They Tried To Get Us, We Won, Let's Rock!

by Jay Rapoport

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A new set of 10 original Jewish piano rock songs in Hebrew and English for all ages, including music for holidays, baby namings, teacher recognition and exploring themes of healing, theology, renewal and building community. Featuring Motown-style horns, the vocal harmonies of HUC-JIR cantorial and rabbinic students, a NOLA-style brass band and a special appearance by singer-songwriter Naomi Less.


released December 2, 2014

Produced by Toby Singer
Copyright 2014 Maxfun Music (ASCAP), all rights reserved

Executive Producers: Tirza Arad, Cantor Rebecca Garfein, Nancy Reder & David Rapoport, Dr. Ed Reder, Cantor Rebecca Robins, Cantor Michael Shochet, Rabbi Ben Spratt

This album was made possible by generous support from the Congregation Rodeph Sholom Religious School Parents Association in honor of the retirement of Tirza Arad

Dedicated to the memory of Sam Felder & Altonette Winston,
and the retirement of Tirza Arad

This album would not have been possible without Toby Singer, Steve Purcell, Shawn Setaro, Shanna Zell, Rachel Van Thyn, Amir Giveon & the Jewcer team, Tirza Arad, Kerith Braunfeld, Marcia Stein, Rian Nixon, Craig Taubman, Rick Recht, Ellen Allard, Merri Arian, Dr. Adriane Leveen, Cantor Rebecca Garfein, Rachael Evans, Jen Jurek, Aaron Hersh, Eric Komar, Lucy Batterman, Ben Ellerin, Joshua Finkel, Emma Goldin, Vladimir Lapin, Jay Isaac O'Brien, Daniel Reiser, Ben Barry, Shwa Losben, Dylan Gantz, David Olinsky, Deborah Sacks, all my contributors, everyone who posted/tweeted/liked the project, Mom & Dad, Dena & Alexis, and especially the incomparable Rachel & Ruthie Rapoport, who really know how to "dance on Shabbat"!

Thanks to all my incredibly generous supporters, especially my Executive Producers along with Abby & Donnie Cutler, Diane Firestone, Rabbi Lori Koffman and Rabbi Sari Laufer for helping to make Ruach Rock!

Lead vocals, piano & keyboards: Jay Rapoport
Drums & percussion: Steve Purcell
Bass guitar: Shawn Setaro
Guitars & additional keyboards: Toby Singer
Violin: Kenneth Feibush
Backing vocals: Shanna Zell, Naomi Less, Lucy Batterman, Emma Goldin, Toby Singer, Jay Isaac O'Brien, Ben Ellerin, Vladimir Lapin, Daniel Reiser, Joshua Finkel
Handclaps: Jay Rapoport, Toby Singer & Steve Purcell
Snaps: Jay Rapoport & Toby Singer

Tenor Sax & Clarinet: Mark Dover
Trombone: Jimmy O'Connell
Trumpet: Evan Honse
Tuba: Chanell Crichlow

The Rodeph Sholom Children's Choir features: Charlotte Beede, Genevieve & Phoebe Beirne, Julian Glickman, Angelica Grandizio, Caroline & Eve Hecht, Braden & Kaitlin Keil, Lila Kloss, Barak Landis, Mia Leshne, Rebecca & Eliza Merber, Sophia Sachar, Talia Sclar, Skylar & Sylvie Sherman, Jackson Solano, Jacob Steinberg, Paulina Steinman and Rachel Youngwood

Drums & Rhodes recorded at Let 'Em In studios in Brooklyn, NYC by Drew Guido

Grand piano & the Rodeph Sholom Children's Choir recorded at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan, NYC

Upright piano, electric & acoustic guitars, horns, lead & backing vocals recorded at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Manhattan, NYC

Bass, keyboards, lead & backing vocals recorded at Rachel's Apartment in Queens, NYC

All songs written & composed by Jay Rapoport
except "God Is Just A Word," written & composed by Jay Rapoport with Toby Singer

All songs arranged & recorded (unless otherwise noted) by Toby Singer
& mixed by Toby at Atlas Hugged in Brooklyn, NYC

All songs mastered by Jonathan Jetter at Right Angle Recording in Manhattan, NYC

Art concept by Toby Singer
Art layout by Rachel Cahn
Photography by Rachel Rapoport

For booking, contact

Join the fan club:

Follow Jay on Twitter @jayrapoport

For lyrics, chords & other resources (including the Ruach Rock Tefilah curriculum) or to join the email list, visit

