Alphabet of Wrongdoing

by Daniela Gesundheit

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  • ALPHABET OF WRONGDOING - SPECIAL EDITION

    WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE IN THIS PACKAGE:
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    Instant Download of the full Alphabet of Wrongdoing album in your preferred format
    PDF of Alphabet of Wrongdoing 108 page full color libretto (emailed to you within three days of purchase)
    Relentlessly good vibes

    ***PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL AND MAILING ADDRESS WHEN YOU ORDER SO WE CAN SEND YOU THE LINK TO THE DIGITAL LIBRETTO AND THE POSTCARD***


    This companion 108 page full-color ebook is a libretto, a roadmap to follow in sequence while listening to the album, or you can turn to any page, regarding each facet you encounter as a koan that can hopefully illuminate the more esoteric aspects of this work. This debut collection of poems and essays asks, Can we transmute a world’s weight of unforgivable acts, an Alphabet of Wrongdoing? Both the album and the book investigate communal gestures of forgiveness - attempts to "Restore dignity to existence through music…" (poet Alan Felsenthal)

    Designers Brankica Harvey and Ken Deegan took an artful dive into the realm of typography to reveal the alphabet to us anew. The book also features stills from a video for All Our Departed, directed by Johnny Spence, filmed by Caitlin Woelfle-O’Brien, choreographed by Erin Poole, and performed by Erin Poole, Eric Cheng, and Daniela Gesundheit.

    *You may also apply this purchase as a credit towards the double LP box set and hardcover book which will be out in 2021.

    10% of proceeds will go to The Loveland Foundation. No one turned away for lack of funds. Send an email to hello@alphabetofwrongdoing.com for more information.

    Excerpt from Alphabet of Wrongdoing Digital Libretto:

    We have un-vowed, we have pounded our hearts open, we have prostrated ourselves on forest floors, pine needles pressing into our bellies, and we have fissured our hardened shells all to see if there is some shining, iridescent yolk of incorruptibility inside of us. From that place, where the shards of who we once were somehow fertilize the soil around us, a date palm begins to grow in rapid time-lapse. The summation of brokenness feeds the date palm, moves up its proud, upright trunk as sap, moves into its branches, first as blossoms and then as sweet endless fruit. Just glimpsing the palm sway we feel more whole, more alive: “fresh and full of sap.” This perpetual transmutation is justice.



    Artwork, typography, and layout by Brankica Harvey and Ken Deegan
    Cover photograph by Dawn Garcia
    Edited by Kristen Bulger (English) and Dana Reginiano (Hebrew)
    Fonts Flecha and Grifo designed by Rui Abreu of R-Typography
    Booklet photographs by Caitlin Woelfle-O’Brien
    The images are stills from a video for All Our Departed, directed by Johnny Spence, choreographed by Erin Poole, featuring Erin Poole, Daniela Gesundheit and Eric Cheng

    Includes unlimited streaming of Alphabet of Wrongdoing via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Can we transmute a world's weight of unforgivable acts, an Alphabet of Wrongdoing ?
    10% of all proceeds will go to The Loveland Foundation. No one turned away for lack of funds. Send an email to hello@alphabetofwrongdoing.com for more information.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $7.77 USD  or more

     

