) to describe the Messianic King. Isaiah 11:10 called Messiah the "Root (shoresh) of Jesse," Jesse being David's father.
Isaiah 53 described the suffering servant as a root (shoresh) from dry ground, using the very same metaphor and the very same word as Isaiah 11. We also see other terms used for the same concept, such as branch (tsemach) in Jeremiah 23:5, in Isaiah 4:2 and also in the startling prophecies of Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12.
Beyond doubt, Isaiah 52:13-53:12 refers to Messiah Yeshua
He is the one highly exalted before whom kings shut their mouths.
Messiah is the shoot who sprung up from the fallen Davidic dynasty.
He became the King of Kings. He provided the ultimate atonement., and he still does.
Recently I was priviledged to hear a great speaker Dr. Raleigh Washington, famous for his leadership in the "Promise Keepers" ministry with Coach McCartney. He now heads up "The Road to Jerusalem" which to quote their web site " is a totally new entity whose mission is to encourage Gentile believers in Jesus Christ to embrace the Messianic Jewish community."
He is a strong supporter of the messianic movement and has a great message for those who think that support of israel is not important in these times.
Here is a link to their website; "Road to Jerusalem"
If you like this blog, and or simply enjoy the music, please pass it on!!
E-mail us at : email@example.com
Some videos are now available for you to view at Youtube.com , and also Godtube.com
Alan David Live in Concert 2004 Also please search Youtube for my other videos,
Visitors to the Congregation Beth Hallel gift shop will find the cd on sale.
You can order CD's directly thru PAYPAL here, no account is required, you can use a major credit card, or bank debit.
Go to http://www.paypal.com/ and send $10.00 using my email : mailto:ALANS_DAVID@yahoo.com
as the recipient. Its (alans_david) I will be notified and send your music out ....or email me at alandavidsongs.com to make other arrangements.
If you have any problem with PayPal or Itunes or Rhapsody... please email me thru this site and I will help make some other arrangement for you.
WEB LINKS worth visiting!
Please check out some other great websites for music and teaching;
The very dynamic organization teaching how Biblical Prophecy is coming true every day.
They sponsor an special conference held in the Fall each year in the Atlanta area. It is an awesome all day event. In 200 it will be in ISRAEL! I will be able to attend and help with the Praise and Worship Music offered. See http://www.israelmybeloved.org/
Also the Beth Hallel Birmingham, Al. congregation is growing in leaps and bounds. Our nearby friends can check them out at : Beth Hallel Birmingham
Road to Jerusalem A terrific site and an organization trying to help bring Jews and Christians together spiritually. We all share the roots so this should make perfect sense! From some of the people involved in Promise Keepers, including Dr. Raleigh Washington, a very gifted teacher and minister.
Here is the room in my home where I recorded this album, wonder why we called it
Technical stuff- Recorded on a Apple Mac G-4 and later a G-5 Powermac dual processor using a simple firewire audio interface; M-Audio's M Box, a Sennheiser Mic, along with vintage Takamine 6 and 12 string electric acoustic guitars, a fabulous Carvin AE185 electric/acoustic 6 string ( what a great instrument!), a Gibson ES-Artist electric 6 string, and my 180 bass Accordion. We also used a Korg keyboard, and Roland V-drums (thanks to my pal Dave Solomon for his gear)
Mix down and mastering was done on the G-5. I used Garageband 3 for all recordings.
This did the job for me, and I hope to get a Mac Powerbook to use in the future, as it would enable me to go off site and record...literally get out of the "Cave" a bit more often. Being an Airstream Trailer fan (and owner), it would be very cool to use that as a rolling studio!!
* the project started five years ago, when I first began recording these songs. I rented some studio time, it didn't work out for me. I tried recording through a live mix at the synagogue, It never quite got to where I wanted it to for sound quality.
I found the Mac to be very user friendly, and recording at home gave me all the time I needed, which was a LOT. I don't like being bogged down in the recording process, trying to figure out how to use the software for hours and hours. I want to RECORD! Play, sing, write, and get it on tape ( or in this case - cd disc).
I started on the Mac G4 using Garageband 1, which ran out of "steam", so I then progressed to the G-5 and Garageband 3. Many hours spent tracking the guitar parts, using a drum track for tempo, and then singing scratch and later 'real' vocals, adding bass, drums and keyboards when my friends were able to squeeze the time in to do it. Then, lastly adding background vocals.
