Adon Olam / She Carries Me

When liturgy is changed, it’s vital to respect WHAT the liturgy did and not just what it said. Liturgy exists within a liturgical field, which is the words, they way they are said, how it feels to say them, when they are said, if they are sung, who says them, if they are part of the service that is usually the same every time, and more.

As Fringes developed and we came to understand this, we were always looking for ways to blend the new and the familiar, in order to make the new feel familiar, and sometimes to make the familiar new. Within a synagogue we belonged to, one member loved a song by Jennifer Berezan called “She Carries Me.” (watch a stunning performance on a mountain in South Korea) This song, while from another tradition, beautifully mirrors the themes of each verse of Adon Olam, but it wasn’t working in synagogue life. The melody was too hard for a group to sing together, and, while hearing a song performed is wonderful, it is not the same as singing together. At some point, Otter realized that the Berezan lyrics would fit most Adon Olam melodies, and chose a High Holiday melody (best version I can find online). We began singing it at kol isha/feminist services within that synagogue, and brought it with us into Fringes.

Sung to Adon Olam, “She Carries Me” BECAME Adon Olam. The melody carries the weight and emotional memory of the original, while the lyrics carry our idea of divinity as in-dwelling.

We’ll be uploading video and/or audio of our own songs soon

Jennifer Berezan‘s lyrics:

She Carries Me
Jennifer Berezan

She is a boat, she is a light
High on a hill in dark of night.
She is a wave, she is the deep.
She is the dark where angels sleep.
          When all is still and peace abides
          She carries me to the other side.
          She carries me, she carries me,
          She carries me to the other side.
And though I walk through valleys deep,
And shadows chase me in my sleep,
On rocky cliffs I stand alone;
I have no name, I have no home.
          With broken wings I reach to fly;
          She carries me to the other side.
          She carries me, she carries me,
          She carries me to the other side.
A thousand arms, a thousand eyes,
A thousand ears to hear my cries.
She is the gate, she is the door;
She leads me through and back once more.
          When day has dawned and death is nigh,
          She carries me to the other side.
          She carries me, she carries me,
          She carries me to the other side.
She is the first, she is the last,
She is the future and the past.
Mother of all, of earth and sky,
She carries me to the other side.
          She carries me, she carries me
          She carries me to the other side.
          She carries me, she carries me,
          She carries me to the other side.

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