1.
 יְהוָה יְהוָה אֵל רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב-חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן וָפֶשַׁע וְחַטָּאָה וְנַקֵּה YHVH filled with Motherlove, slow to anger, gracious, great in covenantal love and truth: Keeping love for the thousands within, forgiving iniquity and transgression, the missing of the mark, and acquitting.
2.
אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ חָנֵּֽנוּ וַעֲנֵֽנוּ כִּי אֵין בָּֽנוּ מַעֲשִׂים עֲשֵׂה עִמָּֽנוּ צְדָקָה וָחֶֽסֶד וְהוֹשִׁיעֵֽנוּ: אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ חָטָֽאנוּ לְפָנֶֽיךָ אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ אֵין לָֽנוּ מֶֽלֶךְ אֶלָּא אָֽתָּה אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ חַדֵּשׁ עָלֵֽינוּ שָׁנָה טוֹבָה אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ הָפֵר עֲצַת אוֹיְבֵֽינוּ אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ כַּלֵּה דֶּֽבֶר וְחֶֽרֶב וְרָעָב וּשְׁבִי וּמַשְׁחִית וְעָו‍ֹן מִבְּנֵי בְרִיתֶֽךָ אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ סְלַח וּמְחַל לְכָל עֲו‍ֹנוֹתֵֽינוּ אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ הַחֲזִירֵֽנוּ בִּתְשׁוּבָה שְׁלֵמָה לְפָנֶֽיךָ אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ שְׁלַח רְפוּאָה שְׁלֵמָה לְחוֹלֵי עַמֶּֽךָ אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ כָּתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר חַיִּים טוֹבִים אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ כָּתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר פַּרְנָסָה וְכַלְכָּלָה אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ כָּתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר זְכֻיּוֹת אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ כָּתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר סְלִיחָה וּמְחִילָה אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ חֲמוֹל עָלֵֽינוּ וְעַל עוֹלָלֵֽינוּ וְטַפֵּֽנוּ אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ פְּתַח שַׁעֲרֵי שָׁמַֽיִם לִתְפִלָּתֵֽנוּ אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ עֲשֵׂה לְמַֽעַן בָּאֵי בָאֵשׁ וּבַמַּֽיִם עַל קִדּוּשׁ שְׁמֶֽךָ Our Father, Our King — We have done wrong before You. Let this be a good year for us. Destroy the power of every oppressor. Remove from all Your children disease, war, famine, exile, and destruction. Forgive and pardon all our wrong-doing. May we return to You in earnest repentance. Send complete healing to all who are sick. Inscribe us in Your book for a life of goodness. Inscribe us in the book of sustenance. Inscribe us in the book of meritorious acts. Inscribe us in the book of forgiveness and reconciliation. Show mercy to us and our children. Open the gates of heaven to our prayer. Do it for the sake of those who went through fire and water to honor Your name. Be gracious and respond to us, for we have too few good deeds; act towards us with justice tempered by love, and redeem us.