After all that came a few dozen hours or more per song, mixing and trying to turn it into something that sounds the way I was hoping it could. Not Nashville studio quality by any means, but truly home made music! There is something to be said for the quality of a non-studio sound..the relaxed atmosphere in recording, and the value of using time as you will.
This has been a blessing to me, I have learned so much about recording and mixing and how to take a creation from a sheet of paper with an idea on it, to a cd with music on it. I also learned to really understand how hard it all is. I have also improved my ability to be patient and use all the time it takes to get something accomplished. I hope the music will touch people and the lack of true high end sound quality will not detract.
Who am I and just where does the music come from? Better yet, where am I coming from?
Here is a brief (ok! not so brief) look at how I came to where I am today........a Messianic Jewish musician a singer of songs of praise and worship to our Lord Yeshua Ha-Maschiach.
OK this is a long story so read a bit and come back for more later....Shalom!!
Music and the Synagogue:
I discovered guitar, more specifically the electric guitar at the synagogue my family went to every week, Temple Emanuel in FarRockaway, NY. I was attending a temple teen dance there when I was 14 years old and I remember this as if it was yesterday, as life changing events and moments in time like that stick in your memory for the rest of your days on earth. I didn't know then how much I would be consumed by the love of this instrument.
Hearing a "live" electric guitar for the first time, was riveting to me. I couldn't wait to get one and make my own noise. Until this point I had sung in the chorus at school, played a little violin in the junior high orchestra, and dabbled on playing the accordion, starting a few lessons in third grade. I also played some drums, learning snare drum in our local Boy Scout (Troop 10) marching band.
I loved the liturgical music at our temple, the young Cantor - Malcolm James was marvelous, soulful and strong, yet humble while leading the congregation with his melodic and warm voice. I secretly hoped to follow in his footsteps one day, but it would be a long time before I stood on the bema and sang. It seemed to me the greatest thing I could do would be to lead a congregtation in praise and liturgical worship.
Forming a band- as a new guitarist and singer:
My First Band " the Continentals" later we were ironically called "the LOST SOULS"
Soon after getting my first real guitar, I found others at school ( FarRockaway High School) who played various instruments and we set about forming a band. I played with only two fingers, but had a knack for finding melodic notes that worked ( no chords yet!) and I could 'almost' sing. This made me a rare commodity amongst the teens that aspired to be in a band. We actually booked jobs soon after getting organized, playing for High School dances, my first was for about 500 teens in the gym. I played songs by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, old 50's rock and Ventures instrumentals. Later as popularity grew we played in the big back room of our synagogue, where teen dances were often held, attended by 300-500 kids. Our parents served cokes and orange soda, and we often even hired other bands to open or share the stage with us.We even had the Fifth Dimension at a concert. It was a fun time to be a budding musician.
What excitement! Many more dances followed, along with pool parties, "sweet 16's', and as the band improved and honed our skills we were able to audition and book to play concerts at the 1964 NY World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens. Wow! We played to huge audiences a number of times at the Fair, and then were asked to play at the US Pavilion amongst selected bands from all over the country. We had a blast entertaining folks from all over the world. I still had been only playing guitar for a few months.
We weren't old enough to drive so my dad drove me to many of our "gigs" and we even played a few in Greenwich Village, the hippy and beatnik center of New York in the mid 1960's. Our age restricted us to afternoon shows at the Cafe "Wha". The night time act was Jimmy James & The Blue Flames (Jimmy Hendrix) at that club, while the Blues Project and others great groups were around the corner at nearby spots.
Needless to say, playing the guitar and singing became a high point in my young life. I played through my college and grad school years, enjoying stints in a 3 piece "power trio", a 9 man "horn" band called Kingfish, followed by a hard rockin' quintet called Reality.These gigs enabled me to pay for the tuition at College. All the while though, it was creating the music for the audiences that motivated me. I practiced often, and went to see others play so I could learn from watching them. When I was not playing I was listening. Through all this time, I still attended synagogue as regularly as I could, though many Friday nights were spent in rock 'n roll clubs.
I also was called to teach at our Temple, and did some regular Hebrew School work.I enjoyed reading Hebrew and studying the Jewish History lessons. ( Now my wife Shannon and I teach a Bible study class on Tuesday evenings to 1st and 2nd graders)
I find a new calling - Special Needs children:After one rock group dissolved with no notice, I headed off to a summer job at a camp for special needs children, toting my guitar up to the Pocono mountains to work and live for two months. This school was run by a Hassidic Jewish group, and was housed in a scenic spot on a small lake.
