Sabbath services usually aren't toe-tappers. And they've fallen off in popularity among the under 50 crowd. But that's changing in Los Angeles, where music veteran Craig Taubman teams with a rabbi once a month for a pulsating Sabbath service. The service draws as many as 1,600 people, 20 year-olds and 40 year-olds alike. The services have irked a large contingent of rabbis who consider electric guitars more suitable for camp than synagogue.

Raised in a Conservative Jewish family, Taubman found success writing music for television (HBO's "Happily Ever After"), film (Disney's "Recycle Rex"). His dozen CDs include whimsical children's recordings about babysitters and bullies, as well as introspective adult pieces that wed ancient Jewish teachings with contemporary life.

"Friday Night Live" shows Taubman at his best. He puts familiar prayers, like the "Shema," to modern music-a formula Christians from Martin Luther to Michael W. Smith have used. Taubman shows reverence for tradition by favoring Hebrew lyrics and relying heavily on clarinets, mandolins, and accordions to create traditional Jewish sounds. Rather than skirting tradition, Taubman embraces it with a poignant new voice that gives Jews a reason to tap their toes.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus