Nefesh: Songs for the Soul

Nefesh: Songs for the SoulSing with us on our new compact disc!

Experience the joyous sounds and inspirational words of Merri Lovinger Arian as she sings your favorite S2K melodies in Craig Taubman’s beautiful arrangements.
A note from Merri Lovinger Arian: “I am deeply excited to share with you the songs of our soul — the songs of Synagogue 2000.

“As an initiative dedicated to synagogue transformation — to making synagogues the spiritual center of our lives — we have invested thought and energy into the role of music in this endeavor. For the power of music is, itself, transformational.
“It is not coincidence when we speak of striving to create a world where people can live together in harmony; for it is when we raise our voices in song, and prayer, that we can hope to raise up our own lives and work together towards the vision of a vibrant, spiritually centered community.

“I invite you to open up your hearts and open your lips, sing with us, and give voice to your own spiritual journey.”

The Music of Synagogue 2000

Vocals by Merri Lovinger Arian

Instrumental backing by top L.A. musicians

Produced by Craig Taubman

Published by Synagogue 2000.


  1. All the World Sings to You
  2. Halleluyah
  3. Niggun/Return Again
  4. Oh Guide My Steps
  5. Lecha Dodi
  6. Sim Shalom
  7. Adon Olam
  8. Ma Tovu
  9. Shalom Aleichem
  10. Birchot Hamishpacha
  11. Mi Shebeirach
  12. Od Yavo Shalom
  13. T’filat Haderech


By Gigi Yellen-Kohn

Seattle, The Jewish Transcript, April 5, 2002

Here’s the kind, folk-pure voice of Merri Lovinger Arian, in a soothing, sweet experience, which ranges from American-composed variations on traditional liturgical passages (Debbie Friedman’s “T’filat Haderech”; Anselm Rothschild’s “Ahavat Olam”; David Paskin’s “Birchot HaMishpacha”) to entire prayers (Abie Rotenberg’s “Lecha Dodi”; Shmuel Brazil’s “Shalom Aleichem”).

They are all nestled in a cozy instrumentation emphasizing acoustic guitars (including that of the producer, Craig Taubman). When there’s piano or percussion or brass, it’s gentle, a background to the voice (in the same range as Debbie Friedman’s, but rounder); and the voice is never far from a smile. There’s the obligatory Shlomo Carlebach song (“Return Again”). There’s also a song, “Od Yavo Shalom,” in which the rhyme of “salaam” (Arabic for “peace”) with “kol ha-olam” (Hebrew for “all the world”), although sung most optimistically, can’t help landing on the listener as painful nostalgia for a more innocent time.

The very simplicity of this album’s design, both visual and audio, suggests it as good company for children, but maybe that means “inner children” too: this is a joyous female synagogue soloist whose goal is to lift all spirits. It’s worth noting that, although this disc is a project of the Reform movement’s “Synagogue 2000” project, the composers and lyricists credited span the spectrum of observance. Music is really a universal language. Even among Jews.

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