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October 7, 2015 | 24th Tishrei 5776
Home  /  Worship, Music and Spirituality  /  iWorship Wisdom Archives  /  Music--Copyright, Recording, Production  / 
Music--Copyright, Recording, Production

  1. Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia/Elkins Park, PA did a CD last year. It was fairly inexpensive, I'm told. It was very well-received by the congregation. Contact Roy Feinberg, executive director at 215.627.6747.
    1200 member units

  2. Our Cantor, David Goldstein, has made and distributed a music CD featuring much of the Shabbat liturgy. Also, he has recorded and produced CDs from special concerts. He can be reached via email at:

  3. We had a mixed experience with musical CDs this year. We hosted the 2004 Long Island Temple Choir Festival (seven choirs) and wanted to have a musical memory of the event. Our recording subcommittee, remembering the poor results that we had with hand held recorders in the past, hired a professional to record and duplicate the CD.

    The good news was that the professional recorded eight tracks that he reduced to two when he made the master CD. (It actually took two CDs.) He was able to reduce some poor sounds and highlight some better ones. The quality was an order of magnitude better than we had done in the past, and it would not be effected by aging.

    The bad news was that there were not enough orders to buy the CDs to cover all the costs. With the fee, over $400, for recording and duplication of fifty disk sets (including labels), we took a loss on this part of the project.

    If I were to do this again, I would attempt a compromise (e.g., professional audio tape, amateur CD producer, etc.) or find a less expensive supplier.

    For a sample of the CD quality, go to, our Temple web site and click your way to the choir festival.

    For more information, contact me or the subcommittee chair.


  4. The discussion about congregational CDs of worship music is very exciting. It's a great way to develop a common congregational repertoire. Many of our congregations have done this, and some even have created more than one CD over the years as their worship music has grown and developed.

    A few semi random thoughts on creating such a CD:

    1. Be clear about your goals for this CD. That will help you decide everything from money to instrumentation.
    2. Don't miss educational opportunities. If you want congregants to be able to participate more in worship, then make sure that words are well-articulated and that you include the texts in Hebrew, transliteration and translation.
    3. It's a wonderful "welcome" gift to new members.
    4. While you want the CD to be good quality (so people will listen to it frequently), don't use a 10-piece band on the recording if you never have that kind of accompaniment during services.
    5. Instead of selling the CD, you may want to find a few families to underwrite the cost so that you can give them away.
    Rabbi Sue Ann Wasserman, Director
    Department of Worship, Music and Religious Living
    Union for Reform Judaism

  5. Many of you have participated as delegates to the Union?s Biennial conventions and received a CD with music for Shabbat worship upon your registration for the conference. Creating a CD involves many layers of preparation. You will want to establish a list of repertoire that is to be included, discern whether you will be recording new versions of this repertoire, or seeking permissions to use previously recorded material. You will also need to develop a budget that includes monies for studio musicians, singers, arrangements of music, studio time, duplication costs, packaging, liner notes, and to decide if the CD is to be sold or given away. Feel free to consult with me, in the Department of Worship, Music and Religious Living, 212.650.4193, if I can help you to clarify some of the details involved in this process. Before embarking upon any project, it is paramount that you acquaint yourselves with the legal issues that are involved in recording any CD--regardless of whether you intend to give away or sell the CD. Below is a message from the editorial staff at Transcontinental Music Publications. It contains basic information, as well as a link to the Transcontinental Music Publications Web site, which will provide further detail.
    Cantor Alane S. Katzew
    Director of Music Programming
    Union for Reform Judaism
    "Any piece of music (except for those that have passed into public domain) is the property of the Copyright holder. This can be the composer, arranger (or their estates or benefactors), or the publishing company. Recording and distributing this music, regardless of whether or not the recording is sold or given away, must legally be covered by a Mechanical License for each piece recorded. This includes recordings to help the congregation learn tunes, concerts, and choral festivals. If Mechanicals are not in-hand, a piece may not be recorded legally--a reputable recording engineer will ask to see them before agreeing to record. The procedure for securing Mechanical Licenses and the formula for calculating cost can be found on the Transcontinental Music Publications Web site Licensing is not expensive, but a law suit from the Copyright holder is."

  6. At [our congregation], the senior rabbi and the cantorial soloist created professional CDs of the Shabbat morning and Shabbat evening music (separate CDs). One copy of each CD was given to each member family. Additional copies were made available for $10 each. The CDs are useful in helping to create a sense of community by allowing people to learn the music at home. (It may help that the rabbi is also a cantor who has made other professional recordings.)
    750 members

  7. Our cantor has created four CDs over the past few years, including Holy Days music, two versions of Shabbat, and one for kids including camp and family service tunes. When I travel and visit other synagogues, I take a set with me and donate them to the rabbis.
    920 units

  8. Temple Sinai, Pittsburgh, PA ( has also produced a CD of their liturgical music.

  9. I belong to a Jewish music list, and I know that there is an issue with congregations producing CDs without getting permission for copyrighted material. I think many musicians are generous in giving permission, but it's not right to use it without obtaining permission.
    28 families


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