About Me

My photo
Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at gmail.com, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy


Rain Ritual

- Joy Krauthammer

Jan. 17, 2010 - 2 Shevat 5770

I love my personal mikveh / water purification, guided by my mind and Hashem's heavenly rains. Baruch Hashem, to receive G*d's geshem, prayed for at Sukkot. We have been in drought for so long, and need the rains; we are finally blessed in the Valley, in LA.

"May the rains be gishmei bracha - rains of blessing ," says my rebbe.

May every drop of rain that falls, be a blesSing for my friends in need of healing, say I.

So it is not too frequently that I get to have my own personal rain ritual. In my 'birthday suit', on the cold and wet holy ground of my quiet garden, I remove my shoes. I stand upright receiving the gift of G*d as the rain released from Heaven comes down to me, falling on me. Is G*d facing me? I open my arms, liberating them, raising them, so that I am not covering myself, but opening myself to You. In praise, my drippy hands reach out and high.

I feel connection to You, Hashem, geshem giver of moisture-- life so basically and badly needed, and missed.

I feel the rain on my body, my bare skin, my back as I bend / berech over to a braycha / a pool, to receive more of the drops / bruchas, both sides, my chest, my bosom, my back, my head, my neck, my face, my arms, legs, and I turn. My own seasonal circle dance and You are in the center. I imagine myself submerged in mikveh, and I make a Brucha. I don't need the "fiction" plug released to give me frozen to melted water that has been captured, halachically by rules. My organic natural mikveh is spiritually pure with kavannah / intention, and mayim chayim / living waters straight from the Source of BlesSings. I open my mouth and drink Your cool rain. I feel You on my body. I am grateful for our direct connection.

Thank you Divine One of water Who cleanses each of us and our world.

I have been paying much attention to Your delicious cloud formations this last week; sometimes filled with countless small cute puffs, white fluff, floating in stillness. Separate ones, each one close up, over my head, and creative formation like shooting fire works. Clouds concentrated in the distance. If I am in the distance, do the clouds still appear closely concentrated?

My rabbi one early morning called my attention to the soft wispy white palette against firm blue sky of G*d. Clouds like yesterday, are sometimes heavy and dark gloomy grey and hovering low over mountains. I share in appreciation with a neighbor, the clouds so artistic and delightful, giving me great pleasure as I watch them still or moving, gliding, sometimes a blanket of surprises. They truly make for colorful sunrises filled with shades of fuscia and hues of blues, as the rising sun radiates brilliant light off the edges of the early morning dark clouds.

Thank you for cleaning with Your love sent from above, my husband, Marcel's, z'l, matzeivah / his grave stone, while I was visiting yesterday. Last week for his Hebrew yahrzeit, the granite stone was dull, and yesterday the engraved orange-red colored granite looked so shiny and lovely on Marcel's secular 4th yahrzeit.

I, too, am shiny and new birthed with your wet love. I guess with shmutz gone, I, too, can be read more easily.

My very first this season and only little delicate yellow daffodil, just one day old, is bent down facing parallel to the ground now with the weight of Your water. Do I leave my daffodil there plundered to the earth or rescue and cut it from the garden and bring it inside to save it in a vase of water? The garden is its home, its Makom. I've gone out, lifted and seen the daffodil's dirty face, and shaken the drops away but more come. My daffodil in our garden can not straighten up and drops lower down. It saddens me.

I will do serious gardening for Tu B'Shvat; with Your gentle rains making transplanting easier. I will joyously share my purple bearded iris tubers, easier now to remove their firm roots from the earth to make for a friend, a new 'garden of joy'. I will more easily transplant fig trees I have planted in prior years, sharing them with friends.

Thank You for my mikveh, a blesSing. I sing Your song.

Please G*d, don't let others suffer from the rains. There is such danger, especially after the fires.

Is it raining because only a week ago I used my "rain sticks" in retreat, during my Sounds of Joy ~ Sound Spa meditation? My rain sticks are magical.

I believe in the 'Secret', and the Law of Attraction, that we receive from You what we ask for from You.

Love, Joy


Yes, I rescued Your lonely daffodil before the sky spit, hurling heavy hail, lumps of pea sized ice. Hail didn't even melt as I held them. When the drops stopped, she was bent even lower, so I carefully cut her stem, brought her inside and gently washed off the earth's dirt from her golden face. She's now not alone, and upright with the snap dragons, and for days shares her sweet fragrance and smiling golden daffodil face.

"I wandered lonely as a cloud, that sat on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze..."
- by William Wordsworth.

I learned this daffodil poem as a child. In prior years, as on this cloudy, rainy, sunless morning, my bright cheery yellow daffodiles were also sadly bent over from the weight of the rain.

I have planted dozens of daffodils on Tu B'Shvat. As "my heart with pleasure fills", I am dancing with Your daffodils.

What treasures the Source of All BlesSings gifts us in our garden of life.

And while I have done this, rescuing a single flower, world-wide rescuers are working in Haiti to try to save the countless victims of the earthquake.
Dear Compassionate One, bless them.