3.
בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה יִכָּתֵבוּן, וּבְיוֹם צוֹם כִּפּוּר יֵחָתֵמוּן. כַּמָּה יַעַבְרוּן, וְכַמָּה יִבָּרֵאוּן, מִי יִחְיֶה, וּמִי יָמוּת, מִי בְקִצּוֹ, וּמִי לֹא בְּקִצּוֹ, מִי בַמַּיִם, וּמִי בָאֵשׁ, מִי בַחֶרֶב, וּמִי בַחַיָּה, מִי בָרָעָב, וּמִי בַצָּמָא, מִי בָרַעַשׁ, וּמִי בַמַּגֵּפָה, מִי בַחֲנִיקָה, וּמִי בַסְּקִילָה, מִי יָנוּחַ, וּמִי יָנוּעַ, מִי יִשָּׁקֵט, וּמִי יְטֹּרֵף, מִי יִשָּׁלֵו, וּמִי יִתְיַסָּר, מִי יַעֲנִי, וּמִי יַעֲשִׁיר, מִי יֻשְׁפַּל, וּמִי יָרוּם. וּתְשׁוּבָה וּתְפִלָּה וּצְדָקָה מַעֲבִירִין אֶת רֹעַ הַגְּזֵרָה. On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed: how many shall pass on and how many be created, who shall live and who shall die, who when their time comes and who before or after their time, who by fire and who by water, who by the sword and who by wild beasts, who by famine and who by drought, who by earthquake and who by epidemic, who by strangling and who by stoning; who shall have rest and who can never be still, who shall be serene and who torn apart, who shall be at ease and who afflicted, who shall be impoverished and who enriched, who shall be brought low and who raised high. But teshuvah, tefillah, and tzedakah repentance, prayer, and just action, have the power to change the character of our lives.
4.
5.
כָּל נִדְרֵי וֶאֱסָרֵי וּשְׁבוּעֵי וַחֲרָמֵי וְקוֹנָמֵי וְכִנּוּיֵי. וְקִנוּסֵי דִּנְדַֽרְנָא. וּדְאִשְׁתַּבַּֽעְנָא. וּדְאַחֲרִימְנָא. וּדְאָסַֽרְנָא עַל נַפְשָׁתָֽנָא. מִיּוֹם כִּפּוּרִים זֶה עַד יוֹם כִּפּוּרִים הַבָּא עָלֵֽינוּ לְטוֹבָה. בְּכֻלְּהוֹן אִחֲרַֽטְנָא בְהוֹן. כֻּלְּהוֹן יְהוֹן שָׁרָן. שְׁבִיקִין, שְׁבִיתִין, בְּטֵלִין וּמְבֻטָּלִין, לָא שְׁרִירִין וְלָא קַיָּמִין: נִדְרָֽנָא לָא נִדְרֵי. וֶאֱסָרָֽנָא לָא אֱסָרֵי. וּשְׁבוּעָתָֽנָא לָא שְׁבוּעוֹת: All vows, bonds, devotions, promises,  Obligations, penalties, and oaths wherewith we have vowed, sworn Devoted, and bound ourselves From this Day of Atonement  To the next Day of Atonement  May it come to us for good  All these we repent us of them They shall be absolved, released, annulled Made void and of no effect They shall not be binding  Nor shall they have any power  Our vows shall not be vows Our bonds shall not be bonds And our oaths shall not be oaths 
6.
אָשַֽׁמְנוּ. בָּגַֽדְנוּ. גָּזַֽלְנוּ. דִּבַּֽרְנוּ דֹּֽפִי. הֶעֱוִֽינוּ. וְהִרְשַֽׁעְנוּ. זַֽדְנוּ. חָמַֽסְנוּ. טָפַֽלְנוּ שֶֽׁקֶר. יָעַֽצְנוּ רָע. כִּזַּֽבְנוּ. לַֽצְנוּ. מָרַֽדְנוּ. נִאַֽצְנוּ. סָרַֽרְנוּ. עָוִֽינוּ. פָּשַֽׁעְנוּ. צָרַֽרְנוּ. קִשִּֽׁינוּ עֹֽרֶף. רָשַֽׁעְנוּ. שִׁחַֽתְנוּ. תִּעַֽבְנוּ. תָּעִֽינוּ. תִּעְתָּֽעְנוּ: Ashamnu– it’s our fault; Bagadnu– we have betrayed; Gazalnu– we have robbed; Dibarnu dofi– we were speechless; He’evinu– we have acted perversely; V’hirshanu– we have done wrong; Zadnu– we have presumed; Hamasnu– we have done violence; Tafalnu sheker– we have practiced deceit; Yaatsnu