This album is intended to spark conversations, prompt questions and get you thinking, talking and singing - ruach (spirit) is a great way to start interesting discussions!



all rights reserved


Jay Rapoport Chicago, Illinois

Jay Rapoport takes Jewish values and stories and transforms them into “Ruach Rock”, a catchy piano-pounding style influenced by Ben Folds and Billy Joel. His new album, "They Tried To Get Us, We Won, Let's Rock!" is coming in 2014, and he is now touring with his unique blend of instant sing-alongs and engaging musical storytelling that gets people out of their seats and rockin! ... more

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Track Name: I Like To Dance On Shabbat
"I LIKE TO DANCE ON SHABBAT" (by Jay Rapoport)

I like to dance on Shabbat
Yes I do
I like to dance on Shabbat
Do you dance too?
I like to dance (7x)
I like to dance on Shabbat

Zipper song:

Track Name: L'chadaysh Et Ha'yashan (Renew The Old)
"L'CHADAYSH ET HA'YASHAN" (by Jay Rapoport)

L'chadaysh et ha'yashan
Oo'l'kadaysh et heh'chadash

"The old shall be renewed
And the new shall be sanctified"
So we do things in new ways
Cuz we've been at this a long time
The world keeps on changing
But it still needs you and I
The old shall be renewed
And the new shall be sanctified


You got to renew the old
And sanctify the new
May have started with them
Now it continues with you
You don't have to complete the work
But there's a part you have to do
You got to renew the old
And sanctify the new


You got to renew the old
And make the new holy
Sometimes it happens fast
Sometimes it happens slowly
Though time keeps moving on
That Torah keeps on rolling
You got to renew the old
And make the new holy

Track Name: Today Is The Best Day
"TODAY IS THE BEST DAY" (by Jay Rapoport)

The world is wide and I am small
The grass gets green and it grows tall
Time slows down to a crawl
And I stand in awe of it all

I don’t always know where I’m headed
Sometimes I feel lost inside
But I’ll never throw the towel in
I’ve learned to enjoy the ride

This is the only life I’ll live
They call it the present ‘cause it’s a gift
The hourglass sands may shift
But today is the best day of my life

The sky unfolds, no cloud in a hurry
If I could fly I’d never worry
Always be right where I’m going
Still there’s something exciting about not knowing

I don’t really know what I’m meant for
Sometimes I get lost in my mind
But I don’t need all the answers
I’m happy with what I find


And when destiny comes calling
I will open the door
Smile as I look all around me
And see everything I’ve been searching for

The world is wide and I am small
The grass gets greener and it grows tall
Time slows down to a crawl
And I stand in awe of it all
Track Name: Am Hasefer (People Of The Book)
"AM HASEFER" (by Jay Rapoport)

At first there was nothing but thoughts and ideas
Tales of our people, passed down through the centuries
Parents taught their children, that’s how it got around
Until we had the bright idea to write all this stuff down

That is why they call us the people of the book
Our stories made us strong, some words was all it took
If you think you’ve heard it all before, take another look
We are Am Hasefer, people of the book

Carved on two stone tablets we got the first ten rules
The rest came with the Torah wrapped in an animal skin scroll
Today we can surf the web or read it on a screen
Now it’s up to you to fill the spaces in between

Track Name: God Is Just A Word
"GOD IS JUST A WORD" (by Jay Rapoport)

“God” is just a word
For the things we can't explain
Like the feeling that you get
Seeing a rainbow after the rain
“God” is just a word
For all that we believe
It's bigger than just one idea
Bigger than you or me

“God” is just a word
For the idea we have
That doing good will lead to good
And keep someone from feeling bad
“God” is just a word
For not being alone
For knowing there's a reason
For hoping there is hope

Don’t be afraid to believe
Don’t be afraid to be wrong
In a roomful of people you’re never alone
Just let yourself go, you already know that
“God” is just a word

“God” is just a word
For the presence in our midst
For wanderers in the desert
A reason to exist
“God” is just a word
For what we cannot see
A little bit of common ground
Between you and me


“God” is just a word
For someone to ask
When we don't know where to turn
And we just need something to grasp
“God” is just a word
For someone to thank
When something that we dreamed comes true
And takes our breath away

“God” is just a word
For the moment of quiet
When you focus on your thoughts
And who you are deep inside
“God” is just a word
For when we are together
And we add to more than just our sum
And it continues on forever

