914-233-3515 erik@contzius.com
On Composing Jewish Music for Worship

On Composing Jewish Music for Worship

The bulk of my composition work has been for worship in the synagogue. When writing music for the purpose of praying, I feel it is my primary responsibility to convey the meaning of the text. This is usually a challenge when setting works in Hebrew, because for...
Jacob’s Bar Mitzvah

Jacob’s Bar Mitzvah

Jacob became Bar Mitzvah on February 15, 2014! He is da man! Did a fantastic job! I wanted to share some highlights of the occasion… Jacob’s D’var Torah: Jacob’s Video Montage: Some features from the party: This slideshow requires...
Omer Count for 2013

Omer Count for 2013

I’m happy to share my Omer Counting Guide for 2013. I can’t believe this is the 7th year I’ve done this. Better still, I’m happy that people are still asking for it! In writing this (brief) post, I forgot that last year, I had...
On being blind

On being blind

(for Parshat Toledot) This week’s Torah portion of Toledot presents us with one in a multitude of conflicts between siblings and the challenges of parental favoritism. We read of the brothers Jacob and Esau and with whom the destiny of the divine promise bestowed on...
Remembering a Friend

Remembering a Friend

This post was originally written for HUC’s Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning on September 5, 2012.  Bonia passed away August 30. He was a great inspiration to me personally, and I was honored and privileged to call him “friend.” The world, the...
Why Do We Sing?

Why Do We Sing?

From the time we are born, human beings have the inclination to sing. Even before we utter words or full sentences, we seem to be predisposed toward making simple melodies, giving voice to our young hearts. They may not yet be sonorous or tuneful, but these songs...
Ki Teitzei—Don’t Hide Your Eyes

Ki Teitzei—Don’t Hide Your Eyes

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You hear from a friend, whether by mail, e-mail, or facebook, about some cause for which she is fundraising. Perhaps it’s a cause particularly close to her heart. But you know she’s reached out to hundreds of her friends. You know she...
Tomatoes

Tomatoes

For years, I’ve been teaching my bar/bat mitzvah students about time management and focus during studying. So many of my students seem to be stressed out about every day peer pressure and pre-teen angst enough that they don’t really need to freak out more...
A new Modim

A new Modim

A few months ago, my colleague, Cantor Rich Pilatsky, contacted me about a commission: His wife, Cantor Sandra Sherry Pilatsky, was retiring after a career at her synagogue of over two decades. Rich asked if I could write for her a musical setting of the Modim prayer....
Dear Reince Priebus…

Dear Reince Priebus…

So I’ve been suffering a pretty bad cold for… oh, I don’t know. A month and a half. So sleeping has been challenging. I woke up this morning around 4 a.m. (if memory serves) and picked up my iPhone to look at the CNN headlines. One headline grabbed...
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