ra– we have counseled evil; Kizavnu– we have spoken falsehood; Latsnu– we have scoffed; Maradnu– we have revolted; Niatsnu– we have blasphemed; Sararnu– we have rebelled; Avinu– we have committed iniquity; Pashanu– we have transgressed; Tsararnu– we have oppressed; Kishinu oref– we have been haughty; Rashanu– we have acted wickedly; Shichatnu– we have dealt corruptly; Tiavnu– we have committed atrocity; Tainu– we have gone astray; Titanu– we have led others astray.
7.
8.
וְעַל כֻּלָּם אֱלֽוֹהַּ סְלִיחוֹת. סְלַח לָֽנוּ. מְחַל לָֽנוּ. כַּפֶּר לָֽנוּ: עַל חֵטְא שֶׁחָטָֽאנוּ לְפָנֶֽיךָ בְּאֹֽנֶס וּבְרָצוֹן: וְעַל חֵטְא שֶׁחָטָֽאנוּ לְפָנֶֽיךָ בְּאִמּוּץ הַלֵּב: עַל חֵטְא שֶׁחָטָֽאנוּ לְפָנֶֽיךָ בִּבְלִי דָֽעַת: וְעַל כֻּלָּם אֱלֽוֹהַּ סְלִיחוֹת. סְלַח לָֽנוּ. מְחַל לָֽנוּ. כַּפֶּר לָֽנוּ: עַל חֵטְא שֶׁחָטָֽאנוּ לְפָנֶֽיךָ בְּכַֽחַשׁ וּבְכָזָב: וְעַל חֵטְא שֶׁחָטָֽאנוּ לְפָנֶֽיךָ בְּכַפַּת שֹֽׁחַד: עַל חֵטְא שֶׁחָטָֽאנוּ לְפָנֶֽיךָ בְּלָצוֹן: וְעַל כֻּלָּם אֱלֽוֹהַּ סְלִיחוֹת. סְלַח לָֽנוּ. מְחַל לָֽנוּ. כַּפֶּר לָֽנוּ: עַל חֵטְא שֶׁחָטָֽאנוּ לְפָנֶֽיךָ בִּצְדִיַּת רֵֽעַ: וְעַל חֵטְא שֶׁחָטָֽאנוּ לְפָנֶֽיךָ בְּצָרוּת עָֽיִן: עַל חֵטְא שֶׁחָטָֽאנוּ לְפָנֶֽיךָ בְּקַלּוּת רֹאשׁ: וְעַל כֻּלָּם אֱלֽוֹהַּ סְלִיחוֹת. סְלַח לָֽנוּ. מְחַל לָֽנוּ. כַּפֶּר לָֽנוּ: For all our wrongs, God of forgiveness, forgive us, wipe the slate clean, grant us atonement. For the wrongs we did before you: coercion of our own free will hardening our hearts through idle talk and meaningless resolutions knowingly and deceptively by oppressing another person by using sex exploitatively by scoffing and mocking by lying and deceiving by accepting bribes in the foods we eat and the amount we drink by refusing to be generous by dismissing serious matters with a joke for our light-mindedness by betraying a trust out of confusion, unaware of the significance of our actions.
9.
אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים. שׁוֹכֵן בַּמְּרוֹמִים. הַמְצֵא מְנוּחָה .נְכוֹנָה תַּחַת כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה .עִם קְדוֹשִׁים וּטְהוֹרִים כְּזֹהַר הָרָקִיעַ מַזְהִירִים .לַנְּשָׁמוֹת יְקִירֵנוּ שֶׁהָלְכוּ לְעוֹלָמָם .בַּעַל הָרַחֲמִים יַסְתִּירֵם בְּסֵתֶר כְּנָפָיו לְעוֹלָמִים .וְיִצְרֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת-נִשְׁמָתָם .יְהוָה הוּא נַחֲלָתָם .וְיָנוּחוּ בְּשָׁלוֹם עַל-מִשְׁכָּבָם : וְנֹאמַר אָמָּן God, filled with compassion Grant complete repose to the souls Of all those we are remembering today Sheltered by Your divine wings May they join the company Of the holy and pure Who shine as bright as heaven Bring their souls Into the bond of life that With You as their portion They may rest in peace Amen
10.
