Everything you've ever 
wanted to know about.....

Aish HaKodesh, but were afraid to ask .....
(because I would go on and on and on...and on... and on......)

The 5 "W's":

Who?  Robbi with Producer Extraordinaire, Herb Belofsky and the bestest friends and musicians in the biz!
What? Thirteen funky-fresh original songs - in Robbi's inimitable folk, funk, Jewgrass (Huh?)  and rock stylings.
When? The official release date is  August 7, 2004 (see "Why?")
Where?  The "Live Music Capital of the World," Austin, Texas, of course!
Why? August 7, 2004, is the third anniversary of the whitewater accident. Click here for more info. .... 
The amazing art behind the Holy Fire Click here.

A bit of history:
My first CD, Todah LaChem (thanks, y'all!) was released four years ago and I had such an outstanding experience collaborating on it with other Jewish musician friends, I knew someday I would have to do it again!

Three years ago, while in the midst of a whirlwind tour to promote the CD, I had the afore-mentioned whitewater accident.  While recovering physically and emotionally, I wrote my first song about the accident, entitled: "Cast Into the Water."  I decided that I would try even harder to live life to the fullest and no longer procrastinate regarding my future.  It was then I decided to formally pursue the cantorate and in the process of doing that (see: What? Year in Colorado?!) many of these songs came to me. You'll notice there is no song entitled "Cast Into the Water" on Aish HaKodesh. That is because Herb Belofsky, in his infinite wisdom - my close friend/producer/drummer/ "brother- in-another-life" knew early on that this was not going to be a CD that wallowed in the past. Herb was adamant that anything that I wrote about the accident not be included.  Instead,  subtly we found many ways to use water in our production - keep listening for the sounds of water as you come with us on this journey......

The Songs:

Aish HaKodesh (The Holy Fire) 
Music & Lyrics: Robbi Sherwin

Really, the title and concept for the song comes from a conversation I had with the wonderful Adrian Durlester in a hotel room in San Antonio while preparing for the upcoming CAJE conference there. Adrian and I (and other musicians and educators, I'm sure!) often wonder what it is that sparks us, keeps us going and rewards us in our work.  I define the 'holy fire' as an internal combustion - the Spark that bestows upon us the ability to do what needs to be done creatively in a challenging world. I saw the Holy Fire under the Poudre River - it was bright yellow and very warm and it challenged me to get up....  

Acoustic guitar: Scott Leader 
Lead Electric Guitar: Kenny Grimes
Bass: "One Take" Rich Stanmyre
Drums: Herb Belofsky,
Percussion: Sam "That's my Boy!" Jordan
Piano: Sam Glaser
Harmony vocals: Sam Glaser


Moses caught the fire - that bush wasn't black - that Holy Fire burning
It stopped Pharoah in his tracks - a lesson he'll be learning
At the foot of Sinai, we were given Torah - that Holy Fire burning
Now there is no heading back, but we keep on yearning

Chorus: Aish Hakodesh, aish hagadol, Holy Fire burning in my soul
Aish HaKodesh aish hagadol, greater than the world has ever known.

Who's caught the fire - I want to know - that Holy Fire burning
Let us light the inner light - exploring on this journey
Fire's safe and fire's warm - that Holy Fire burning
Your love keeps us safe from harm - may we keep on returning

Chorus: Aish Hakodesh, aish hagadol, Holy Fire burning in my soul
Aish HaKodesh aish hagadol, greater than the world has ever known.

Keep us warm, keep us whole, aish hakodesh, aish hagadol
Fire us up to return to you - hashiveynu see us through

(aish hakodesh - the Holy Fire; aish hagadol - the great fire, hashiveynu - return us.)


Music: Robbi Sherwin  Text: liturgy

The call to worship - it arouses us out of our preparation as we begin the real work of prayer. This meditative version was written for a healing service at Temple Sinai in  Denver.

Bar'chu et Adonai ham'vorach!
Baruch Adonai ham'vorach, l'olam va'ed!

(Praise be to God to who all praise is due! Praise be to God to who all praise forever and ever!)


Bass:  Rich Stanmyre
Drums/Percussion: Herb Belofsky
Lead electric guitar: Kenny Grimes
Flutes: David Perkoff
Cello: Danny Levin

Hu Ya'aseh 
Music & Lyrics: Rich Glauber and Robbi Sherwin

Rich taught me this song at my very first CAJE conference, in (yes!) San Antonio in 1998. Through the years I have added to it - a verse and a bridge - changed the groove a bit and made it my own - LONG LIVE the folk process! Thanks to my very favorite Jewish soul man for bringing this one to the world. I love you, man! Long live Green Mountain and playing squeezebox in the streets of downtown Denver!  And sneaking into Rockies games ......