TEXAS ~ A Fenced In and Out Feat of Joy

A Fenced In and Out Feat of Joy

by Joy Krauthammer

January 26, 2005

This week, six years ago. I was visiting my dear friends, Hesha and Jeff Abrams, for their daughter Danielle's January 23, 1999 glorious Bat Mitzvah in Dallas, Texas. I had never been to Texas. A couple mornings later, a hotel breakfast waiter advised me to drive to Houston to see a great garden. In a rented car, driving to Houston, and being spontaneous, I found and explored first the Kimbal Museum and took fun photos, so therefore arrived late in the afternoon at The Botanical Garden.

Oh, my. The Garden gates were closed and locked. It was after hours. I parked the car out in the middle of the large empty lot. I had missed the garden being open and I did not want to miss the garden. I had flown in from Los Angeles and driven a long way to Houston via Dallas. I was upset.

With a travelling friend from Los Angeles in tow, I left her standing by the eight feet tall, secured, strong brown impressive wooden gates as I walked around the Garden's fenced exterior hoping to find an entrance. Found NO entrance. I looked through a narrow opening slit in the fence and I could see that I wanted to experience what was inside. I could see an inviting pond and green plants. I was fenced out. I went back to my friend and with determination, said, "Here, hold my purse".

I had just months earlier been to Jerusalem, and visiting my daughter, Aviva, at Hebrew University during her Junior year abroad, found the gates at some dormitory areas were locked on Shabbat. How to get out without walking around the whole large campus again to an open gate? I was fenced in. I followed Aviva over to the walls and fenced locked tall gate. My tall, slender, agile college age daughter went UP and OVER. I was left alone on the inside. Where do I place my feet to even try to get a hold? In my Shabbat dress, I clambered UP AND OVER. Wheww. Heart racing and proud of myself!

So, since I now had this new gift, a new skill, in Houston, Texas at the Garden gate, I went UP AND OVER! Is it freedom when you go into locked spaces?

My good friend and travelling companion did not want to follow me. I was trespassing. We were LA dressed, not like boundary crossing cowboys. We were dressed for a museum and a Bat Mitzvah.

I insisted that my friend throw her purse and mine over the top of the fence. Then, up and over she went. Not a happy camper, was she.  My friend, nameless for this story, was red from embarrassment. What I had made her do. oy oy oy.

Once inside the Botanical garden, and all to ourselves, we looked into the Koi fish filled pond, and feeling fulfilled, walked over to the neat, sandy, rock designed and raked quiet Zen meditation garden. Then, from inside the Garden we heard a voice, "What are you doing here? The Garden is closed." The tall slim, in his forties gardener, was surprised to see us. I joyfully explained the story of my anticipated garden visit feeling proud of my maneuvers, illegal as they were. I was so excited to share my story of breaking in and entering his Garden, closed to the public at this late hour. A feat of joy.

Zen garden photo of Joy by gardener
Zen rock garden photo and collage by Joy Krauthammer  ©

So the nice friendly gardener who had waited years for this desirable loved gardener coveted position to open up in the Garden, took us on a personal tour, and took our photos with my camera. I took his photo. The gardener escorted us to the tall big, black iron revolving turn stile, only one way out gate, and we departed. I was a happy camper! I mailed his photo to him. The gardener knew what it meant to have an opening.

Oh, and then in the darkened night, we two friends snuck into a famous big-time rodeo in Texas, because since it was opening preview and practice night, only cowboy participants were allowed. And it was our only night in Houston. There were a whole lot of guards around and it was not easy. Took three tries sneaking in, but we did it! We had had good practice at the Garden. Oy did we LA gals look out of place. No boots, no cowboy hats or spurs, dressed only in our city finest, but we enjoyed smiling at the cows of all colors as they were groomed, and watching from the front row, the smartly coiffured horses practice their gait and parade in the ring. I bet they can jump more easily over fences.

That's my Texas story.

Back in Los Angeles, I caringly created an original large framed photo collage of our daring memories, and gave it as a gift to my courageous travelling friend.

A year and a half later, in LA, I was at cousin Adina's college graduation party and a young gal, Mina Yaroslavsky, the age of my daughter, looked at me with recognition and said, "Aren't you Aviva's mom? I saw you climbing over the Hebrew University tall security fence in Jerusalem as I was jogging past."
Was my face red!
Israel was my first fenced feat of Joy.
I've now conquered Texas!
     ~ ~ ~



2 Tishrei 5765 . Sept. 17, 2004

by Joy Krauthammer

This is a miracle story about a sweet turtle rescued on Tashlich following Rosh HaShanah services, just prior to Shabbat.

The magical morning began on second day Rosh HaShanah at the Temescal Canyon location of the Rosh HaShanah combined Jewish Spiritual Renewal service of B'nai Horin - Children of Freedom and Makom Ohr Shalom. Spiritual leaders included Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Rabbi Stan Levy, Rabbi Debra Orenstein and Cantors Mark Bacharach and Monty Turner. Unexpected terrific guest leaders included cantorial soloist Craig Taubman, and a great surprise, sharing prayers and stories, Theodore Bikel, who was in deep loving Yiddishe embrace with his long-time dear friend, Reb Zalman.

