Maybe it’s because of the change of season, the start of the school year or increasing evening darkness, but this always seems to be a time of new beginnings. Add in the High Holidays and you have a perfect opportunity for self-reflection, for thinking about the year past and the one ahead.

Music provides me with a wonderful soundtrack for self-reflection. Here are five songs, in alphabetical order, written by Jewish songwriters that tend to fill me with awe during these Days of Awe. 

“Anyada Buena”
Written and performed by Sarah Aroeste 

Isn’t it nice to have a contemporary Ladino song wishing us all a sweet year? It’s performed in both English and Ladino. 

What the World Needs Now”
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hall David
Performed by Tank and the Bangas 

This song would be too sappy for my taste on most years, but given the condition we find ourselves in today, we could use it. I also think it’s a pretty cool rendition. 

“Who By Fire”
Written and performed by Leonard Cohen 

Taken right from the Yom Kippur Unatanef Tokeh prayer, Leonard Cohen’s voice and arrangement adds even more gravitas to the possibility that our fate for the year will soon be sealed. 

“Every Grain of Sand”
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by Emmylou Harris 

Perhaps my favorite cover of a Bob Dylan song, this has always struck me as a spiritual plea for comfort and acceptance. 

“Holy Ground”
Lyrics by Woody Guthrie with music by Frank London
Performed by The Klezmatics 

This is one of the lyrics the Woody Guthrie estate offered to The Klezmatics to put to music. It has been transformed into this beautiful reminder that holiness is all around us if we would just see it. 

I hope these songs give you something to think about in the days ahead, regardless of your observance level. What songs speak to you right now? Comment below! 

Here’s wishing you year of happiness and harmony (in every sense of the word).

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