Acoustic guitars: Scott Leader
Bass:  Rich Stanmyre
Drums/Percussion: Herb Belofsky
Lead guitar: David Hamburger
Sax: Sam Lipman
Scat vocal: Steve Brodsky, harmony vocal: Noah Budin
The Holy Fire Angel Choir:  Steve Brodsky, Noah Budin, Sam Glaser, Abby Gostein, Eric Komar, Scott Leader, Amy & Matt O'Desky


Chorus:  Hu ya'aseh, ya'aseh shalom, aleinu, hallelujah!

God cannot do it alone, we must do this together (hu ya'aseh shalom...)
We must work for peace, every sister and brother (hu ya'aseh shalom...)
No, God can't do it alone, we've got to do our part (hu ya'aseh shalom...)
We've got to use a little muscle, show a little heart (hu ya'aseh shalom...)

Spread over us your shelter of peace today (hu ya'aseh shalom...)
From Jerusalem to Gaza and the USA (hu ya'aseh shalom...)

You can feel it in the mountains, in the rhythm of the sea
It went out beyond the desert, its the ruach that we seek
We can make the greatest difference, with our hands and with our hearts
Blessing the world, and each other is just the start.

(God makes peace - but its up to us - Praise God!  Ruach = spirit)

Text: liturgy, Music: Robbi Sherwin

I'm calling this my "Jewgrass" V'shamru, for obvious reasons.  I'll admit that I have gotten into country music in the last few years - funny, I lived in Texas for so long, yet a move to Colorado got me started... go figure!  Anyway, this one of the many cases of Herb Belofsky, my producer, totally reading my mind.  This song is EXACTLY what I heard in my head when I wrote it.  When Danny Barnes recorded the banjo, I wept because he was so amazingly good.  This is also the only song that I did the harmony - I had so many amazing singers with me, it wasn't necessary, although next to eating chocolate, singing harmony is my favorite thing to do in the world.


Acoustic guitar: Scott Leader
Banjo: Danny Barnes
Fiddles/Mandolin: Ron Knuth
Drums: Herb Belofsky
Bass: Rich Stanmyre
Harmony vocals: Moi!


V'shamru v'ney Yisrael et haShabbat
L'asot haShabbat l'dorotam berit olam

Beyni u'vein b'ney Yisrael
Ot hi l'olam

Ki sheshet yamin asa Adonai
Et hashamayim v'et ha'aretz

U'vayom ha'shivi'i
Shavat v'yinafash

(For all the children of Israel shall keep Shabbat, doing what is fitting through all their generations to make Shabbat an eternal covenant between Me and the children of Israel, a sign throughout all time and space. For Adonai did the work of heaven and earth six days, and on the seventh day God ceased to work, rested and breathed a new soul into the world.)

I Am Your Angel 
Music & lyrics: Robbi Sherwin

This is a blatant love song about someone who wants to see inside another and is begging to be let in.  After reading Anita Diamante's The Red Tent, I was struck by the love story she created between Jacob, who only wanted Rachel, but got "stuck" with Leah, and Leah, who turns out to truly be the mother of our people and the rock that held the family together. Jacob -  Israel - was the angel-wrestler.  Leah loved Jacob and Jacob loved Leah, much to my surprise.  I always thought of her as the reject - this story really touched me.  OK, really - it is a blatant love song.  This is the first recording of my new group, Nashuva ("we return") with Abby Gostein and Amy O'Desky.


Piano: Scott Leader
Bass: Rich Stanmyre
Drums/chimes: Herb Belofsky
Cello: Danny Levin
Bowed stand-up bass: Mark Rubin
Violins: Ron Knuth
Flutes: David Perkoff

Harmony Vocals: Abby Gostein & Amy O'Desky



I can listen to your stories, you make me laugh for hours on end
Open up a window, let me fly through
Please let me in
I can look into your soul, if you let me, I'll help make you whole
We both know its for a very brief time
Let me open my wings and we'll climb

I am your angel
Come into the circle of my wings
We could be learn many things, you and I

I am your angel
I have the key to unlock your door
Follow me, we'll see what's in store, you and I 