Musicians included Rebbe Soul's Bruce Berger and flutist Richard Hardy. I had my timbrel to play in joy as the Torah was paraded in shul. Congregants included members from all the Renewal shuls. People had traveled far to come to this service. So many loving friends were present.

Following spiritually moving services, Tashlich on the Santa Monica beach with Rabbi Stan was an awesome experience, as it is every year. Toward the end of Tashlich I had gone looking for the beginning of the Sarah's Tent Tashlich ritual which I also participate in each year. It was supposedly being held in the same area as every year, but I never found it. That was beshert / meant to be.

After doing my own Tashlich ritual, I went back to rejoin B'nai Horin as I had heard that member and teacher, Rina Daly, was doing a later children's Shabbat program. I was talking to Ronit, another B'nai Horin member, as only a few of us were left on the beach after Tashlich. Suddenly I saw a few members huddle together and curious to see what I anticipated was an ocean find, I excused myself and ran to the water's edge.

Jony Goode (Rina's husband) was holding a turtle! Jony had found the turtle, about six inches of shell length, in the ocean. Karen Golden, a long time Sarah's Tent friend and renowned storyteller, quickly exclaimed that this was not an ocean turtle but a freshwater turtle. Jony had rescued the turtle from an unfriendly environment on Tashlich. This is a day of rescuing our souls from our sins.

We decided that maybe someone thought they were liberating the turtle by putting it into the ocean. We all became part of the rescue team. When Karen said the turtle was not in the right environment for him, I decided the turtle would be happier if he had a purification with healing water.

I took out my bottle of spring water and gently poured it over the turtle, beginning with its head. The turtle clearly liked the fresh water as s/he began to stretch out far it's head and all four legs. I think the turtle was really happy to have healthy water. S/he had been more hidden in its shell until given fresh water. The turtle was happy in Karen's hands Another friend, Charlotte Lynn, joined in with more bottled water. Turtle was loving it.

Karen's daughters, Hyla and her younger sister, looked on in glee as their mom was holding the newly found creature. While Karen held the turtle, I then began to pet the turtle's head with a single finger. I continued to stroke the head as the turtle looked at me with it's sweet grateful eyes. The turtle liked for me to stroke its head. I felt I had connected to the turtle's soul. It was a day for Tshuvah / returning to soul.

Karen pointed out the little red color by the eyes, being even more sure that this was not an ocean turtle. Karen said the turtle was underweight, and also that it's shell had been affected by the salt water. Karen exclaimed that she had three turtles in a pond at home and could care for this one. She said that there is even a monthly Friday turtle club. Karen's husband expressed concern for the other turtles in case the new swimmer joined them. I asked Jony for permission if Karen could be a foster mom for the turtle that he had rescued, until the time that Jony and Rina had a proper place to care for the turtle.

Purifying ourselves by throwing our sins into the ocean with proxy bread, and reading poetry on healing waters, by the healing water, we were able to purify our High Holiday turtle with pure spring water! Turtle was given a mikveh to be cleansed. This is a renewed turtle and happy to join community.

Rina began her Shabbat family program and the turtle was at its first (I am sure) Shabbat celebration. Abby sang songs and prayers on guitar as Rina led us into Shabbat with candle, challah and wine on the beach. I knew that I may be late for the evening Erev Shabbat service with Reb Zalman in the Valley at Makom Ohr Shalom, but I was enjoying this beach community Shabbat celebration and especially with the Shabbat Tashlich turtle.

Rina explained that the empty snail shells she had brought to share, were a metaphor for us humans allowing our souls to expand beyond the protective shell. Our Shabbat turtle is a maven on protecting himself in his shell, his makom / home.

I realized that, Beshert, I had missed the Sarah's Tent gathering so that I could participate in the Shabbat rescue of the Tashlich Turtle and help renew it's soul. "Return Again, Return Again, Return To The Land Of Your Soul." (song by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach)
~ ~ ~


Joyous Purim wisdom, double Adar 5751

                  As a temple musician– a passionate performing percussionist and sound healer, I share with you that the Purim grogger, festive ritual noise maker (used to drown out Haman's name in Megillat Esther reading), is similar to a GEMSBOK SHOFAR. A Purim rattle is twirled and spins round the handle, and causes a thin flat piece of wood to flick over (‘to and fro’) a NOTCHED cog wheel set in a frame, making a noise. By cutting off, separating several inches of the slightly curved, black, smooth pointy tip of the long Gemsbok's horn, to create an opening for the Shofar mouthpiece, it is revealed that this horn tip can be used as an 'offering–' as a percussion scraper on the set of natural raised ridges of rings encircling the brown wide end of the raw, rough, splintery Gemsbok horn. 
                  When rubbed in ‘to and fro’ motion with a PUA *, on the thick transverse rings, rasping percussive sounds are created and ‘heard’ on the horn, as on the grogger. Could it be that the Shofar was a signaling instrument in alerting the Persian Jews that they could be saved from the king's edict in Shushan during the reign of Queen Esther, thus making the horn also a culturally authentic grogger? Hearing the Megillah and Shofar are both mitzvot.
                  Ethnic scraper percussion rhythmic instruments are spiritually used in most world cultures for sacred moments. (Scrapers and Shofars are in LA’s Howard Ethnic Instrument Collection, Watts Tower Arts Center.) Performing world-beat percussion, I use a frog shaped wood guiro (Vietnamese or Thai), and also a Gemsbok-like guiro (Latin American) made from hollow gourd, aka calabazo, with parallel carved out grooves, along with a fragrant sage branch stick PUA, a scraper/wand, to make long and short raspy, ratchet (and croaking) sounds. 
                  Biblical Miriyahm HaNeviah, the Prophetess, a percussionist, Exodus 15:20, was also known as "Puah"*, Genesis, Shemot 1:15, a mid-wife, who sang soft cooing sounds as she gently rocked ‘to and fro’ and stroked with her voice and hand-- like a wand, the baby boys she saved from Pharaoh's edict against the Jews. Gemara Sotah 11a. As Puah with (po'ah) she drowned out the sounds of the murder edict.
                  My friend, and ritual teaching partner, ARIELLASHIRA LEWIS created (with Michael Chusid's guidance) her GEMSBOK shofar for rituals, by carving the opening, the hollow 'inside' mouth piece. She is a healer, and a Ba’alat Tekiah/shofar blower for Simchat Chochmah ceremonies (http://www.simchatchochmah.blogspot.com), and for women's Rosh Chodesh/New Moon rituals, as is traditional. With her soulful Ruach/breath and holy kavanah/intention, AriellaShira beautifully and with awesome rich sustained sound, plays her new Shofar. AriellaShira created this personal ceremonial tool during her Simchat Chochmah/Joy of Wisdom ceremony, and shamanic journey. I think her shofar is from a female Gemsbok.
                  AriellaShira joyously demonstrated to me, as she stroked her new Gemsbok horn's wide end and long length of ridges of rings with her PUA/wand--horn tip, that she transformed her Shofar to be used in holy ritual and ceremony, also into a scraper PERCUSSION instrument. AriellaShira fashioned the horn’s cut tip into her wand for her musical playing pleasure. (See photo collage of AriellaShira playing her Gemsbok Shofar as a wind and percussion instrument. 
http://hearingshofar.blogspot.com/ 2011-02-21) AriellaShira Lewis, from South Africa where the Gemsbok roam, informed me that Gemsbok is pronounced with a gutteral 'ch', ‘Ch’emsbok’. The sacrificial ram, the 'offering' in Torah's Genesis 22:13 Akeidah, may have been crying out for us to hear, "Use me, don't abuse me. I shall make music for you."
      BlesSings for magical healing sounds, health, wholeness, shalom and joy,
                  JOY Krauthammer
                  Serve G*d With Joy
                  Enjoy http://joyous-chai-lights-march-2011.blogspot.com/ Reply

Joy Krauthammer, MBA11 March, 2011  Before I realized that I, too, can create a Shofar and GEMSBOK horn grogger to use in my spiritual music, I purchased my foot-long Purim grogger in Jerusalem where I also purchased my Shofar. Now I joyously look forward to having the "Hearing Shofar" maven, Michael, guide me in creating my own percussive Shofar.
                  What excites is that I can create a PUA/wand from a Gemsbok horn, and play the Shofar as percussion. This will enhance and amplify my spiritual playing. See my earlier COMMENT on AriellaShira Lewis regarding this transformational experience.
                  I love that the PUA is also a name, PUAH, for Miriyahm HaNeviah. Genesis 1:15. This connection is meaningful to me– joining woman's voice in Torah to percussion.
                  I include PUAH teachings shared from one of my rebbes, Rav Rahmiel Hayyim Drizin:
               " 'Puah' This was Miriam (called Puah) because she cried and talked and cooed to the newborn infant in the manner of women who soothe a crying infant. Puah is an expression of crying out, similar to “Like a travailing woman will I cry " (Isa. 42:14). Rashi on Sotah 11a explains that she played with the infant to soothe and amuse him. Rashi to Shemot 1:15, citing Gemara Sotah 11a
                " ‘Pu'ah’ is Miriam; and why was her name called Puah? Because she cried out (po'ah) to the child and brought it forth. Another explanation of Pu'ah is that she used to cry out through the Holy Spirit and say: ‘My mother will bear a son who will be the savior of Israel’. Sotah 11a  "
 ~ ~ ~
                  During the High Holidays, 1995, Makom Ohr Shalom held services at UCLA. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (Aleph and Jewish Renewal movement founder) officiated along with Cantor Monty Turner. (I am one of their musicians.) Reb Zalman knew that I was trained by my husband, Marcel Krauthammer, z"l, in blowing Shofar. I felt good that I could play all the ritual notes. Prior to Rosh Hashanah, Michael Chusid demonstrated to me another technique for blowing shofar that I continue to share when teaching others to play. 
                  Reb Zalman, during the Days of Awe service, called upon me to come to the bima and play my Shofar and "to represent the women of the world". He was aware that a major international conference on women had just finished in China. He wanted that powerful feminine energy to come through the voice of the ram. With great Kavanah/intention, I sounded the Shofar for the congregation.
                  As a Mitzvah, and in my husband's Zechut/merit, I continue to play Shofar, even over the telephone, especially for those Jewish friends who miss my husband playing Shofar for them. May his soul continue to have an Ilui Neshamah/soul elevation.
                  Have a joyous Adar and
                  BlesSings for hearing Shofar, rhythm, having gratitude, health, Shalom and joy, 
                  JOY Krauthammer
                  Serve G*d With Joy
With the voice of the SHOFAR, may your prayers ascend with the power of truth, and be accepted by Ribono Shel Olam.  
What does the sound of the Shofar mean in truth to you?
Am I focused to be the best I can be, use the gifts G*d gave me, as I am focused on blowing the Shofar and connecting with G*d?
Do you cry out to The Compassionate One from the depths of your soul, the way we hear the Shofar cry? - Joy Krauthammer