It was here that I found my heart tugged by these children. Some mentally challenged, others autistic. I then switched majors at Richmond College to Child Psychology, and earned my B.A. degree in this area. Then I attended Graduate school for Special Education at SUNY Teachers College at Geneseo, NY. Playing music all the while, I worked with two or three bands in the Finger Lakes area of NY, and also took a full time teaching job in Special Ed for the Rochester City School system.
Moving to Florida and the 80's
I discovered that I could adapt and play country music, rock or blues, as needed, and this expanded my ability to earn some money by keeping the weekends booked.
Next I moved th Ft Myers, Florida, where I played in local clubs, while holding down a full time teaching job at a public school there.
Jump ahead to 1979. I had been teaching school for a few years, first in Rochester, and then the move to Fort Myers, Fla where my life was about to make a major turn. Still playing clubs on the weekends although now mostly solo, as disco was in fashion.
I went the acoustic route and wrote origninal songs as well as playing a variety of other softer music. Friends and fans kept telling me to take my songs to Nashville. Who me? I had never been west of Georgia. I listened to much country music radio trying to understand how to write like that. My songs seemed to reach the audience in the clubs, and I felt pulled to plow ahead with them. I booked some studio time, and recorded some basic demos while in Ft Myers.
Heading to Nashville:
With some trepidation, I took a leave from my teaching position and headed to Nashville with a box of tapes, my guitar and amp, and an assortment of clothes traveling in an old windowless Ford Van. I figured it was now or never for me, as I was approaching my late twenties.
Boy was I green.... I would walk down Music Row in Nashville and pitch myself and my songs to every record label, publishing house and related music business that I could gain entry into. Some were helpful, most were not. They would take the tapes and never make a comment either way when they handed them back days later. If they even gave them back. Often I would have to ask to go in and look through a carton of tapes to find mine if I wanted them back.
Not much was happening, but I was motivated and believed I had something to offer. Frequently though I was being asked who the guitarist was that had played on my recordings. It was me. I played all the instruments on these first tapes.
Showcases and writer's nights:
I also played as often as I could (for free) in the nightly Nashville showcases, and after some weeks I was invited to join a traveling band backing a country singer of questionable ability, but one with a nice tour set up by a booking agent.We set off in nice conversion van, towing a trailer full of gear.
I enjoyed the travel a lot, as I had never been west. We headed to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and Wyoming on our first trip. The singer was flashy but vocally challenged, and the band I were his opening act. By the end of the first tour the agent that booked him offered me a contract to head my own group, and we headed out again, this time as a stand alone band, returning to some of the spots we had played as an opener. We drove my old van instead of his nice new one.
We were playing all over the map in Holiday Inns and College town clubs and such. Mostly top 40 music, and some originals. Fun, but no real career move. I enjoyed meeting people, and spent a memorable night with the lone Jewish family in one small Indiana town, enjoying dinner and conversation in their home.
Get off the road!
I had to quit this part of the road life as it was going nowhere fast. I went back to Nashville, and took a job in a restaurant, The Fishery....near Vanderbilt University. I met lots of famous musicians as I waited their tables. Even the great Chet Atkins came in and I got to chat with him while serving his dinner. The owner of the club was a musician himself, and very supportive of his employees who were trying to break in to the business.
A Road Warrior... and a "Vogue"
After some months waiting tables, an audition came along for the "Vogues". The famous singing group needed a back up guitarist. Actually this was a touring version of the original group, working for the company that owned the name. They were very active in dinner clubs, oldies shows and resort hotels.
I joined them, becoming a guitarist and also a singing member of the 4 man group. We traveled in a van towing a trailer all across the U.S. from the mid-west, up to Canada, to the East Coast and down into the southern states. Lots of fun playing and singing the Vogue hits, while also doing "dance sets" of rock and country in the clubs.
We learned a lot, got tighter and were constantly sounding better with close harmony and creative arranging. Recorded an album of current pop songs back in Nashville, kept touring, did some TV shows and stayed on the road for a few years. The money was ok, but the travel getting old, yet I was meeting new friends, and seeing old ones at the same time , and often crossing paths with family members in our travels.
One night playing in Nashville at our home base show club, a large and popular spot "Cajun's Warf" on the Cumberland River, a producer and management team caught our show act. We were doing a variety of music, and some comedy "shtick", while playing and singing in our tightly woven way. The harmony was sweet, music smooth and the personalities were strong.
