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Ronu Shamayim Instrumental Guitar Praise from Israel

Rejoice, O Heavens! Instrumental Guitar Praise from Israel

Ronu Shamayim

Michael Nissim is a 27-year-old Israeli believer in Y'shua whose parents taught him to love the Lord and to love Israel. He began taking piano lessons at the age of six and then progressed to trombone and drums. When he was 14 he fell in love—with the guitar! After a few lessons, he was determined to learn the instrument on his own and began to plan and arrange songs for his own enjoyment.

Serving in the Israeli army brought Michael a new realization of his need for God and an increased desire for holiness. He developed a new appreciation for contemporary messianic worship songs and for some of the classic hymns of the faith. His friends asked him to record some of his music so they could enjoy it all the time. "Ronu Shamayim" is the eventual result.

Nissim's years of playing and his intense love of the Lord are evident on this album, which contains his instrumental guitar renditions of 13 songs: two are classic hymns, one a praise chorus, one an original composition by Shmulik, Michael's brother, and nine are worship songs composed by Israeli believers that are regularly sung in Israel's messianic congregations. To each, Nissim deftly manages to add a unique flair.

Michael's style often imparts a classical feel. In "Hodu L'Adonai Ki Tov" ("Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good"), he creates moving contrapuntal lines that are reminiscent of a Bach chorale. He uses that same technique on "Beneath the Cross of Jesus" to highlight moving bass lines, creating interest and adding variety to the multiple stanzas.

"He is Lord" begins as a simple praise chorus. After a straightforward first verse, Michael adds musical zest with countermelodies and chord substitutions on verse two and a "Spanish guitar" flavor on verse three. He then closes the song as simply as he began it.

"Shalom Rav" ("Great Peace") by David Loden is a classic messianic worship song in both Israel and the United States. Michael's version is simple and uncluttered and highlights both the beauty of the melody and the subtleties of the chord structure.

In "Yesh li Otcha, Yeshua" ("I Have You, Jesus") a second guitar part gives added weight to the melody. Though purely instrumental like the rest of the record, this song really "sings"—you'll feel as if you can almost hear lyrics.

Singer and composer Elisheva Shomron wrote four of the songs on the album. "Lo Gavah Libi" ("My Heart Is Not Proud") has a beautiful and haunting melody, as does "Leman'an Zion" ("For the Sake of Zion"). Nissim brings out the beauty of both pieces by varying his style from verse to verse while remaining true to the spirit of each song.

The album closes, fittingly, with David Loden's beautiful "Ram VeNisa HaMashiach" ("High and Exalted Is the Messiah"). This classic nicely completes this stylish collection of worship and praise to Y'shua the Messiah.

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You Are My God

Jewish gospel" is a genre of music most people are unfamiliar with. It borrows from both the Jewish and the gospel idioms, yet it is a sound all its own. Some of it approaches a klezmeresque feel; as if it were written for a new production of "Fiddler on the Roof." Then there is also the hint of "old time religion" spirituals in the themes of heaven, forgiveness, redemption and personal peace.

You Are My God

Jonathan and Cindy Bernd

This album combines both excellent musicianship and superb vocals. The 14 original Jewish gospel selections are in Hebrew and English and written by Jonathan Bernd, a skilled pianist, guitarist, violinist and producer. His wife, Cindy, matches his instrumental talents with an exceptional instrument of her own. Her powerful voice has a commanding range, and her sensitive phrasing effectively weds lyrics and music.

Jonathan is the grandson of German Jews who died in Auschwitz during the Holocaust, and the son of a father who narrowly escaped the same fate, fleeing to England as a ten-year-old refugee. Jonathan studied classical piano, dabbled in Marxism and eventually looked into the claims of Y'shua (Jesus). Bernd was surprised to find that faith in Jesus did not diminish his Jewish identity, but instead reinforced it. His wife, Cindy, who is also Jewish, grew up in affluent Southern California in the Reform tradition. She's the granddaughter of Eastern European immigrants who suffered in the pogroms. Before marrying Jonathan, she traveled as part of The Liberated Wailing Wall Jewish gospel music group.

To sample their music, just go to:
http://www.jewsforjesus.org/resources/audio

To order this music on CD or cassette online, go to:
http://store.jewsforjesus.org

If you mention in the "comments" box (on the web page where you finalize your order) that you saw a review in ISSUES, you'll get a 15% discount."
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Jewish Gospel Favorites

Jewish gospel" is a genre of music most people are unfamiliar with. It borrows from both the Jewish and the gospel idioms, yet it is a sound all its own. Some of it approaches a klezmeresque feel; as if it were written for a new production of "Fiddler on the Roof." Then there is also the hint of "old time religion" spirituals in the themes of heaven, forgiveness, redemption and personal peace.

Susan Mendelson

For a good breadth of messianic music, Susan Mendelson belts out a great selection of songs from some of the top Jewish gospel music composers: Lamb, Israel's Hope and The Liberated Wailing Wall. She brings her own interpretation to these tried and true "favorites."

Mendelson, an accomplished songwriter in her own right, is a graduate of the Crane School of Music. Her own odyssey of faith is unusual, inasmuch as she grew up as a "nice Jewish girl from Long Island" who pursued a country music career. Though she had a national release that made the charts, Susan battled devastating stage fright for years. Finally, she cried out for God's help in 1990. That's when she met Jesus and her life took on a new purpose and direction.

She has recently completed an international solo tour to the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, which showcased her warm-hearted blend of messianic music, humor and testimony.

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