The Kirtan Rabbi has appeared in the following publications (click each title to read more).
I’ve done kirtan before. I’ve even done kirtan with the Kirtan Rabbi, Rabbi Andrew Hahn, before. So when I saw it on our agenda, this morning, I smiled, and I thought, wow, that’s going to blow a few minds. I didn’t realize one of them would be mine.
On the evening of December 8th, the first night of Hanukah, I had the unique blessing of spending the evening with the great Kirtan Rabbi and the congregation of Beth Shalom in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The evening started with what should have been an hour drive north, but quickly spiraled into an hour and a half drive consisting of me throwing caution and traffic laws to the wind by speeding through alleyways and side streets looking for Temple Beth Shalom.
Andrew Hahn doesn’t have a synagogue where he leads weekly services. His rabbinate is a bit less traditional.
Hahn, the Kirtan Rabbi or Reb Drew as he’s also known, uses some unconventional tools to introduce Jewish philosophy to a wider audience by leading call-and-response concerts at yoga studios and synagogues around the country.
People twirl ecstatically, eyes closed, repeating, in a call-and-response fashion, chants led by Rabbi Andrew Hahn, who plays a harmonium while others play guitars and percussion instruments — repetitive, hypnotic sounds that seductively nudge the crowd, young and old alike, to sway and swirl and chant.
A distinctly Indian melody flows from Rabbi Andrew Hahn’s harmonium. People rise from their seats, hips swaying, arms waving slowly through the air as they slowly repeat the Hebrew words Hahn is chanting.
This isn’t your abba’s Lecha Dodi.
“Rabbi Andrew Hahn (Reb Drew) maintained an interest in music throughout his years of academic and rabbinic study and ultimately began to attend Sanskrit kirtans led by Krishna Das, Wah!, Deval Premal and Miten, among others. Reb Drew learned to play harmonium. It seemed only natural to Reb Drew, as someone who had danced in synagogues and pounded more than a few Sabbath tables, that Hebrew would function wonderfully in a kirtan framework.”
“Jewish mystic traditions that have been repressed for hundreds of years are now being reborn as Jews seek more spirituality in their lives.
Rabbi Andrew Hahn of Manhattan, N.Y., will introduce Lancaster to an Asian Indian-style Hebrew mystical chant, called a kirtan, at 7:30 tonight at Congregation Degel Israel (sic!), Duke Street.
‘Many Jews these days are not finding in regular Jewish worship services the kind of spirituality they are seeking,’ Hahn said in a telephone interview this week.”
“Every few generations, Judaism transforms itself. One such radical change has been underway now since the 1970s. A powerful force within the current wave of revitalization—the ecstatic movement—counts among its proponents, an emerging leader, Rabbi Andrew Hahn, ‘The Kirtan Rabbi.’”
Read the full article in pdf format.
“Rabbi Andrew Hahn, known as the Kirtan Rabbi, has been facilitating bhajan (sacred song) over the last several years. His goal is to create a cross-fertilization of song and wisdom by bringing Jewish teachings to the Yoga world even as he presents bhakti (devotion) to the Jewish world.” Read the full article in pdf format.
“When the lights dim at the Owings Mills Jewish Community Center on Saturday night, Nov. 10, the chanting will begin. The drums will beat. Voices will vibrate.
From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., the JCC’s Adult Life department presents ‘Kirtan Rabbi: Mystical Hebrew Chant.’ The evening, according to adult life coordinator Miriam Abramovich, ‘from start to finish is going to be really exciting.’”
“The combination of music and religious ritual is well known: church choirs, stirring Gospel singers in black congregations, Sufi music, the earth-shaking song of the Tibetan monks, the almost intoxicating song of mystical unification which bursts forth from the temples of the Sikhs, and the holy drums in Afro-Caribbean rituals. The place of music within Judaism is also not absent, and there is space in it for cantors, niggunim and chants. And if it is possible to take what’s good from all worlds — well, why not? Meet Rabbi Andrew Hahn, known simply as Reb Drew, a New York rabbi who does kirtan.”
From the Age of Aquarius to the New Age movement of the ’80s and beyond, many Jews have sought to enhance their spirituality by borrowing from Eastern religions — cribbing a chant from the Buddhists here, a meditation practice from the Hindus there. But for some, a nagging, uncomfortable question remains: Is this kosher?
Purim is here, but Andrew Hahn, aka the Kirtan Rabbi, is the real megilla.
Read the full article at the New Jersey Jewish News website