The team approached us with the idea of changing our name, and recording as a country group. At first we were skeptical, but the ideas grew, and the opportunity seemed to present a once in a lifetime offer.
"ATLANTA" a country music success short storyThe new band went into the studio, and recorded under the name "Atlanta". The producer, Larry McBride had worked closely with developing the great band Alabama, and said the "A's" were good to him, he lived in Atl, so the name stuck. We all either were living there soon, or had plans to. McBride had some problems of his own in the past, but his heart seemed in the right place, and he had a plan for us. Along with super engineer and producer Milan Bogdan we spent hours honing the songs we chose and arranging them into our first album and single releases.
Our first single release "Atlanta Burned Again" hit the top ten on the country charts! I almost drove off the road the first time I heard our songs on the radio.
We hit the road in a rented tour bus, and amazingly the hits kept coming. I moved to Atlanta, where we were rehearsing and recording. It was there that I met my future bride, Shannon, who worked at a local music store. I was totally smitten ( and still am after 23 years) by her sweet personality, green eyes and great smile. We started dating a month or so after meeting, and the date is still going on all these years later. I wrote a song about the moment I first saw her, and how in my head I saw her young and I saw her "old" and I saw us together many years "down the road". It was a lyric that came true in a great way.
Meanwhile Atlanta's third release "Sweet Country Music" smashed its way up into the top five in Billboard's top country hits chart, and hit number one in the Cashbox magazine hit list. We were rolling strong, playing concerts coast to coast and opening for major acts like Kenny Rogers, the Oak Ridge Boys and many more. We had a number of famous acts open for us also. We did TV shows,"Nashville Now", the Jimmy Dean show, Merv Griffin, and more, including a special in prime time "Making it in Music" on a local station in Atlanta. We received the "Georgie" award, for Best New Act at a the Georgia Grammy ceremony in Atlanta. I sat next to James Brown! We were having a great time, and covering a lot of ground, literally.
We "tore it up" playing strong in Lake Tahoe and Atlantic City's Harrah's Resorts, and played both Disneyworld and Disneyland in the same week. This travel and road work went on for almost three straight years.
Three years later and thousands of miles down the road ...
Then the plug was pulled on us by the newly appointed head of our label MCA Records who shall remain unnamed here. This person seemed to have a mighty dislike for our management and by proxy, for us. We heard from radio personalities that the label was no longer promoting us to them, and watched as our air play slowly dwindled down. The concerts were not being attended as much now as we had no new music on the radio. Our career was sliding down, as the money to pay our terrific road crew and ours selves was waning. We had one night in Texas, where the Sheriff showed up to lock up and then take our tour bus, with all of our clothes and personal effects still in it; for unpaid bus lease bills, that we did not know were not being covered. We were seemingly stranded in the late night cold and rain, right after exiting the building where we had played a show. Our road manager was able to negotiate a temporary settlement so we could board the bus and make it home. Going home for the holidays which should have been a joyous time, was sad with no money to pay our loyal crew and ourselves. We had to literally hide our equipment so it would not be grabbed by creditors.
The bills kept coming, and we felt it only made sense to quit MCA and try for another label deal. Someone who would give us a tiny bit of respect and try to market our music again. Little did we know that the close knit Nashville community would not allow us to be re-signed after our dumping of the so-called "well respected" MCA team. We were down and almost out.
Returning to Atlanta we were very lucky to get a steady job playing at a country dance hall; "Miss Kitty's". After a few months of playing there, night after night, with some minor concert dates out of town, I made the very hard choice to give it all up. It was getting very old, although the crowds were positive and the club owner a delight to work for. I was newly married, and after being on the road for more than five years straight, I longed for a real home life, and so I quit the band. What a tough decision. Pouring so much heart and soul into a project for so long, and giving up the road "family', was very hard.
On the night of my last "gig" with Atlanta, I was scared, confused a bit, and yet felt I had done the right thing. I remember driving home at 3 am or later, the roads being quiet and calm, and as I tuned the FM dial for some music I caught a radio preacher saying something about life's choices, and the forks in the road we face at time and how we must decide which way to go. He said trust in G-d and make the choice he puts on your heart. This hit me deep and hard, and as I drove into a bank of fog on our I - 285 loop, the station crackled and went away, and I was unable to hear more. Surely this message was meant especially for me to hear.
There was still a plan for my life, I just did not know what it was yet.