Track Name: Wherever You Will Go (Ruthie's Song)
"WHEREVER YOU WILL GO" (by Jay Rapoport)

Inspired by the Book of Ruth & Ruthie Rapoport

Even though it's only been a few weeks
It's hard to remember my life before
And even when I dreamed of your face
I couldn't imagine what was in store

Now every day I can't wait
Til the moment you open your beautiful eyes
And every time I watch you sleep
I feel like all with the world is right

Wherever you will go, I will go
Your mom and I can't wait to watch you grow
Whatever happens in your life you'll know
As long as I may live I'll love you so

It seems like we waited forever
For the moment that you would arrive
and even as we grew impatient
You were exactly right on time

Now every night I can't wait
For my moment to rock you to sleep
And every time I see you smile
I file away a memory to keep


And though the days may seem long
I know the years will feel short
And though we just brought you home
I know someday I will have to watch you walk out that door

I can take a thousand pictures
But I know the time will still pass by
So please be patient with your old man
He's been waiting for you his whole life

Now every minute I can't wait
To see what you're gonna do
And I just have to remind myself
Our parents once held us like this too

Track Name: PaRDeS
"PaRDeS" (by Jay Rapoport)

Do you ever ask yourself (self?)
What this is all about
What our tradition says (says)
About the here and now

When we read a little text
We interpret different ways
There’s a tool that helps (helps)
And we call it PaRDeS

If you’re in search of meaning
As you go throughout your day
Read the Torah,
And remember—PaRDeS!

Peshat is the simple
Remez is the hint
Drash is the insight
And Sod is the secret

Look at what you see
Is there something more
What does it all mean?
That you never knew before


PaRDeS is an orchard of meaning
Sometimes reading is believing

CHORUS 3x ending
(2nd time: January or December)
Track Name: We Are Building
"WE ARE BUILDING" (by Jay Rapoport)

Part 1
We are building
We are building the future
We are building
With our hearts, with our hands
We are building

Part 2
Glory to those who hope for the future is yours
(We are building the future)
Glory to those who hope for the future is yours
(With our hearts, with our hands)
We are building

Part 3
We're not only children
We are your builders
We are your builders
Al tikra banayich
Ela bonayich, ela bonayich
We are building

Verse 1
We are building shelter for those in need
We are building community our souls to feed
We are building a homeland so all can be free
We are building for you and me
(all sing Part 1)

Verse 2
It takes everybody to make it work
It takes the different skills we bring
It takes everybody to make the world whole
It takes everyone to make shalom
Track Name: My Teacher, My Friend (Meir's Song)
"MY TEACHER, MY FRIEND" (by Jay Rapoport)

Inspired by Meir Rotem & Pirkei Avot (the wisdom of our ancestors)

Find yourself a teacher, and get yourself a friend
Make time for the Torah, build for it a fence
Let your heart be open, be cautious with your words
Always work for justice, pursue peace for the world

Every time I see you
I learn something new

Baruch Hashem, Baruch Hashem
Thank God for you
My teacher, my friend

Provide yourself a teacher, and remove yourself from doubt
Stand up for others, and of yourself be proud
Share your smile freely, try to get along
Appreciate your blessings, sing another song

Every day you tell me
Things I never knew


You inspire us with your stories
Your spirit and your journey
Thank you for your wisdom
I have been so blessed

Every time I see you
I learn something new

Track Name: The Holiday Song
"THE HOLIDAY SONG" (by Jay Rapoport)

They tried to get us, we won (we won), let's eat! (let’s eat)
They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!
A little sorrow goes down easier with a big chunk of meat
They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!

A few times a year we get together for a great big meal
Grandparents and cousins join us for a brisket or some veal
This is how we celebrate that we can't be beat
But it seems like all these holidays are just an excuse to eat

They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!
They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!
When will they figure out we are too stubborn to admit defeat?
They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!

There was that time the Pharaoh didn't really want to set us free
Or the other time when King Antiochus fought Judah Maccabee
Or that other other time when Haman came up with an evil plot
But every time we triumphed and those guys deserved what they got(Don't mess with us!)

They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!
They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!
When you're chomping hamantaschen or a latke victory is sweet
They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!

Now when you look back at all we been thru
Don't it make you think
That we should have a feast including everything in the house
Except the kitchen sink

They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!
They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!
My momma's matzoh balls are such a tasty treat
They tried to get us, we won, let's eat!