Elul Message from Guest Prayer Leader Talia Lakritz
The Unetaneh Tokef melody that we sang together on Rosh Hashanah and we’ll sing again on Yom Kippur was composed by Israeli songwriter Yair Rosenblum, inspired by a kibbutz’s heavy losses during the Yom Kippur War. In 1990, Rosenblum visited Kibbutz Beit Hashita in northern Israel, which lost 11 members during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. During his visit, he was inspired to write this melody to Unetaneh Tokef and stayed up all night composing it. The tune is unique in that it contains Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and modern Israeli musical influences.
You can read more about the history of the tune in this Times of Israel article.
Find a stirring performance of Rosenblum’s piece by the Israeli Defense Force’s chief cantor here.
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I just read the article about the Unetaneh Tokef melody and song that was written to memorialize the eleven men who were killed during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 who were members of the kibbutz Beit HaShita. My kibbutz, Nir David, was down the road from this kibbutz, and when I read the article through the link to The Times of Israel and heard the group singing the prayer/song, it reawakened the sad memories that I experienced when I was living in Israel and saw so many of my peers injured and killed. Life is so fragile, and indeed who knows how our lives will unfold.
I want to thank Talia Lakritz for offering this background information to us at Shomrei and for making the experience of hearing her chant so personally meaningful for me.