Marriage and family:It was in January 1986 that Shannon and I married. I took a job in the automobile business, having been a car nut all of my life and I had some financial success. It was weird working in the dealership, where the radio was sometimes playing Vogue songs, while other times Atlanta's music would be on. A group of Atlanta fan club members even came to see me at the car dealership, which was very strange indeed.
I stayed focused, sold a lot of cars and was moved into management. Spent two weeks in Chicago in January (!) going to school for auto finance. Soon I was the head of a bustling finance department with four of us handling hundreds of thousand of dollars in sales each month. Two years later, in February 1988, our first child came. Jordan was a joy to us, a happy baby who seemed to love the guitar music I played for him as he sat cheerfully in his baby seat. Music was on the back burner, although I was able to form a small group, hook up with an agent and get hired to play parties and weddings and such.
Years went by, I played the country club parties, more weddings, and other dates mostly with a trio, sometimes with a few other members added. I was trying to keep the music alive in my life, while working a full time job, and raising a family. We moved to a home in Roswell, Georgia had a second baby boy, named Jason, in 1992.
As the boys grew, they began to question us about religion. Why did Dad celebrate Chanukah and Mom celebrate Christmas? We hadn't been attending any regular religious services, and really felt the need to do so. There was what our Rabbi calls a "hole in our hearts" that needed G-d to fill. I had heard about Congregation Beth Hallel from a co-worker, and since we lived right near by it was easy to attend and check it out.
What is this all about anyway?
I had no idea what Messianic Judaism was. I had been raised to think Jesus was a prophet, a "good guy" and not anything more than that. Jews either appreciate Him or think he sold them out.
We thought that Jewish people who followed Him were confused, and knew that Jews were simply not to believe in Him. They thought He was, maybe a prophet, maybe not. That would have made Him a liar then , as He could not have been truly what He said He was. Very hard to follow for someone raised Jewish.
The services we attended at CBH were charged up with spirituality. Congregants were singing and clapping their hands, often lifting them up towards the sky. A full band playing great music, with real guitars and drums and the whole thing Spiritually annointed.
Rabbi Solomon giving a message filled with quotes from the scriptures, all the scriptures. People seemed genuinely full of the Spirit of God. We went back for more, attending the Shabbat services and then a class on Tuesday nights wherein we learned about the original Messianic believers, the Apostles. The many references in the Old Covenant Scriptures that pointed to Messiah's coming, and how Yeshua ( Jesus) fulfilled these prophecies. We read the "Church and the Jews" by Dan Gruber, "The Fig Tree Blossoms" and other writings that filled in the gaps for us.
I wondered how I could have missed the obvious references in Isaiah 53 and other writings. It all seemed to make sense and come together in a big way for me.
After months of learning and attending praise and worship services, at Beth Hallel, I felt my right hand go up at a Friday night service when Rabbi asked if anyone wanted to accept Yeshua as Messiah in their heart. I had heard this asked many times, but all of a sudden this particular night I felt a powerful pull on my heart. It seemed dreamlike to go up and shake the Rabbi's hand, while the congregation applauded. Meanwhile my wife was crying with happiness, and surprised at the same time. It was a new day for us.
Soon we were attending the new members classes, learning and reading more, and enjoying the fellowship of other believers. Many were Jewish, and others Gentiles who had "pitched their tent" in the camp of the Jews, having a heart "of Ruth" for Israel and our Jewish people. It was and still is inspiring and fulfilling.
My desires granted:
I hoped and prayed for the opportunity to play music in the Temple, and this happened a year or so later when my twelve years in the automobile business came to an end, and I was able through the guidance and grace of God to return to my original career as a Teacher. This gave me the freedom of time to join the music ministry at Beth Hallel. I also had more good family time, and was able to concentrate on music and writing.
Life was better than ever. We looked forward to Shabbat services each Friday and Saturday, where I often got to sing and play guitar, leading the congregation in worship and praise songs.
I have been out to play concerts and do many outreaches with Yachad Ministries, going with Rabbi Solomon, and other great teachers to bring the roots of the faith to various congregations. I opened concerts for Joel Chernoff and Paul Wilbur both great messianic artists, and in recent years we formed regular praise bands so our relationships musically have become stronger. I used my fellow ministry members on the cd, enjoying their harmony singing and the instrumental styles they brought.
After these eight years of putting together a list of fifteen or so original songs, people have been asking me to record them to make them available for their listening. I have benn approached by some who wanted us to record our live services for them, and I made the decision to move towards getting this project off the ground. I want the music to get out to as many people as I can reach.
Check out a video of one of my songs here-