Shofar Sound Illumination
SHOFAR (to blast open the Heavens) mouthpiece is designed narrow – like The Holy Temple windows – narrow within and wide to the outside, for the light of Torah wisdom needs to be spread far and wide to the often darkened world.
The intimate connection makes me feel good that I have with light of Shofar, from narrow opening end to wide end that for me compares to Holy Temple windows also opening wider outward sending forth the Light. 

 A sounding Selfie © Joy Krauthammer  9.2015  Elul 5775


Published Blog

Joy Krauthammer revised her initial post, above. I have retained both drafts because they each offer different insights that deserve to be shared. MC



- Joy Krauthammer

SOUNDS of the SHOFAR (SOS) inspire me to open with a blast, the beginning of Elul on day one, Rosh Chodesh/new moon, for Cheshbon Hanefesh/self-reflection, knowing I can meet Our Beloved in the field. A serious soul journey lies ahead, and I am inspired to meditate on SOS!

SOS inspire me for the New Year to once again seasonally awaken to my Jewish tradition and heritage, and connect to my faith and beliefs, knowing SOS in the same sequence of blasts are heard around the world.
SOS help me to stimulate others when I play Shofar. Friends receiving SOS are a gift to me, and I am further inspired with Chesed/loving kindness to give more and joyously do more mitzvot.
SOS, as I practice playing, inspire me to study Torah and understand more fully.

SOS inspire me to Shma/listen silently to the notes, and more deeply, in awe, and with strong kavannah/intention to be a better Ba’alat Tekiah/master of shofar (as my husband, z"l, taught me when we bought our first shofar in the Old City.
Sounds of the Shofar inspire me to breathe deeply, expansively – breathe G*d in and out.
SOS inspire me to use tools, instruments of music of my own faith, and to mamash delve deeper and higher into my Judaism.
SOS inspires me to share with pride and joy in interfaith gatherings with my own authentic ancient Jewish instrument of sound– Shofar, in addition to spiritually playing drum/tof and timbrel ala Miriyahm HaNeviah in temples. SOS inspire me to carve my own personal Shofar.

The Shofar inspires me through grateful breath to connect L’Dor V’Dor/generation to generation with my children and their child; to the Holy One, Mount Moriah, Mount Sinai, and to our People, all the way back to the ram caught in the thicket by its horns (Genesis 22:13); and to our Matriarch, Sarah, who died because of the Akeda/ the Binding. When I save little goats with their horned heads stuck in fences (at Elat Chayyim), and I give them freedom–I am inspired. Baruch Hashem.


 EXCERPT from http://joys-prose.blogspot.com/2006/09/secret-of-intention-my-drumming.html

- Joy Krauthammer

I was studying outer spiritual life, and receiving inner spiritual life and Holy direction.  Away at a spiritual retreat, Renewal's P’nei Or later aka Kallah in Berkeley, I received spiritual guidance from (now Rabbi) Hanna Tiferet Siegel.  

During her workshop and at her direction after chanting "Modah Ani", on a piece of plain white 8"x10" paper, I drew, tracing next to each other, my right hand and my left hand. I filled in the palms, as directed, with my desires to manifest. This was "The Secret." Put my thought energy into what I want to manifest and ask for it.  I asked The Source of All BlesSings to Shma, hear me.

Right hand-- what I want to receive.  Left hand-- what I want to give to the universe

For wanting to receive, I drew an African djembe drum. For wanting to give, I wrote music signs and the words, "spiritual music". At that moment of finishing my experiential sketch, a stranger whom I had never before seen, "Miriam Minkoff from Buffalo" (and at that moment I was in Berkeley from LA), walked through the outdoor courtyard and up to me, as I, with hands art work in hand, was leaving the workshop door's threshold. Miriam handed to me her huge African djembe drum which was in her arms, and only said, "Play it, and return it when through." She walked away and disappeared into the crowd. (There are more miraculous post scripts to this story.)

