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Rabbi Shefa Gold: Giving Voice to Sacred Texts

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Illustration by Brett Affrunti

 The author of The Magic of Hebrew Chant, Rabbi Shefa Gold is also a recording artist and the director of the Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice in New Mexico. She spoke with Rabbi Rami Shapiro about combining her background in Judaism with Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Native American spiritual traditions.I’ve been told by many spiritual teachers, especially within the Hindu tradition, that the most powerful spiritual practice for our time is chanting. Would you agree with that?I’m not going to speak for everyone, but for me, chanting—the musical and rhythmic repetition of a sacred phrase from a holy text—has been the doorway into the depths of my own heart and into the heart of my inheritance, Judaism. For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the sounds of Hebrew prayer, not just for what they meant but for where they could take me.  I found that if I focused in on one phrase, repeating it with a compelling melody, then that phrase could transport me to expansive heights and fathomless depths.The phrase you inherit from Judaism, but the&n …

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