Like Father, Like Son- Cantor Sarah Sager introduces us to Noah Aronson, Artist in Residence

This post on “If Not Now, When?” the interactive blog of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple is an introduction by Cantor Sarah Sager to our upcoming artist-in-residence, musician Noah Aronson, who will join us the weekend of September 23-25, 2016 for special programs at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple on Friday and Saturday evenings, and at our Religious School’s annual retreat at Camp Wise for families, parents and children on Sunday, September 25. We encourage you to read more about Cantor Sager’s remembrance of Noah’s father, Cantor Ted Aronson, and Noah’s unique gifts, in the post below, and to share information about the upcoming weekend with others, make comments or add questions below.

His father was already a well-known Cantor when I entered the Hebrew Union College-School of Sacred Music and studied some of the contemporary music Cantor Ted Aronson had commissioned and encouraged! It was a pleasure to meet and come to know him.  He always warmly welcomed and accepted me, which I never assumed, given that I was one of the first women in “his” field.   I always admired his voice, his professionalism, his humanity, his creativity and his commitment to the cantorate and the Jewish people.

Imagine my delight, to find a generation later, that his son, Noah Aronson, had entered the field of Jewish music – not as a cantor, but as a composer, teacher, and performer. In fact, while his name may not be familiar to our congregants, some of his music most definitely is!  He is the composer of the beloved rendition of Bar’chu that begins by asking, “Am I awake, am I prepared, are you listening (God) to my prayer?”  This setting is heard again in our wonderfully popular, innovative Shofar Service on Rosh Hashanah morning, also composed by Noah.  Another of his most creative and beautiful compositions is his setting of the traditional Hebrew of “Hashkiveinu”, interwoven with a poetic interpretation of the prayer found in our Mishkan Tefilah prayer book on the opposite page:  “Let there be love and understanding among us…”

I have had the pleasure of learning from Noah, of praying with him, and of listening to his performances, as many of my colleagues have. In every instance, the experience was moving, uplifting, authentically spiritual and/or great fun!!!

Among those who admire his music, are well-known Jewish composers and performers who are well-known to this congregation:

“With all of his heart with all of his soul, Noah is a true original who pulls deeply from our rich Jewish roots. He is constantly growing and sharing his abundant gifts and we are all richer for having him in our presence.”

Craig Taubman –

“Noah Aronson is writing some of the most sensitive, sophisticated, and welcoming Jewish music I have heard in a long time. I feel strongly that Noah’s creative voice will resonate for years to come throughout the liberal Jewish world.”

– Dan Nichols

While we have had the pleasure of singing and worshipping with his music, we are in for a very special treat this coming Selichot weekend – when Noah Aronson himself will be here!! He will join our rabbis and me for worship on Friday night, September 23, and then will be our featured leader of our Selichot experience, on Saturday night, September 24!!  He will be joined by our Hava Nashira—Jr. Choir with whom he will work and rehearse his own music.  We are thrilled that he will be here, to share the beauty of his music and the beauty of his soul in story, song, and outstanding musical expertise.

Noah’s background and credentials are impressive:

He earned a degree in Jazz Composition and Piano from Berklee College of Music in Boston and held the position of Composer-in-Residence at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Noah conducted the Manhattan HaZamir Choir from 2008-2010 and his choral music received an honorable mention for the 2009 GTM Young Composer’s Award.

Noah released his first solo Jewish album in May 2011 and the title song ‘Am I Awake’ was a winner in the New Voices song competition in July 2011. From 2010-2012, Noah sang with the award-winning a capella group Six13. Noah’s second full length album entitled ‘Left Side of the Page’ sets to music some of the poetic selections from the Mishkan Tefilah Prayer Book. He had the distinct honor of presenting his music and leading over 5000 people in Shabbat worship at the 2013 URJ Biennial.

Noah serves on the faculty of several Jewish music conferences including the annual Hava Nashira and Shabbat Shira workshops at the URJ OSRUI camp and the Shirei Chaggiah workshop in London England. Noah’s music is now sung in progressive communities worldwide and has been included as part of the cantorial curriculum at the Hebrew Union College Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in New York City where he currently resides.


We look forward to welcoming Noah Aronson to our congregation, to listening to him, to learning from him, and to singing his new songs with passion and spirit as we usher in the New Year.