Before the concert began, Scott Horwitz, our CBS Board President, spoke briefly, expressing how grateful he and the CBS Board are for the support provided by the Parnas Fellowship, and how proud he is when he talks to people from outside the CBS community about what’s happening on our campus today. Immediately following Scott’s remarks, a congregant stood and offered an impromptu kol hakavod to Scott, Rabbi Glazer, and the CBS Board for their leadership and hard work over the last year-and-a-half. Both Scott’s comments and those of the congregant received big rounds of applause.
Following Scott’s comments, Book of J, a side project of musicians Jeremiah Lockwood and Jewlia Eisenberg, performed four sets of Cohen songs for a capacity crowd in SFJAZZ’s Joe Henderson Lab. Each set was introduced by Rabbi Glazer, who provided illuminating, humorous, and often moving anecdotes or context gleaned from Tangle Of Matter & Ghost. Book of J was fabulous; their Cohen covers were distinctive and compelling – it was impossible not to tap your foot or sing along. The concert provided an introduction to Rabbi Glazer’s effort, in his new book, to “find Cohen,” who was presented throughout the evening as something of a mystic in exile. This experience of exile is fundamental to Jewish identity – in the preface to Tangle Of Matter & Ghost, rabbi and scholar Shaul Magid writes, “Cohen writes his home where he is. And therein lies his Jewishness!” Magid also uses the term, umheimlich (uncanny), which Freud used to describe things that are familiar, yet foreign at the same time. Maybe a sensitivity to this kind of cognitive dissonance is the special province of the Jewish artist? After all, the best art and mysticism allow us to see the mundane anew – familiar, yet foreign, or even extraordinary.
Rabbi Glazer plans to have a book release party for the entire CBS community at Toy Boat Dessert Café on Clement Street in early June. Details are forthcoming. To our Parnas Fellowship members, todah rabbah (thank you very much)!
Check out some photos from the evening below and see even more on our CBS Facebook page.