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The idea of doing a music video for VBS emerged as an outgrowth of online streaming services we produced for the High Holy Days during Covid, when no one could come to services in person.

Conversations began in May 2023 around a table with Rabbi Lebovitz, Cantor Rafii and veteran TV producer/director Steve Pearlman, who has been at the helm of our High Holy Day streaming services for the past three years.

The vision was clear: show all the different parts of our cherished VBS community coming together to celebrate the joy and n'shama (soul) of Valley Beth Shalom, blending deep-rooted traditions with a look ahead to a new future - all the while taking into account the incredible legacy of music at Valley Beth Shalom.

The melody of this piece is based on an original arrangement of a Brazilian Capoeira Melody ("Paranaue") that Rabbis Miriam Margles and Joshua Boettiger brilliantly adapted to fit the text of Psalm 150. Cantor Rafii loved the melody from the moment she heard a recording by Rabbi Margles, and she has been teaching and singing it with VBS students and community members across all generations since she joined the VBS community last year. VBS' Associate Music Director, Daniel Raijman, produced the new recording that you hear in this video.

Take a look at some behind-the-scenes photos and facts!

Fun Fact: The recording studio in Studio City where we filmed this special video has hosted Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, The Steve Miller Band, The Ramones... and now our three Cantors!

Fun Fact: The camera team used a skateboard to shoot big arcing moves around Cantor Rafii on the piano and our other musicians!

Fun Fact: Densmore Avenue may not be Abbey Road, but we had a drone for our shot! The Beatles did not :)

Fun Fact: The upcoming project, which took over 25 hours to shoot during July and August, was filmed all over the VBS campus, including this shot of Rabbi Lebovitz actually walking across the hanging rope bridge on the jungle gym!

Fun Fact: Editing the video (which is 3 minutes long) involved combing through over five hours of footage to find the best shots!

Fun Fact: Rabbi Feinstein was in Israel during the shooting of the video so we had to film him separately! (Why is he at Tel Aviv Grill? Find out on September 5!)

Fun Fact: Our dance sequences were designed and directed by choreographer Paul Becker, who has worked on many hit TV series, including "Once Upon a Time," "The Last of Us" and "Riverdale"!

Fun Fact: MB Gordy recorded drums for us (not pictured here, that's Cantor Baron!); he has performed with The Doobie Brothers, Green Day, Neil Diamond, REO Speedwagon, The LA Philharmonic, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and now he can add VBS to his impressive resume!

Sat, June 22 2024 16 Sivan 5784