Friday, September 26, 2008

Learning Birkat Hamazon

Typically, I like to post a "get in the Shabbat groove" video. This week I'm going to do something a bit different. As I've mentioned before, I've been gradually working on improving my family's Shabbat practice. In addition to a nice supper with candles & blessings, we've added some simple z'mirot and I tell the kids a story from the Torah which may or may not align to the Parsha depending on how kid-interesting I think I can make the Parsha (and, honestly, if I've read the Parsha in time). It's been going great and the family is ready and eager for more. You should have seen my little ones last week, all well scrubbed and proud as punch yodeling along with me as we sang Eli, Eli*.

Tonight I'll be introducing the Birkat Hamazon, the grace after meals. I first learned it back in my synagogue youth group, but have rarely sung it since. So...out to the internet to find a video of someone singing it to remind me of the melody. I'd hoped to find a video of some group singing with a lot spirit. Unfortunately, all of the videos I found either had terrible sound quality or were broken up into a bunch of fragments.

This video, while lacking a bit in ruach, did the trick. The video was put together by Conservative Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg who has a whole series of similar videos. I have a copy of B'Kol Echad, the bencher that Rabbi Ginsburg, is holding in the video and highly recommend it. You can get a copy through the Project Z'mirot folks at USY.

Jewish Songs Series 1 Birkat Hamazon

Wish me luck!

* By the way, I wanted to give yet another plug for the wonderful Oy Baby series of DVD's and CD's. My little ones were first exposed to Eli, Eli on Oy Baby 2. When I introduced it as a Shabbat Z'mirot they were delighted. My 5 year old almost has the Hebrew down cold.


Debbie said...

Thank you for the memories - I went to Camp Ramah about 35 years ago and the songs for Friday Night are about all I remember. Where can I buy the book that you read/sang the birchat hamazon from?

Jack said...

Hi Debbie, I'm glad you enjoyed it. The book that my family uses on Shabbat is "B'kol Echad - In One Voice, Shiron with Grace After Meals
Edited by Cantor Jeffrey Shovitz." It's a standard "bencher" used by Conservative Jews in the US. You can find it at most local or online Judaica stores. has it for about $3.

David said...

If you find yourself needing to say Birkat Hamazon and you don't have a bencher around and it's not a Yom Tov, yet you happen to have an iPhone, iPod Touch or an iPad, then you can get a best bencher app - iBirkat and recite Birkat Hamazon in a nussach of your choice.

Oh, and here is the link:

Addman said...

Hi All - Here's a link to our new Musical Bentching App for iPad - and Audio CD Download

iPad App

Audio CD

Hear the tunes being sung as you follow and learn the words. Beautiful musical production.
(No Hebrew reading required)

The App is based on the popular "Complete Bensching CD" available on iTunes and amazon etc.

All my Love and best wishes,

Cantor Adam Davis
JHB,South Africa

(PS Please note the different spelling of App and CD if doing a google search.)

Jack said...

Cantor...I'll check it out. Looks neat.