While Madonna and other celebrities have made it fashionable in recent years to pursue Kabbalah, guitarist and composer Adam Del Monte has the musical sophistication and spiritual depth to explore Jewish mysticism beyond the trendy or superficial. In his new piece, “Kabbalistic Intonation From the Hebrew Alphabet,” Del Monte delves deeply into the meditative and musical aspects of each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Del Monte will perform his new composition on numerology as one of two world premieres at the Jan. 8 concert of Synergy, a chamber ensemble of the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity. The performance will take place at the Emanuel Arts Theater in Beverly Hills.
Of Kabbalah, Del Monte says, “There is a high-level of consciousness, bringing down energy from the spheres in a way that affects our physical life.” To do that, “you need to be a pure vessel,” which is why some scholars have suggested that no one truly study Kabbalah until reaching at least the age of 40.
The Israeli-born Del Monte, though a year shy of 40, brings much life experience to his new work, which incorporates elements of his Sephardic, classical and flamenco expertise. He traveled for years in Spain, learning flamenco in the caves of Granada with gypsies. He discovered that flamenco derives from Sephardic roots. His present surname, given to him by gypsies, comes from a major thoroughfare in Granada.
Regarded as a virtuoso classical guitarist, Del Monte believes that there is sacredness to a name.
“Every sound, every letter, every shape of letter gives birth to a specific frequency of vibration, and, when combined with other letters, incarnates specific energies and characters,” he says.
Del Monte “makes a connection between each letter of the Hebrew alphabet in musical pitch,” says Neal Brostoff, the music coordinator of Synergy.
The January concert, dubbed “Nefesh — Music From the Soul,” will also include the world premiere of “Arba-a Bavot Niggun D’Alte Rebbe,” which Brostoff terms a “Chasidic jazz fusion,” composed by pianist Sha-rone Kushnir — as well as works by Betty Olivero and Andrew Bleckner.
Synergy’s “Nefesh — Music From the Soul,” concert will be held Sunday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m., at the Emanuel Arts Theater, 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills. To R.S.V.P., call (323) 658-5824 or e-mail
Life is a puzzle, don’t you think? It’s just not always that easy to put all the pieces together in order to see the big picture. But the more we practice, the better we get at it. So, here are a bunch of fun puzzles to get your juices going!
Can you answer these questions from this week’s portion, Shelach-Lecha?
How many spies did Moses send into Israel?
The spies came back spreading lies about Israel. What did they say?
a. The land is bad for planting
b. The inhabitants are as big as giants
c. The country is covered in grasshoppers
Only two of the spies said the land was good. What were their names?
a. Reuven and Levi
b. Joshua and Caleb
c. Menashe and Efraim
Start with the number of Dalmatians in the title of the Disney movie, minus the number of commandments on the tablets, minus the number that is the square of 3, plus the number of stars you need to see in the sky to know that Shabbat is over.
Or, in simple terms:
of 3 + stars = ?
What number do you get?
Unscramble the 16 letters below to make a common three-word phrase for a victorious contestant:
E E F I I I N N R R R S T Z
F __ __ __ __ P __ __ __ __ W __ __ __ __ __