This is all Hashgachah Pratit / Divine guidance. In the middle of the courtyard of the Theological Seminary was Shoshanna Shoshanna. Walking directly to her, as she sat on a circular wall, I asked her to show me what to do with this large natural skin, wooden djembe drum, which fit very well in my arms' embrace. I recognized Shoshanna from Jerusalem as being Reb Shlomo Carlebach's, zt'l, concert drummer. I had seen Shoshanna in concert different times in Jerusalem, and then met her at the Jerusalem home of the Witts, not realizing that she was the musician whom I had watched on stage. The host sat me down next to Shoshanna.  How fortuitous. How synchronistic. How perfect. 

Now Shoshannah was sitting right there in the center of the Theological Seminary courtyard in Berkeley. In Jerusalem, we had walked back to her home near the famous outdoor market, Machane Yehuda, and danced to her professionally recorded piano music. Shoshanna, the pianist and percussionist had never before danced to her own music. I watched the dance shadows on the white painted old walls. (Years later, an LA friend purchased and played for me in her car, the same music piano tape of Shoshanna's having no idea that I knew Shoshanna.)

~ ~ ~



Percussion Is My Passion

  - Joy Krauthammer   
April 2011

At the end of Shabbat services, where I serve spiritual communities as world-beat hand percussionist, people ask me questions: How long have I been drumming? What kind of drum is the big one? Did I go to music school? How did I become a drummer? How do I do it? The last is my favorite.

I love these telling questions because I love it that people are interested, and appreciate my music with its subtleties and expansiveness. I love to share my story, one of visions, Hashgachah Pratit / Divine Providence, and of a joyous, passionate Jewish woman drummer.

I share with people that I play with joy for them--because I receive their joyous soulful energy that circulates; I feel that and it excites me. Accompanying cantors, singers, dancers and rabbis brings out the rhythmic best in my music. More of that truth is that I connect with the Source of All BlesSings, and to Miriyahm HaNeviah, biblical timbrel player. I have gratitude, and become a vessel for Hashem’s music. I am ‘played’ by the Holy One. I am inspired to “Serve G*d in Joy”. (Psalm 100:2)  My kavanah / intention is knowing that my ‘Sounds of Joy’-- the gift that G*d gave to me, can assist neshamahs / souls to lift their tehilim / prayers to the Divine One; as a dance going up, and for a shefa / abunDance of conscious connection with healing and wholeness, to come down through the Kabbalistic Four Worlds of Spirit, Mind, Heart and Body.

To be ethereal was my yearning when I asked the Creator to give me a drum—naively thinking that music would not take the great physical space that my own ceramics work had occupied. (That's an oxymoron for a percussionist. I'm learning to be ethereal.)

Many vessels of sound I play were designed (some customized to my desire) by my renowned international teachers (Paolo Mattioli, obm), were purchased during world travels, or were inherited from my mother, z"l (especially gongs and bells). My instruments that I lovingly play, stroke and caress (not 'beat' or 'bang') with my hands or mallets include large wood and natural skin African djembe, Middle-Eastern dumbeks (metal, vegetarian synthetic, or ceramic), frame drums, and (Remo) timbrels (aka riqs) with heavy metal brass (or other alloys) jingles, seed jingles, cymbals, ting shas (small hand cymbals), chimes (72 double row, and energy chimes), triangle, and such ‘small’ hand-made, ethnic traditional percussion as bells, rattles (chajchas, kpoko-kpoko, seeds, Buffalo rawhide), shakers (natural woven caxixi, gourd gita, maracas, shekeres, and axatse), scrapers (guiros), clave, and mu yu (slit drum). Additional ethnic percussion from many nations I have learned include: tambourine, tar, tamborim, bohdran, djun-djun, ashiko, talking drum, klong yaw, cuica, timbau, surdo repinique, agogo, bongo, congas, cowbell, tubano, pandeiro, kanjira, sakara, fruit and vegetable shakers (of plastic, wood or metal), as well as sound shapes.

For meditative and healing moments, I play organic rain sticks, ocean drums, gongs, Asian bells, and crystal and Tibetan singing bowls tuned to lev / heart chakra.

For the last decade, I mamash / truly have loved playing percussion for Lev Eisha / Heart of Woman women and men at our gevaldt / awesome Shabbat services where Shechinah dwells. I have been drumming since 1986, through both challenges and simchas.  The secret? This eisha / woman plays with her lev.

