By Rebecca Bar, Director of Operations, Bible Raps
There are very few places where Jewish educators and professionals of all denominations and affiliations can mingle with new immigrants, Yiddish socialists, outspoken activists, various Rabbis, and summer campers. But during Bible Raps’ 1st Annual Hip Hop, Text, and Judaism Retreat, we did just that by touring through, and writing about, the National Museum of American Jewish History.
Designed to bring the richness of Jewish wisdom, history, and traditions to life through original albums, creation of participant-generated rap songs, and music videos, Bible Raps educates and inspires Jewish people to see Judaism as a living and breathing experience, fostering a generation that self identifies with Jewish wisdom and heritage. At our retreat, we brought together 12 participants interested in learning our methods and taking them back to their own communities and organizations.
The weekend began with a guided tour of the Museum, where participants had an opportunity to take notes on areas that interested them. We then enjoyed a spiritual Kabbalat Shabbat to end our first day, with thoughts of Leo Max Frank, JTS, and Isaac Mayer Weiss percolating. In preparation for writing our final song, what eventually became “Good Morning America,” we spent the evening practicing making raps together. Using actual text from the Museum exhibits and the skills learned over the weekend, Saturday night we created as a group, first working on the hook and chorus about the history of American Jews, and then each participant had a turn on the mic for their specific verse. The collaboration was really a highlight and that energy comes through in the song. A retreat participant noted, “The concept of the retreat was great and the end project was fun. Everyone wanted to be there, which was the most beautiful aspect of the whole weekend.” It was a celebration!
The last day of our retreat, we went back to the Museum for shooting and the participants rapped in front of the exhibits -- the ultimate video shoot location! We’re so thankful for the opportunity to work with the National Museum of American Jewish History and invite you to enjoy the music video about the history of Jewish life in America, entitled “Good Morning America.”
We are excited for our 2nd Annual Hip Hop, Text, and Judaism retreat later this year. If you’d like to be a part of it, please be in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.