Ma Tovu

Commemorating the merger between Temple Emeth Shalom and Congregation Beth Judah, and with an eye on the structural and cosmetic changes made to our building, the two-year mark seemed like a propitious time for a party. I titled it a “reDedication” (initially it was re:Dedication, get it? but wiser heads prevailed) and intended it to be a celebration of collaboration.
In mulling over what would be appropriate for the event, Ellie suggested that I write a new melody for something that the Reform and Conservative services could use and, therefore, could sing together. “Ma Tovu”, a text from Torah (Bemidbar / Numbers 24:5) seemed most fitting.
“Ma Tovu” is a verse that we are to recite upon entering a prayer space; in my translation, “How pleasing your homes, b’nai yaakov (desccendants of Jacob), the places you pray, am yisrael (people Israel).” The melody works as a round.
Sheet music and MP3 of the melody are posted above.
A group of singers, representing both constituencies, will premier the piece at the reDedication celebration on Sunday. When I have a recorded version with music and lyrics, I will post that on the Shirat Hayam web site.
Meantime, you are welcome to hum or whistle the tune as you enter your personal or communal prayer spaces.