BlesSings for Sounds of Joy,
Joy Krauthammer

This story is published in Lev Eisha site:
For a more fully illustrated magical musical story with my responses, please read:


My Birthday Dance
- Joy Krauthammer
June 5, 2008

I'm still smiling after being home for a full hour and it's now 10:33 pm, June 4th, almost my birthday.
Don't usually keep smiling after a good community experience; maybe by the time I'm at the car, the smile disappears, and I'm sadly aware that it is gone, and wonder why. Why can't I keep it? Like holding onto a wave at the Pacific Ocean but it does not stay, as much as I want to keep it and bring it home with me.
Is my smile truly radiating from the inside? from the night's happening and my heart's joy, or from the Trader Joe's Black Forest Cake - gluten-free (which means I am glutton-free)? that I bought for myself on the way home, out of their freezer box and have now had a slightly defrosted slice. I could have bought a pound and a half of good fresh cherries for what I paid, but the thought of a couple cherries between the chocolate layers really turned me on for my birthday treat so I indulged myself.
OK, I also bought the Tofurkey Italian Sausage with sun dried tomatoes and basil which is spicy like an Italian sausage that would be sold at the New York San Genaro Festival way downtown where the Mafia hung out. Religiously I don't eat that so I settle for the fake one. I microwaved the sausage for 30 seconds the moment I got home after first listening to a birthday message wishing me love, joy and beauty. My dad Joseph, z'l, fifty years ago, pointed out to me from a NY downtown street in Little Italy, the restaurant seats seen through the window where the gang hung out; some big names. They're probably murdered by now. Dad was in the shmata business and his partner Johnny was Italian, so he knew. I don't think they sold Hebrew National at the festival, maybe just in the small street carts further uptown as they do now, or on the Lower East Side.
Tonight I bought and brought a big box of big strawberries to REMO's intimate Wednesday drum jam because it is my erev birthday. I only told REMO's manager Mike that I brought the berries to share for my birthday. (Last year I brought cookies.) I forgot to invite my friends to come drumming with me-- forgot. It's OK, turns out that Valley friend Suzanne left town today. Maybe Hare would have come. They drum when I invite them on my birthday each year. My drum friend, Paul, knew it was my birthday, because I reminded him that his sax birthday song for me last year at REMO was a highlight so he got the hint and played me again as soon as I walked in. I expressed my desire and received.
Sitting in my drum circle seat and wearing a pretty new silky feeling long-sleeved top looking like a Monet abstract water painting (and I never wear green!) that I bought for my birthday, after playing on djembe for a long time, along with shakers, timbrel, and guiro, (especially since I'd closely watched Salsa musicians this weekend but decided against the cow bell), I then saw the big REMO drum head hanging on it's big stand, off to the side of the drum circle, on the other side of the room from where I sat-- near the big Samba drums, closer to where drummers Steve and Princess play. It's at least ten feet across. I wanted to play it, and I did it. I celebrated my birthday playing and dancing with REMO's giant drum head, ooh la la.
The REMO drum is on a big tall drum stand (like a gong stand so I guess the drum head is like a gong) at least 12 feet high with the drum hanging, reaching a foot from the ground. I've noticed it has been missing from the room for many months. I think this is a new drum head, maybe getting it ready, primed for the next Rose Bowl Parade. The earlier hanging drums in the room are the ones, seen on TV, that have led the Parade with the REMO drummers proudly walking the miles.
I told myself, don't hesitate, that this is my chance to play the big drum. I already was not dancing in the middle of the drum circle, the way my friend Reisa, and another woman were dancing. There's a place I can't step over and into in certain places, although at times I have, and in other places, it's easy and I flow.
I got up, walked past the musicians, and placed my self in front of and in the middle of the biggest one of a kind drum, and put my hands on the middle of the skin, or what I thought was the middle, and played. Turns out that the middle is really higher up. Just felt like middle to me because I did not comprehend the immensity of the drum. Never have I played it before the way I played it tonight. I've given another a shy, subtle tap in acknowledgment, maybe even a hit with a fist.
I gave myself permission to celebrate all by myself, to let go, be free to be me. Do what I wanted to do, enjoy it, close my eyes, and not hold back. I listened to my voice in my inner chamber and joined forces, connecting. I released initial hesitation, and went to the deeper part of myself, my authenticity and challenged myself. I met myself and had communication. I got the swing of it, and I drummed the whole head--what I could reach which was totality for me, and then found much higher, the middle "sweet spot" with my arms stretched far and wide and up and over and across and I played. I was a child in a play yard on the highest swing, and a skater on the Olympics' ice reaching the rink's furthest corners. I was conductor of the drum playing the whole thing. My body, head to toe, danced from side to side as I played. I didn't just have to 'stand' there the way I drum when I sit in circle. (Thank goodness I stand when I perform so I can and do dance.) I could only play and touch Spirit as high as my hand could reach and I missed several feet of playing space above.
It was fun playing the whole head surface as far as I could stretch. I reached the edges to the left and to the right, could play up and across, but playing down was awkward, I'd turn my hand around, extending facing down, unlike anything I'd do on my djembe or dumbek, but I wanted an expansive experience and I was having it.
The air was lifting my hand off the head, bouncing my whole hand like a trampoline; I was gettin' played. After I played a long time, entraining myself while the other couple dozen drummers played fast jazzy African, Cuban riffs, I realized my curiosity-- that I wanted to play the drum from the rear. There was more to play. Walking around the drum, I put my right hand on the back of the drum and standing by the drum's side, at the same time, with my left hand, played the drum skin now on the reverse side from me-- the front. I was on the inside! The sound was much more clear, booming vibrant from the rear; sounded like rhythmic thunder from the front. I could see the shadow of my hand and that was exciting. I played from the rear watching my left hand like a Balinese shadow puppet on the front. One hand on front seen as shadow, one hand in back, at the same time; they played with each other. The dim room lighting was good for shadow. Kind of like the new moon's sliver tonight.
Imagine in a parade playing upright hand cymbals; sort of like this.. And I danced the whole time; Danced the whole skin. The way a band drummer, Francesco, played a dozen plus years ago and I emulated him. I had envied him. He was on the largest enticing REMO djembe (must have been a couple feet in diameter) before I ever even knew Remo Belli. Francesco played all over the drum head, fascinating me and I wanted to do the same. And I did! Oh, I wanted to be in his band with lead singer Harry, z'l all the time, not just when they let me play a house concert with the guys. So I got my own bands. I reached my dreams.
Tonight I closed my eyes and danced with my feet, with my hands, and with my heart and soul just danced. It was my birthday dance and I was filled with joy.
I danced on the drum head and danced on the floor and made myself very happy. This was my liberation dance; It felt so good. I loved dancing to the right and dancing to the left with my feet and dancing my hands up high, and still not reaching that last four or five feet of skin. As high as I stretched I still couldn't play it all. My body played that drum. I stretched a yard in each direction at the same time. I played and played.
I played for me and my freedom of expression. I played a gift to myself, and that felt good, of something beyond where I've been til now. Trespassed, and transcended my own limitations of wanting yet not taking for myself. Another gate to climb up and over to what I don't know on the other side.
Like when I climbed over the closed locked Hebrew University gates in Jerusalem (wearing a skirt) and also in the locked Fort Worth,Texas botanical garden, to literally get into where my soul needed to be. Maybe it's part of climbing the mountain and surpassing where I've been and going higher in awareness and connection. It's like when in Eilat eight years ago, with fear, I snorkeled alone far out into the waters to experience the coral, and I was scared, but I did it and I was in heaven in a temple of water. Or five years ago, when from a boat I snorkeled in Tahiti with the big black rays and one caressed me wrapping his body around my chest, and I was in absolute ecstasy. And five years ago when I kayaked myself in the San Juan Islands to a close-by little island, looking back to see from where I'd spiritually come and left, at the shore line. Each time I transform from my transcendence and further liberate myself to come closer to Oneness.
Just before leaving REMO for the night, earlier than the others so I could stop at Trader Joe's (I was the last one left in the store and they locked the doors), I brought Reisa over and showed her how to play the drum standing on the side edge and from the rear back so that you can see the shadow of your left hand on the front of the drum as you play the back with your right hand. WOW, exciting. and yes, I'm still smiling, and it's 11:30 PM...
P.S.  And now almost an hour beyond that, I am still smiling, radiating from deep inside, half asleep and with only half an eye open.
I share the Black Forest birthday cake with my sister, Faye, tomorrow. Can't be a total glutton. I even sang myself Happy Birthday, alone, at home, and it's OK. I asked Marcel, z'l to listen and past midnight, it's now June 5th and I can go to sleep happy. I've done something I've never done before and on my birthday my intention was achieved as I met myself in my soul's joy, transcended, and I smile deeply from my heart's inner chamber.
~ ~ ~

