For many Park Slope tots, Saturday morning means jamming with Debbie Brukman at Temple Beth Elohim.
Brukman, a music teacher with a local coffeehouse following, regularly fills the Reform temple’s large social hall with her “Shir L’Shabbat” sing-alongs for young children and their families.
Brukman had already been teaching “Jewish soul” music in the temple’s nursery school six years ago when Rabbi Andrew Bachman encouraged her to develop a Shabbat program.
“Since bleary-eyed parents of young kids are looking for something to do on Saturday morning, we figured, why not invite them to a Shabbat party with Debbie Brukman?” he told The Jewish Week in an e-mail. “The woman has a heart of gold and we’re blessed to have her in the CBE family.”
Brukman’s Shabbat repertoire combines familiar Jewish preschool songs with Jewish melodies from Uganda, Israeli song festivals and her original compositions. Her band features mandolin, banjo, piano, and hand drums — and toddlers are encouraged to bring their own instruments.
Her fans include novelist Jonathan Safran Foer who frequently listens to her album (available on iTunes, Amazon and debbiebrukman.com) with his children.
“There are precious few CDs that bring a smile to all four passengers in our car,” he says in an album blurb. “These songs — these catchy and inspiring melodies, sung with such obvious and sincere enthusiasm — always lift our spirits. If our dog could smile, she’d smile, too.”