Saturday, November 8, 2008
"Adon Olam" is a synagogue hymn that often closes Shabbat morning services. It can be sung to any tune, and there are many traditional ones (including a Sephardic tune with alternating Ladino verses that our congregation often uses). But since it marks the end of several hours of services, it's also often the occasion for slight levity. Some of our service leaders have gotten in the habit of singing it to popular tunes that fit the theme of the day. The lyrics are in iambic tetrameter and fit a number of tunes surprisingly well (most famously, "Take me Out to the Ball Game," although in that case the fit is a bit awkward). Today we sang Adon Olam to the tune of "Hail to the Chief," and it was amazing how this strophic march, originally written in 1821 to a lyric by Sir Walter Scott, fit the Hebrew words perfectly.