I have sought you in many places
How could we erase all the passion denied?
I can't tell you why this place and this time
But I know its yours and mine... let's take flight
You bring me down a notch or two
In your knowing gaze, I'm most shy 
Though I'm looking deep inside of me,
I still can't answer why

I am your angel
Come into the shelter of my wings,
We could be so many things, you and I 
I am your angel,
Even tho' the halo's slipping fast
We know this time can't last
You and I

Be my lover, be my friends, as we seek the journey's end
I am your angel, there's no danger, let me in 

I am your angel, let me embrace you with my wings
We'll find many songs to sing, you and I. 
Let me be your angel, let me enfold you in the clouds
We'll soar high above the crowds, you and I.

Day of Wonder
music & lyrics: Robbi Sherwin

I wrote this for the wedding of Andrew Johnson, my adopted son, and his wonderful wife, Carly. It was the only song I didn't record at the Woodshed with Herb - I wanted Sam Glaser's beautifully expressive keyboard to tell the story of the hope and joy I felt over this union. Recorded at Glaser MusicWorks in Los Angeles, CA, with just piano and voice. 

Piano: Sam Glaser


Day of wonder, night of magic
God created love and light this day
Hearts of passion intertwining
Those who love you will never be the same

Gown of white, eyes that sparkle
Seven blessings fill the air
Circle each other, rings on your fingers
Your new life will take you everywhere

May your life be filled with music
As our hearts are filled with cheer
May laughter fill your days 
And always joyful be your tears
As we turn round the seasons celebrating life with you
May you bring your children to the chuppah, too

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melech ha'olam
Shehechianu, v'kimanu, vi'higianu
Lazman hazeh

(Blessed are you God, who has kept us, sustained us and enabled us to reach this joyous occasion.)

Build Her Up!
Music & Lyrics: Robbi Sherwin

I wrote a melody for the morning bakashot (petitionary) blessings) a few years ago, but I've been wanting to write a song specifically about the bakasha "bonei Yerushalayim" - Blessed are you, God, the Builder of Jerusalem. What exactly does it mean to "build" Jerusalem? Is it cranes and stones? Is it excavations? Is it schools that teach tolerance?  Is it equal rights for all those who seek and love peace? Yes! - we are God's partner in building Jerusalem - physically, emotionally, spiritually!


Acoustic Guitars: Scott Leader
Drums: Herb Belofsky
Percussion: Sam Jordan/Herb Belofsky
Bass: Rich Stanmyre
Sax: Sam Lipman
The Holy Fire Angel Choir:  Steve Brodsky, Noah Budin, Sam Glaser, Abby Gostein, Eric Komar, Scott Leader, Amy & Matt O'Desky


We're gonna) Build her up (3x)

Miriam's chorus after the sea (Build her up!)
Timbrels chiming as our people danced free (Build....)
Joshua blasted the walls and down they go (Build....)
We marched straight into Jericho! (Build....)

Deborah led the charge and the battle was won (Build....)
Building Jerusalem for everyone (Build....)
Gates of gold and hills of fire (Build....)
Resounding with drum and David's lyre (Build....)

Gather us all in strength we pray
Together we can build a better way
Hope and peace for all to see
Jerusalem in harmony
And its all up to you and me

Baruch Ata Adonai, Boney Yerushalayim
Gam anachnoo lev Yerushalayim

(Blessed are you God, Builder of Jerusalem. We, too, are the heart of Jerusalem.)

Music: Robbi Sherwin; text: liturgy

After a long conversation with the incomparable Rabbi Ray Zwerin of Temple Sinai in Denver, I wanted to create a Michamocha that reflected first the awe and then the joy of the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. I love the bass line that "one take" Rich Stanmyre created to give this song its groove and make it such a happy piece.


Acoustic Guitars: Scott Leader
Electric Guitar: Kenny Grimes
Drums: Herb Belofsky
Percussion: Sam Jordan/Herb Belofsky
Piano: Sam Glaser
Bass: Rich Stanmyre
Harmony vocals: Sam Glaser & Cantor Martin Levson


Ya lai...lai...
Michamocha ba'elim Adonai, mikamocha nedar bakodesh
Norah t'hillot oseh feleh, oseh feleh?
Malechutecha rau vanecha, bokey ayam lifnei Moshe
Zeh eli anu v'amru Adonai yimlock l'olam va'ed

V'enemar ki fadah Adonai et Ya'acov
U'galo miyad chazak mimenu
Baruch ata Adonai ga'al Yisrael

(Who is like you, Holy God, among all the gods that are worshipped? Who can compare to you, adorned in holiness, awesome in praises, doing wonders?  In our escape from the sea, Your children saw you display Your power. "This is my God!" they cried. We, the redeemed, sang a new song to Your name. At the shores of the Red Sea, saved  from destruction, we proclaimed Your sovereign power: The Eternal shall reign for ever and ever! Blessed are You, God, Israel's redeeming power!)