מִזְמור לְדָוִד, יְהוָה רֹעִי לֹא אֶחְסָר. בִּנְאוֹת דֶשֶׁא יֵרְבִּיצֵנִי, עַל-מֵי מְנֻחוֹת יְנַהֲלֵנִי. נַפְשִׁי יְשׁוֹבֵב, יַנְחֵנִי בְמַעְגְלֵי-צֶדֶק לְמֵעֵן שְׁמוֹ. גַם כִּי-אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת לֹא-אִירָא רָע כִּי-אַתָּה עִמָדִי, שִׁבְטְךָ וּמִשְׁעַנְתֶּךָ הֵמָה יְנַחֲמֻנִי. תַּעֲרֹךְ לְפָנַי שֻׁלְחָן נֶגֶד צֹרְרָי, דִשַנְתָּ בַשֶמֶן רֹאשִי כּוֹסִי רְוָיָה. אַךְ, טוֹב וָחֶסֶד יִרְדְפוּנִי כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָי, וְשַׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים. A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Adapted from 1917 Jewish Publication Society Translation
11.
עֵץ חַיִּים הִיא לַמַּחֲזִיקִים בָּהּ. וְתמְכֶיהָ מְאֻשָּׁר: דְּרָכֶיהָ דַרְכֵי נעַם וְכָל נְתִיבותֶיהָ שָׁלום: הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ ה' אֵלֶיךָ וְנָשׁוּבָה. חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם: Truth is a tree of life for those who take hold of her, how fortunate are her supporters! Her ways are pleasant ways, her paths comprise peace. Bring us back to You, YHVH, that we might return, renew our life as in the days when You and we began.
12.
מִי כָמֹֽכָה בָּאֵלִם יְהֹוָה מִי כָּמֹֽכָה נֶאְדָּר בַּקֹּֽדֶשׁ נוֹרָא תְהִלֹּת עֹֽשֵׂה פֶלֶא Who is like You, YHVH, compared to the powers humans worship? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, doing wonders?
13.
14.
יְבָרֶכְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ׃ כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן יָאֵ֨ר יְהוָ֧ה פָּנָ֛יו אֵלֶ֖יךָ וִֽיחֻנֶּֽךָּ׃ כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן יִשָּׂ֨א יְהוָ֤ה פָּנָיו֙ אֵלֶ֔יךָ וְיָשֵׂ֥ם לְךָ֖ שָׁלֽוֹם׃ כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן May God Bless you and watch over you. May God’s face shine toward you and show you favor. May God look favorably upon you, and grant you peace.
15.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה. Blessed are you, YHWH, who has provided us with life, sustained us, and brought us to this moment.
16.
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ יְהֹוָה אֶחָד: Hear and understand; YHVH is our God, YHVH is one
17.
תְּבָרְכֵךְ יְיָ וְתִשְׁמְרֵךְ כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן תֵּאֵר יְיָ פָּנֶיהָ אֵלַיִךְ וּתְחַנֵּךְ כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן תִּשָּׂא יְיָ פָּנֶיהָ אֵלַיִךְ וַתָּשֶׂם לָךְ שָׁלוֹם כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן May God, the divine spirit, bless you, protect you, surround you in light, and bring you peace.
18.
צַדִיק כַּתָמָר יִפְרָח כְּאֶרֶז בַּלְּבָנוֹן יִשׂגֶּה. שְׁתוּלִים בְּבֵית יְיָ בְּחַצְרוֹת אֶלֹהֵינוּ יַפְרִיחוּ. עוֹד יְנוּבוּן בְּשֵׂיבָה דְּשֵׁנִים וְרַעַנַנִּים יִהְיוּ. לְהַגִּיד כִּי יָשָׁר יְיָ צוּרִי וְלֹא עַוְלָתָה בּוֹ. The just will blossom like the date palm. They will stand tall like the cedar of Lebanon. Rooted in Your chosen House, they will flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will be bear fruit. Still they will be fresh and full of sap, to bear witness that Adonai is fair, that there is no injustice in God’s way.

