The blues-rock jam is equally irreverent and introspective, joking about drinking cheap wine (or perhaps, not joking) while reflecting on how hard it is to escape the stress of a normal week: “Your mind is wandering, thinking about, the day after tomorrow / who will I be, what will I do, what trends am I going to follow.”
The song was originally written in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when, as Jewish life moved online, Kalisch and Moss did weekly Havdalah services over Zoom and Facebook live.
To keep viewers engaged, they wrote a new song for Havdalah that they named The Shavua Tov Song. The lyrics poked fun at the universal experience of virtual programming: “There is no Havdalah song written for times like quarantine / so we thought we’d write our own, make sure you don’t turn off the screen.”
Kalisch and Moss debuted the song on the Zoom for Refugee Shabbat, an initiative to raise support and awareness from the refugee agency HIAS. Seeing people singing along, it felt like a hit.
Since then, the lyrics have been retooled to have less to do with the pandemic, and another version of the song, titled “The Shana Tova Song,” is now sung at Temple Israel’s Neilah service during Yom Kippur. Moss hopes “that the success of ‘The Shavua Tov Song’ video leads to a global recording of ‘The Shana Tova Song’ with many musicians and congregations participating from around the world,” he said.
The music video, published on Thursday, shows the recording of the song — sponsored by donors from Temple Israel in Minneapolis — at The Hideaway Studios in Northeast Minneapolis.
Artists featured in the recording include JEWBALAYA, a New Orleans-klezmer crossover band with Kalisch, Moss, Rabbi Marcus Rubenstein of Temple of Aaron, drummer Jesse Simon, clarinetist Dan Perelstein, trombone player Erin Baldinger, and Jason Swalley on tuba.
Also involved were Sulia Rose Altenberg, a singer and actress involved in Six Points Theater; Sadie Stillman, a 14-year-old congregant at Temple Israel; Riv Shapiro, the arts & culture producer at the Minnesota JCC; Danny Tolchiner, a Temple Israel member and bass player; and Berek Awend, a keyboard and guitar player who is also part of a Jewish songwriting duo with his wife Amanda Awend.
LOVE THIS SONG AND MUSIC!!!!! ✡️❤️✡️❤️✡️❤️❤️✡️
You guys are such an amazing group!!
I want to hear more!
When can I attend the concert!??!
I just think you guys are onto something!
I absolutely love your sound, the music, the lyrics, the whole vibe!
Jeanne – TOA
Wow! I love this joyful, jazzy, bluesy, Jewsy new tune. Can’t wait to hear more!
Great song! I can see this everywhere! I’d love to know it’s making the rounds for all the youth group Shabbatons,conventions, and summer programs. Don’t stop there- I can see this resonating with kids and adults of all ages! Fabulous!
Thank you Sara. This week was the debut of the song, but we agree! It could have great resonance with kids/adults at all sorts of gathering. Help us spread it!
Thanks Jeanne, JEWBALAYA is playing at Temple of Aaron on Thursday, February 2. See you there!