All your questions for Naomi Adler, Esq., answered! This week’s question:
What Jewish melody holds special meaning for you?
There’s a well-known melody for the prayer over bread, the Motzi, that begins with the words, “We give thanks to G-d for bread”: That’s a very special tune to me, because my father wrote it. Yes, really.
My father, Samuel Adler, is a classical composer — a student of Aaron Copland and others — and a man very in touch with his Judaism. In the 1950s, while working as the music director for Temple Emanuel in Dallas, he wrote wonderful melodies for different prayers, and his rendition of the Motzi became so loved that it was submitted to the Reform movement’s biennial convention. It earned a place in the Reform movement’s songbook, and began to be taught in synaogogues, summer camps and households across the country.
Generations have grown up with that melody, all around the world. It’s a tune so familiar that people assume it’s a time-honored tradition. Which is a funny thing to think about, when it’s something that was created by your own dad. But that just serves as a reminder to me of the difference one person can make. I think about that, and about my father, each time I sing the Motzi.