about

In 2016, Toronto songwriter Jennifer Castle wrote me an hour before her show at Night Gallery in LA inviting me to sing a couple of a cappella prayers to “clear the space” before her set. It was the first time I sang Jewish ceremonial prayers outside of a ritual context. I chose the heavy liturgy from the holiest days on the Jewish calendar — the Lunar New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

Alphabet of Wrongdoing was set in motion that night — ceremonial Jewish prayers and blessings encircling themes of reckoning, forgiveness, mortality, striving, and atonement reimagined for secular audiences and secular spaces. Both the album and the performance investigate communal gestures of forgiveness and offer inroads to dignity through song.

The title of the project comes from the prayer Ashamnu, or “Alphabet of Wrongdoing.” In a ritual context, a congregation would stand and recite in alphabetical order all of the ways they may have missed the mark in the past year, beating their chests with each admittance: hardening our hearts, dismissing serious matters with a joke, oppressing another. Even if one has not committed the confessed acts, the person next to her may have. And so, to hear these acts uttered aloud in community might help someone see how they may have harmed another. This communal act of forgiveness is a form of chesbon ha’nefesh — or spiritual accounting. We sing the words aloud because, as Anne Carson writes, “Words that are written . . . may fold away and disappear. Only the spoken word is not sealed, folded, occult or undemocratic.”

This music is for challenging junctures, when we have more questions than answers. To make an album of reimagined Jewish liturgy is my way of saying we can re-work, but we cannot obliterate; matter just does not behave that way.

It has been an honor, a joy, and, at times, a tussle to exhume the beauty and poetry out of such a long-standing and imposing tradition as the Jewish High Holiday liturgy. I had many stare-downs and duels with both my tradition and my fear in the making of this record. I had dreams of tidal waves enveloping me, of myself as a male Hassidic rabbi, intoning ancient prayers alone in forgotten empty synagogues. This material is the tongue of the bell that is my entirety — when I sing these songs and prayers, every sleeping corner of me awakens, and I, as Marilynn Robinson once wrote,“participate in being without remainder.”

It is my hope that the music greets you with resonance and respect, that it can be a source of clarity in these increasingly unnerving times, and that your whole self can stand before these songs and say “Hineni“ — here I am.

***

PART I : Who by Fire 

1 Thirteen Qualities / Adonai, Adonai שלוש עשרה מידות הרחמים
2 Our Father, Our King / Avinu Malkeinu אבינו מלכנו
3 In the New Year / B’Rosh Hashanah בראש השנה

PART II : Forgive Us, Pardon Us 

4 My Cup Overflows / Cosi Revaya כוסי רויה
5 All Our Vows / Kol Nidre כל נדרי
6 Alphabet of Wrongdoing / Ashamnu אשמנו
7 Self-Seclusion / Hitbodedut התבודדות
8 The Great Confession / Al Cheyt על חטא

PART III : Goodness Will Pursue Me 

9 All Our Departed / El Malei Rachamim אל מלא רחמים
10 Psalm of David / Mizmor L’David מזמור לדוד
11 She is a Tree of Life / Etz Hayim Hi עץ חיים היא

PART IV : Days of Awe

12 Who is Like You / Mi Chamocha מי כמכה
13 Opposite the Seraphim / מול השרפים
14 Priestly Blessing II / Birkat Kohanim ברכת כהנים
15 Blessing for New Experiences / Shehechiyanu  שהחיינו
16 Filled With Motherlove, the Thousands Within / Shema שמע
17 Priestly Blessing / Birkat Kohanot ברכת כהנות
18 Psalm 92 - The Just Will Blossom Like the Date Palm / Tzadik Ka’Tamar צדיק כתמר

credits

released September 22, 2020

DEDICATION

When I was twelve I visited Žasliai, Lithuania with my grandmother and family. It was her first time returning since she fled to Mexico just before WWII as a teenager. We visited the mass grave where her father, sister, and her sister's family were likely shot and killed. I remember her walking very softly, tentatively, as though she was trying not to wake the people beneath her. It was an unmarked clearing in a forest overgrown with yellow rue wildflowers — the national herb of Lithuania which symbolizes virtue, good health, and longevity. Rue is edible in trace amounts, but poisonous if consumed liberally. Family is a circuitry for empathy. 