Precious Possession
Music and Lyrics: Robbi Sherwin

After my whitewater accident in 2001, the sentiments to this song became even clearer.  I wrote this based on a sermon I had heard from Hymie Samuelson, a businessman, mensch and supporter of all congregations in Austin. He had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  I believe that Hymie is one of the Lamed Vavniks - one of the 36 truly righetous people who roam the world at any given time.  He is my teacher and my friend and continues to be one of my greatest supporters.  This song is based on his words and deeds. He is now in his 80s - may he live to 120!


Piano: Scott Leader
Bass: Rich Stanmyer
Drums/Percussion: Herb Belofsky
Flutes: David Perkoff
Cello: Danny Levin
Violins: Ron Knuth
Harmony vocal: Steve Brodsky


What's my most precious possession? Is it home, is it love on my mind?
No, not my family, or a material thing - those things are not really mine.
Is it God in all infinite wisdom, is there anything else I can find?
No, not these things, none of them are real
My most precious possession is my time.

I'll give you my time, if you promise to see
I'll give you my, it is so precious to me
I'll give you my time, so willingly
I'll give you my time, will you give yours to me?

Time is very free, like the air we breathe
We can give it with love, or begrudge it with hate
We each use it in our own way
Don't rob me with your lateness, and I won't steal your time from you

Time is ours for taking at the moment of birth
It is something we cannot bribe
What a heavy burden, how we'd long to have more
Time can be the destroyer of our lives

Is it God in her infinite wisdom?
Is there anything else I can find?
No, not these things, none of them are real
My most precious possesion, is my time.


Yom Zeh Mechubad
Music: Robbi Sherwin
Ok, so lets have some fun! I remember the excitement of the marketplace (shuk) in Jerusalem as everyone is buying, selling, pushing, shoving and partying their way into Shabbat.  It was Herb's idea to use Sam's amazing beat box abilities to modernize this song and we recorded it three times straight through and Mark Hallman and Herb had a ball with the editing.

Totally live! with:

Mark Rubin, Stand-up bass
Sam Jordan, Beat box


Yom zeh mechubad mikol yamim. 
Ki vo shavat tzur olamin. 

(This is the most blessed day that God has chosen to rest...)

Ed Comment: yeah, like God can rest with all this noise...


Ma'ariv Aravim
Music & lyrics: Robbi Sherwin & Katy Jordan

Written with my daughter, Katy Jordan (now 17 and senior in high school!) under the stars at 10,000 feet while camping at Guanella Pass's Burning Bear Campground. Katy still gets a bit embarrassed when this one is played - it's our first co-write {look for a Chanukah song: "One Little, Two Little" (NO, not Indians.....!) soon!} We were just admiring God's handiwork in the Rockies (not hard to do!) and this came to us.  I had been wanting to write a usable Ma'ariv Aravim, as it seemed to be one of the prayers most often read than sung in congregations I've attended.  Kids really get into this round.


Acoustic Guitars: Scott Leader
Drums: Herb Belofsky
Bass: Rich Stanmyre 
Fiddle: Ron Knuth
Harmonica: Andrew Halbreich
Harmony vocals: Steve Brodsky, Sam Glaser & Cantor Martin Levson

Blessed is the One Who makes the evening fall
Blessed is the Spirit Who guides us all

Baruch Ata, Adonai, ha'ma'ariv aravim

Shechina, Shechina

(Blessed are you, God, who makes the evening fall. The Shechina is the feminine, nurturing essence of God.)


I Turn to You
Music & Lyrics: Robbi Sherwin
Hebrew from Psalm 121

When I moved to Colorado for my year of discovery and studies, my close friends, Kelly and David Finkel, of Austin, gave me a beautiful print. The print, in shades of purple, orange & red, (note colors of my CD jacket, as well) was of the mountains and below it a quote from Psalm 121 - "I lift my eyes to the mountains: from where does my help come?"  I always joke that maybe its the altitude, but I feel closer to God in the Rockies. They wanted  me to have something special in my new home. David (who is an outstanding photographer and who did my photos for Aish HaKodesh) also made a beautiful wooden frame. It hung above my table, where I ate and worked. Within days, I had written this song - the story of my journey and of my feelings about the Rockies. David and Kelly are two of the most loving and giving people I have ever met - this is to give back, with love. 

