The Jewish and cinematic musings of the Rabbi of The Reform Temple of Rockland in Upper Nyack, New York.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
The title of my blog is Rhythm Guitar Rabbi. Admittedly I picked up the guitar with the hope of one day playing lead, and on occasion, I have played lead guitar. But truth be told, I have never really been dedicated enough in my practicing to truly be a lead guitarist. It has always been more of a hobby than a vocation.
I have had the pleasure of playing with many wonderful guitarists in my life. Names like Loui Dobin and Scott Leader easily come to mind. However the guitarist who is probably more responsible for the guitarist I am today than anyone is Steve Schulman.
Sadly, today the Tucson community is mourning the loss of one of, in my mind, one of the great guitarists. This quiet humble man with the soul of a mensch, taught me so much during our five years together playing in Avanim.
I learned how to use my right pinky as a guide for finger picking from him. I learned how to palm-mute. I learned the importance of keeping a song tight. I learned how to be a rhythm guitarist from Steve. Heck, he introduced me to Guitar Acquisition Syndrome and of course, to Paul Reed Smith, for which, my life is so much richer even if my pocket book is so much poorer.
But more than that, in the time we spent together in synagogue or in his home, I learned about life and music and how the two intersect in so many incalculable ways.
Like with so many of my friends in Tucson, I have not really been in touch since we left over three years ago. It's not that I wasn't thinking about them as much as it was about building a new life and working to revitalize my new congregation. I created a rock band here, Chai-Jinx, which I was hoping to one day have Steve join us for a jam session, if not a service.
Steve, I cannot even begin to thank you for all of your advice, guidance, knowledge, and patience you shared with me.
I am grateful to have known you. May God provide comfort to your sorrowing family. May you be bound up in the wings of the Shechina, and may your memory always be for an abiding blessing.
Rabbi Sharff is the Senior Rabbi for The Reform Temple of Rockland in Upper Nyack, New York. He was raised in Houston, Texas where he discovered the acoustic and electric guitar while sitting in his dorm room one day. Rabbi Sharff graduated from the University of Texas and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.
Rabbi Sharff is the rhythm guitarist for RTR's in House Band, and he also served as the editor for Howard Salmon's z"l Comic Book Siddur.