Alphabet of Wrongdoing is dedicated to All Our Departed — to my beloved Grandparents Bernie Shapiro, Fanny and Abraham Gesundheit; to my brother Avi Gesundheit; to my ancestors who perished in mass graves in Poland, Lithuania, Russia; to the people in my life who have passed away or with whom I have had to sever ties; to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women; to Black Victims of Police Brutality; to victims of genocide, human trafficking, drug cartel violence, white supremacy, queer and trans violence, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; to all beings whose habitats or bodies are being destroyed by our carelessness, may their memories be blessings and may we find another way. z”l

“On this day, heat and warmth and light must come from deep within ourselves; no longer can we tear apart the world to make our fire.” — Rabbi Richard N. Levy

CREDITS

Alphabet of Wrongdoing 

by Daniela Gesundheit

18 tracks, run time 47:14 

Produced by Daniela Gesundheit and Dan Misha Goldman

Performed by 
Daniela Gesundheit voice, percussion
Dan Misha Goldman nylon string and electric guitars, synth, clavinet
Johnny Spence synth, piano, percussion
Basia Bulat autoharp
Sarah Pagé harp 
Evan Cartwright percussion
Alex Lukashevsky voice, percussion
Sari Lightman voice
Romy Lightman voice
Jason Sharp bass and baritone saxophones
with string arrangements by Owen Pallett performed by the Macedonian Symphonic Orchestra (Oleg Kondratenko, conductor)

The melodies and texts herein are traditional, though the vocal embellishments and ornamentation are original. Many of the selections on this album adhere to a form of a refrain that has a set, congregational melody, and that alternates with verses that are improvised within the nusach or mode of the piece. The verses in these pieces are improvised. 

The instrumental arrangements and production are original. Many of the pieces were re-harmonized by Dan Misha Goldman. Track twelve, Mi Chamocha, features a melody written by Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel.  www.HannaTiferet.com

Mixed by Steve Kaye at Sunking Studios in Los Angeles (Kol Nidre mixed by Dan Misha Goldman) 

Recorded by Dan Misha Goldman in Montréal, Leon Taheny at Boombox studio in Toronto, Nicolas 
Pétrowski at Mixart in Montréal, and Daniela Gesundheit in Los Angeles 

Mastered by David Travers-Smith at found.sound

Artwork, typography, and layout by Brankica Harvey and Ken Deegan

Fonts Flecha and Grifo designed by Rui Abreu of R-Typography

Cover photograph by Dawn Garcia

Booklet photographs by Caitlin Woelfle-O’Brien. The images are stills from a video for All Our Departed, directed by Johnny Spence, choreographed by Erin Poole, featuring Erin Poole and Eric Cheng.

LP packaging printed at Precision Record Pressing in Burlington, ON Canada. Book printed at Conti Tipocolor in Calenzano, Italy.

All included Hebrew texts are traditional, and edited by Dana Reginiano; all English translations and English translation excerpts are by Rabbi Richard N. Levy z”l, from his volume of High Holiday liturgy, On Wings of Awe, courtesy of B’nai Brith Hillel Foundations. All other English passages are by Daniela Gesundheit, edited by Kristen Bulger.

This album was recorded on the traditional territories of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat people, and on the unceded lands of The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation and the Gabrielino/Tongva people. 

Alphabet of Wrongdoing was recorded with the assistance of a Canada Council for the Arts Concept to Realization Grant. 

THANK YOU

Many, many friends, colleagues, family members, and organizations have been unshakeable in their support or inspiration during the making of this work — 

