In Memoriam

One more ‘niggun,’ please

Sing with your eyes shut tight and your heart wide open -- that's what my grandfather Velvel Pasternak did. Join me in honoring his memory
My grandfather, Velvel Pasternak. Behind him is a background of a very small part of the music book collection he has published over the years. (Naava Pasternak Swirsky)
My grandfather, Velvel Pasternak. Behind him is a background of a very small part of the music book collection he has published over the years. (Naava Pasternak Swirsky)

I have a request for this coming Shabbat.

I really want you to sing.

This past week, my beloved grandfather, Velvel Pasternak, passed away. While we are experiencing a huge personal loss, the whole world has lost an incredible man who dedicated his life to Jewish music for over six decades.

My grandfather found, recorded, notated, and published Chassidic, Yiddish, Ladino, Chazanut, Israeli folk music and so much more. Over 150 books have been published through his business, Tara Publications Jewish Music, something that had never ever been done until his time. He brought music into this world, and — as I’ve been hearing so much over the past few days — ignited the souls of Am Yisrael through his work.

Family collection of three generations: Velvel and Goldie Pasternak, my mother Naava Pasternak Swirsky on the left, and me on the right

My request is this: Pick a niggun for this Shabbat.

A Jewish song.

An Israeli song.

A song full of fire and soul. I don’t care what you choose.

Sing it over Shabbat. At the Shabbat table, with family, with friends. At your local youth movement or in Shul with your congregation, hum it on the way to your shiur or at seuda shlishit. Sing in memory of Ze’ev Ben Chaim Yosef, our dear Velvel Pasternak.

Music and song have such great power. They bring people together, they connect us to our past, and remind us that Am Yisrael Chai. Continue my grandfather’s legacy —
sing with your eyes shut tight and your heart wide open.

If you would like to learn more about Velvel Pasternak or have a story to share, please visit the memorial page set up in his name on Facebook.

About the Author
Bazy (pronounces Bah-zee) is the Daughter of Olim from the US. Bazy grew up in Beit Shemesh which they say is just a five minute drive from Israel and is probably part of the reason she can speak in English today. Married +2, she is the proud owner of Busy Bazy, running team building activities while making sure people laugh and smile every day.
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