Arba'im Shanah

by The Near And Far

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Arba’im Shanah (40 Years) is a musical exploration into self, relationship and faith; a collection of interpretations through melody and arrangement; and a creative experiment fueled by collaborative inquiry and connection across difference. My deepest wish is that this music provides hope, healing and inspiration during this time of great uncertainty. Perhaps more than ever, the world needs our creative energy and imagination.


released December 15, 2016

Dedication: This album is dedicated to Remy, my little muse, whose creative companionship helped bring these melodies into existence.


I am forever grateful to Adina, for being the driving force behind this project and an unending source of support. Thank you for sharing your wisdom of our tradition, for helping identify the texts used in the album and for lending your beautiful artwork for the cover.

Thank you to my generous family for all of your support along the way. To my Dad and sister (Andrea) for singing on the album. To Pat and John for diving in and being a huge part of this journey in every conceivable way.

Thank you to my dear friend, Ben Wilkinson, for designing the album's cover art and for sharing your wisdom so generously.

Thank you to all of the amazing musicians from near and far for offering your talent and craft to make this music come alive. To Becca for your friendship and angelic voice. To John for your commitment, leadership and creative energy. To Tim for your musicianship and for being an unexpected learning partner. To Myles for your steady hand in bringing the album over the finish line.

Jeff Kasowitz (acoustic guitar, vocals)
Rebecca Bloomfield (vocals)
John Lacques (drums, percussion, flute)
Tim Frantz (guitars, mandolin, bass, organ, string pad)
Dan Rothchild (electric and upright bass - tracks 2,4,5 & 7)

Also featuring: Noah Thomas (trumpet, theremin), Clarissa Bitar (oud),
Andrea Kasowitz (vocals), Lee Rollag (fiddle), Laura Mihalka (cello), Adina Allen (vocals), Mark Kasowitz (vocals), Myles Boisen (bass, percussion), Paul Fitzgerald (upright bass) & Jim Rankin (bass).

I am grateful to the Jewish Federation of the East Bay for financial support which allowed this project to be bolder and more ambitious than it would have otherwise been.

Arba'im Shanah was recorded at Mountain Dog Musicworks (Oak View, CA), mixed and mastered by Myles Boisen, Guerilla Recording (Oakland, CA), and co-produced by John Lacques and Tim Frantz.



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Jeffrey Kasowitz Berkeley, California

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Track Name: Her Ways / Etz Chayim Hi
עֵץ חַיִּים הִיא
לַמַּחֲזִיקִים בָּהּ
וְתמְכֶיהָ מְאֻשָּׁר
דְּרָכֶיהָ דַרְכֵי נעַם
וְכָל נְתִיבותֶיהָ שָׁלום
הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ ה' אֵלֶיךָ וְנָשׁוּבָה
חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם

Etz chayim hi
lamachazikim bah
v'tom'cheha m'ushar.
D'racheha darchei noam
v'chol n'tivoteha shalom.
Hashivenu Adonai eilecha v'nashuva
chadesh yameinu k'kedem

She is a tree of life
To those who grasp her
And all who uphold her are happy (Prov 3:18)
Her ways are ways of pleasantness
and all her paths are peace (Prov 3:17)
Return us, O God, to You, and we shall return.
Renew our days as of old. (Lam 5:22)
Track Name: 40 Years / Arba'im Shanah
וָאוֹלֵךְ אֶתְכֶם
אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה בַּמִּדְבָּר
וְלֹא נָתַן לָכֶם
לֵב לָדַעַת
וְעֵינַיִם לִרְאוֹת
וְאָזְנַיִם לִשְׁמֹעַ
עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה:

Va-olech etchem
arbaim shana bamidbar
v’lo natan lachem
lev l’da’at,
eynaiyim lirot,
oznayim lishmoah,
ad hayom hazeh

I led you through the desert for forty years (Deut 29:4).
And did not give you a heart to understand, eyes to see or ears to hear until this very day (Deut 29:3).
Track Name: Words Matter / Yih’yu L’ratzon
יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן אִמְרֵי פִי
וְהֶגְיוֹן לִבִּי לְפָנֶיךָ
ה' צוּרִי וְגֹאֲלִי

Yhi’yu l'ratzon imrey fee
v'hegyon libi l'fanecha
Adonai tzuri v'goali

May the words of my mouth and the meditations
of my heart
Be acceptable to You,
O God, my Rock and my Redeemer (Amidah)
Track Name: Kickin' It Off / Ma’aseh V’reishit
בראשית ברא אלוהים
המחדש בטובו בכל יום תמיד
מעשח בראשית כאמור

B'reishit bara Elohim
Hamichadesh b'tuvo b'chol yom tamid
ma'aseh v'reishit ka'amoor

In the beginning God created (Genesis 1:1)
In God’s goodness, God renews the works of creation continually, as it is written... (morning service)
Track Name: Near And Far / Ya Ana
יה אנא אמצאך
ואנא לא אמצאך

דרשתי קרבתך
בכל-לב' קראתיך
ובצתי לקראתך
לקראתי מצאתיך

יה אנא אמצאך
מקומך נעלה ונעלם
ואנא לא אמצאך
כבודך מלה עולם

Yah ana emtza-achah
V’ana lo emtza’acha

Darashti kirvat’cha
B’chol libi k’ra-t’cha
U-v’tzeiti li-k’rat’cha
Li-k’rati m’tzaticha

Yah ana emtza-akcah
M’kom’cha na’aleh v’ne’elam
V’ana lo emtza’acha
K’vod’cha malei olam

Yah, where shall I find you?
And where shall I not find you?