Johnny Spence - for rolling your sleeves allllll the way up, and for your talent, friendship, heart, and humor. 
Dan Misha Goldman - for laying the foundation time and again, and for your perennial support. 
Alex Lukashevsky - for listening with thousand-year-old ears, singing like an enlightened dust storm, being a one-man minyan. 
Basia Bulat - for your tears of resonance and recognition, and for your unending exuberance and generosity. 
Sari and Romy Lightman - for Priestessing the mundane moments, and re-wilding the now. 
Owen Pallett - for your direct line to the muse, and for wrestling the angels down to Macedonia for a lowly string session. 
Sarah Pagé, Evan Cartwright, Jason Sharp, and Phil Melanson - for being the musical equivalent of that temperature of air that feels like a continuation of skin. 
Horses Atelier, especially Tala Kamea, Mickelli Orbe, Claudia Dey, and Heidi Sopinka - for perpetual crush and inspiration, and for outfitting me with my Jewish Wonder Woman suit. 
David Travers-Smith - for your high beams. 
Steve Kaye and Sunking Studios - for your p a t i e n c e and your vibey bat-ears. 
Leon Taheny at Boombox, and Nicolas Pétrowski at Mixart - for metal detecting the ether. 
Terri Loewenthal - for calling in the Good Witches of Good Angles every time, and for your mastery of fun.
Erin Poole - for summoning the underworld with grace.
Caitlin Woelfle-O’Brien - for a grainy, flattering lens that revealed a small, new cosmos.
Mary Rozzi and The September Issues - for offering me creative carte blanche, and being there to see it through. 
Casey Kauffmann - for our Jewish Valleygirl synchronicity and your perfectly subversive Mattel sensibilities. 
Brankica Harvey and Ken Deegan - for getting it, for getting it right, for putting a face to the name. 
Kristen Bulger - for your raking light, your ability to reveal process and beauty legibly.
Dana Reginiano - for your eleventh-hour mastery of ivrit.
Dawn Garcia - for conjuring and capturing the iconography of atonement before I knew I was looking for it. 
David Wilson - for always creating space. 
Jennifer Castle - for asking me to. 
Pete Min - for sharing gear with abandon. 
Tabassum Siddiqui and The Globe and Mail - for good questions, thoughtful questions, and for your soft power. 
Elina Gitig and NuRoots - for being a bullhorn to the whisper of this project’s beginnings. 
Canada Council for the Arts - for delivering the dream. 
Dr. Rabbi Aviva Goldberg and Congregation Shir Libeynu - for trusting a young Californian and sharing the bimah with me all of these years.
Rabbi Mordecai Finley - for arrowheads of clarity, connecting the sephirotic dots, and telling my fourteen-year-old self to write down my dreams. 
Julie Batz - for unearthing and re-animating Jewish liturgy for me, then and now. 
Rabbi Richard N. Levy z”l - for crafting translations of the liturgy that resonated truly. 
Peter Cole - for digging a well of knowledge and observation so deep and true that it has taken me decades to bring its water to the surface. 
Donna Pall - for enduring my repetition, and returning revelation in its stead. 
Anita Strassner - for seeing my long, wise white rabbi’s beard. 
Michael B. Lehrer and Benjamin Lehrer - for translation (of the word and the heart) and for the rabbi-in-you that recognized the rabbi-in-me. 
Megan James and Cecil Frena - for feasts, for optimism, for authenticity, for steam, but never hot air. 
Martha Wainwright and Ursa - for a night of music that asked “who is the life of life?” 
Maya Inglis and WAXMAYA - for illumination, kindness, and collaboration. 
Kathryn Crim - for inspired interpretation and steadfast encouragement. 
Leslie Feist and Ariel Engle - for being my coven, my braid, my strength in song. 
Rebecca Lehrer and The Mashup Americans - for keeping me unafraid. 
Frances Jacobus-Parker - for exact understanding.
Orly Szerman - for seeing the unseeable.  
Renny Shapiro - for your tenacity and love. 
Susie and Jaime Gesundheit - for showing me who I am and who I could become.
My dear friends and family - for keeping me fluent in love and humor. 
Eric Cheng - for being a warm ocean with waist-high gentle waves, always, and for listening so many times in so many ways.

Thank you to the people I have not yet learned to forgive, or who have not yet learned to forgive me. We will get there.

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Daniela Gesundheit Los Angeles, California

@alphabetofwrongdoing

Daniela Gesundheit is a vocalist, composer, and cantor who lives in LA and haunts Toronto. As Snowblink, Gesundheit writes non-denominational devotional pop music and has released three critically acclaimed albums.

"Daniela’s voice is like clear glass that she frames a kind of playful, velvet privacy with. The sounds are sparse but so rich and carefully wild." Leslie Feist
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