Note: Alhough Eric Komar, from Brooklyn, is featured on other songs, as well, this showcases his amazing guitar playing and vocals.  Watch for that name! That's Eric Komar.

Another Note: this is one of the "water" songs - can you hear it? Can you find the other water song on Aish HaKodesh?


Acoustic guitars: Eric Komar
Lead acoustic: Dave Ducharme-Jones
Bass: Rich Stanmyre
Drums: Herb Belofsky
Percussion: Herb Belofsky, Sam Jordan
Background vocals: Eric Komar  
also Andy Van Dyke and Dave Ducharme-Jones 
(with Rich Stanmyre and Herb Belofsky, they are "The Rainravens."


Sometimes I know I can't get very far, no matter how hard I try
Life pulls me away and down paths... I don't know..
Should I laugh or should I cry?
But I look to the West and my mind seems to clear
I understand now what I need to hold dear
Esa einai el heharim
I lift my eyes to the mountains - and there I find you
I turn to You.

Life's full of struggles of right and of wrong
You've given me the power to chose
Sometimes desire is found in a song
Despite the win, I pay the dues
We're connected by heart, by soul and by choice
I thank you, Adonai, for this still small voice
Esa einai el heharim
I lift my eyes to the mountains, and there I find You.
I turn to You

I turn to You in the momentary madness of my being
I turn to You in the opening of childbirth I have seen
I turn to You in my loneliest times, I turn to you and make you mine
Esa einai el heharim, ma'ayin ya'vo ezri
Ezri, ezri me'im Adonai
Oseh shamayim v'aretz
I turn to You

(I lift my eyes to the mountains, from where does my help come? My help comes from Adonai, Maker of heaven and earth.)

Adon Olam
music: Robbi Sherwin, lyrics from liturgy

At concert at Hofstra University in August, 2004, Steve Brodsky and I remarked from the stage, completely in unison and without rehearsing: "Just what the Jewish world needs - another "Adon Olam!"  OY! 

Here's a slightly Sephardic version - OK, call it a hybrid TexMex version, which truly features the outstanding guitar and vocal talents of Scott Leader.  Without Scott, this album would not have its punch and I would never have gotten this far in the Jewish music world.  I could not imagine doing it without him, and not only did he do outstanding guitar and piano work on this album, but his ideas were overflowing, fresh and funky.  People ask me to describe our relationship all the time - Scott is family - he is the older brother to my kids, the eye and ear candy in our performances and my best and worst critic. He's as comfortable on stage or on the bimah with me, as he is trying to beat the pants off of my son, Sam, in a video game. He puts up with very biting criticism from daughter, Katy. See Scott Leader for more info. on how we met.  When Scott is performing on his own, which he does beautifully, Steve Brodsky says I look like a kvelling mom.  I am.  Scott is a part of us.


Scott Leader, Acoustic rhythm & lead guitars
Rich Stanmyre, bass
Herb Belosky, drums, percussion, Gipsy Kings clappin'
Sam Jordan, percussion
Ron Knuth, mandolin
Harmony vocals: Scott Leader
("oohs:" Steve Brodsky, Amy & Matt O'Desky, Abby Gostein)



Adon olam asher malach, b'terem kol yetzir nivrah
L'eit nasa b'cheftso kol azai melech shemo nikrah
Adon olam, adon olam asher malach

Ve'acharei kichlot hakol levado yimloch nora
V'hu haya v'hu hoveh, v'hu yih'yeh b'tifarah
V'hu yih'yeh, v'hy yih'yeh b'tifarah

V'hu echad ve'ein sheni lahamshil lo lehachbira
B'li reisheet, b'li tachlit v'lo ha'oz v'hamisra
V'hu Eli, v'chai go'ali, v'tzur chevli be-eit tzara
V'hu nisi, umanos li, menat kosi b'yom ekrah

Beyado afkid ruchi, be'eit ishan v'ah-ira
V'im ruchi g'viyati adonai li v'lo ira
V'im ruchi
Adonai li
Adonai li v'lo ira