I sought Your closeness
I called to You with all my heart
And going out to meet You
I found you coming toward me

Yah, where shall I find you?
High and hidden is your place
And where shall I not find you?
The world is full of Your glory

(Yehudah Halevi [1075-1141] Spanish poet)
Track Name: Go! / Lech L’cha
לֶךְ לְךָ
מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ
וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ
אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ

Lech l’cha
m’artzechah, u’mi’moladetechah,
U’mi’beit avichah
El ha aretz asher arekah

Go forth
From your land, from your birthplace,
From your father’s house
To a land that I will show you
(Genesis 12:1)
Track Name: Beyond Measure / Eilu D’varim
אלו דברים שאין להם שעור
גמילות חסדים

Eilu d’varim she’ain lahem shiur
G’milut Chasadim

These are the things without measure...
Acts of loving kindness
Track Name: To Come / Lecha Dodi
לְכָה דוֹדִי לִקְרַאת כַּלָּה
פְּנֵי שַׁבָּת נְקַבְּלָה

שָׁמוֹר וְזָכוֹר בְּדִבּוּר אֶחָד הִשְמִיעָֽנוּ אֵל הַמְּיֻחָד
יְיָ אֶחָד וּשְמוֹ אֶחָד
לְשֵׁם וּלְתִפְאֶֽרֶת וְלִתְהִלָּה
לְכָה דוֹדִי...

לִקְרַאת שַׁבָּת לְכוּ וְנֵלְכָה
כִּי הִיא מְקוֹר הַבְּרָכָה
מֵרֹאשׁ מִקֶּֽדֶם נְסוּכָה
סוֹף מַעֲשֶׂה בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה תְּחִלָּה
לְכָה דוֹדִי...

הִתְעוֹרְרִי הִתְעוֹרְרִי
כִּי בָא אוֹרֵךְ קֽֽוּמִי אֽוֹרִי
עֽוּרִי עֽוּרִי שִׁיר דַבֵּֽרִי
כְּבוֹד יְיָ עָלַֽיִךְ נִגְלָה
לְכָה דוֹדִי...

בּֽוֹאִי בְשָׁלוֹם עֲטֶרֶת בַּעְלָהּ
גַּם בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְצָהֳלָה
תּוֹךְ אֱמוּנֵי עַם סְגֻּלָּה
בּֽוֹאִי כַלָּה, בּֽוֹאִי כַלָּה
לְכָה דוֹדִי...

Lecha dodi likrat kala, p’nei Shabbat n’kabelah!

Shamor v’zachor b’dibur echad,
Hishmi’anu el ha’meyuchad.
Adonai echad u’shmo echad;
L’shem ul’tiferet v’l’tehila.
Lecha dodi...

Likrat Shabbat l’chu v’nelcha,
Ki hi m’kor ha’bracha.
Me’rosh mi’kedem n’sucha;
Sof ma’aseh b’mach’shava t’chila.
Lecha dodi...

Hit’oreri, hit’oreri,
Ki va orech, kumi uri.
Uri, uri, shir daberi;
K’vod Adonai alai’yich nigla.
Lecha dodi….

Bo’i v’shalom, ateret ba’ala,
Gam b’simcha uv’ tzhala.
Toch emunei am segula;
Bo’i chala, bo’i chala.
Lecha dodi...

Come, by Beloved, to greet the bride; let us welcome the Sabbath

“Observe” and “Remember” in one act of speech, The One and Only God made us hear. The Lord is One is God’s name is One, For renown, for splendor, and for praise.

To greet the Sabbath, come let us go, for blessing, she is the source. From the outset, as of old, ordained: Last in deed, first in thought.

Wake up, wake up, for your light has come: rise, shine! Awake, awake, break out in song, for God’s glory is revealed on you.

Come in peace, O crown of her partner; Come with joy and jubilation, among the faithful of the treasured people. Enter, O bride! Enter, O bride!

(Kabbalat Shabbat service // translation: Koren Siddur)
Track Name: How To Be Grateful / V’chol Hachayim
וכל החיים יודוך סלה
ויהללו את שמך באמת

V’chol ha chayim yoducha selah
V’hallelu et shimchah b’emet

May all that lives thank You always
And praise Your name faithfully (Amidah).
Track Name: Through Darkness, Light / Golel Or
גולל אור מפני חשך
וחשך מפני אור

יוצר אור ובורא חשך
עשה שלום ובורא את הכל

Golel or mipney choshech
v’choshech mipney or

Yotzer or uvoray chosech
Oseh shalom uvoray et ha-kol

Rolling away light before darkness
And darkness before light (evening prayer)

Forms light and creates darkness
Makes peace and creates all (morning service)
Track Name: rsk / Hashkiveinu
'השכיבנו ה
אלהינו לשלום
והעמידנו מלכנו לחיים

Hashkivenu Adonai
Eloheinu l’shalom
V’ha-amideinu malkeinu l’chaim

Lay us down, God,
Our God of peace,
And cause us to rise, our king, to life again
(Evening prayer)