Songs from the Maagal – Musical Journal

*** Songs from the Maagal – Musical Journal is a blog run by Yonatan Gutfeld, SCJ Musical Director. ***

May 1, 2019 // Nisan 26, 5779
Dear SCJ community, 

As promised in our family b’ney mitzvah musical preparation session, I’m sharing here the songs and musical prayers we typically sing in the school’s bar/bat mitzvahs. 

I recorded a few versions for some of the songs so you can choose your favorite. I hope this playlist will help prepare and practice. Let me know if there’s a version you like and I didn’t include. 

Thank you for attending these meetings. It’s so nice to get to know the families and sing together. 

See below the list and the recordings.

Looking forward for the next time,


  1. Hine ma tov ver.1
  2. Hine ma tov ver.2
  3. Hine ma tov ver.3
  4. Shehechiyanu ver.1
  5. Shehechiyanu ver.2
  6. Mi chamoch ver.1
  7. Mi chamocha ver.2
  8. Mi chaooch ver.3
  9. Ilu finu
  10. mizmor shir
  11. Ose shalom ver.1
  12. Ose shalom ver.2


February 25, 2019 // 20 Adar 1, 5779

Hi SCJ community,

On the last few Thursdays on my usual walk from the A train to our Cobble hill ma’agal I noticed how the sunset is later and the days grow longer.

When I shared this sentiment with Misha he suggested we’ll put to music the Yotzer Or blessing- the creator of light. In Maagal we spoke about how each of the four parts of the blessing: Forming light, Creating Darkness, Making Peace and Creating everything, we ascribe to God, but human beings do them too, every day, bringing light, darkness and peace to the world.  

Misha shared in the ma’agal that originally the prayer ended with the words: Creator of evil (רע), since we must be thankful for both the good and the bad.  After a time in which the Jewish people had it especially bad, the rabbis decided to replace the word “evil” with the word “everything,” (הכל) and that is how we pray today.

Here are the Hebrew lyrics and translation:

יוצר אור ובורא חושך

עושה שלום ובורא את הכל

קומי אורי כי בא אורך

וכבוד ה׳ עליך זרח

Maker of light and creator of darkness

Maker of peace and creator of everything

Rise up, my light, because your light has come

And the beauty of god has shined upon you



December 25, 2018 // 25 Kislev, 5779

Channukah 5779

Shalom SCJ community,

My new post will have to do with Chanukah of course.

A couple of years ago Misha brought to the ma’agal a translation he wrote for the classic Hebrew song BanuChoshech. The song deals with the two important motives of the holiday besides latkes- חושך, darkness andאור, light.

There’s an iconic step forward movement that goes with it as you can see in the video.

The English version was a big success and I’ve been singing it in Chanukah parties across the city since.

Bellow are the lyrics in both languages and a recording.

I’m avoiding the transliteration- students, can you read the Hebrew?

Happy Chanukah!

מילים: שרה לוי-תנאי

לחן: עמנואל עמירן (פוגצ’וב)

בָּאנוּ חֹשֶךְ לְגָרֵשׁ.

בְּיָדֵינוּ אוֹר וָאֵשׁ.

כָּל אֶחָד הוּא אוֹר קָטָן,

וְכֻלָּנוּ – אוֹר אֵיתָן.

סוּרָה חֹשֶךְ! הָלְאָה שְׁחוֹר!

סוּרָה מִפְּנֵי הָאוֹר!

Misha’s translation:

We’re the warriors of the light

Come to bust away the night

Each of us is one small flame

And together we exclaim:

Get away darkness

Onward night

We will turn you into light

Get away darkness

Onward night

We will turn you into light



November 11, 2018 // 3 Kislev, 5779

Shalom School for Creative Judaism community!
I’m excited to begin the SCJ musical journal, which will offer some of the songs we sing together. I’ll be regularly posting here current songs we sing at the ma’agal at Cobble Hill and Lower East Side branches, in hopes to make them echo in the homes and home groups, and bring us a bit more together.

First Song – Vayivra Elohim

When Misha announced that this will be the Year of the Artists, I started looking for a song to go with it. Except for the beautiful Vincent by Don McLean that thematically has little to do with creative Judaism I couldn’t think of much.
So I went to the Torah’s creation story in Genesis, chapter 1 and found these words:
Bara’- (created, made) ברא
Tzelem- (image) צלם
Adam- (human) אדם
Vayar ki Tov- (And God saw that it was good) וירא כי טוב

I thought maybe this is a good place to begin.
I put a melody to it that isn’t the hardest or the easiest. Here is a recording if you’d like to practice for the ma’agal.

The lyrics are:

ויברא אלוהים את האדם בצלמו
אלוהים ברא אותו
וירא כי טוב
טוב מאוד
ויהי ערב ויהי בוקר
יום השישי


Vayivra Elohim Et HaAdam Betzlamo
Elohim Bara O’to
Vayira Ki Tov
Tov Me’od
Vayi’hi Erev
Vayi’hi Boker
Yom HaShishi


In her spirit god created me
In her spirit
And she found it very good
Very good
Then came evening and came morning
Day number six

I look forward to singing with you all!
Yonatan, SCJ Musical Director

Here’s a peek at our Ma’agal at the Cobble Hill branch singing Vayivra Elohim On November 15