Drums 50 Years Ago

50 Years Ago This Week

- by Joy Krauthammer 
August 2013   

Fifty years ago this week, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous speech, "I have a dream...", on the State Capital steps in Montgomery, Alabama in 1963, when he answered the question 'How long African Americans must wait for full equality and justice in America?' -- MLK called out, "I have a dream today.  I was a drum major for justice. I was a drum major for peace...".

I, Joy, also am a drum major for justice, Tzedek, Tzedek, Tirdof
And 'I am no Martin Luther King', but I play drums and percussion for prayer, for peace/shalom, for G*d, for community, for goodness, uplift, women, circle dance, song and joy. 

Around the time of MLK's speech, and it was 50 years ago as a teenager, that I manifested the beginning of my subconscious dream to be a drummer. I traveled to Manhattan and in a large music store with my baby sitting money, I purchased only one record; I bought my first ever LP, "Drums of Passion" by (Nigerian drum master) Babatunde Olatunji. Exactly 17 years ago, I went on to perform at a club with 'Baba' in Santa Monica. Dreams manifest. 


This little story "50 Years Ago" also in :

~ ~ ~

The SECRET of INTENTION - My Drumming

The SECRET of INTENTION - My Drumming

Henayni, I am Here with the Joy of Music

by Joy Krauthammer

Dec. 10, 2006  ~ 19 Kislev 5767


I want to sing my song, and dance my dance. I am joyish. I am a 'simchanic' and a 'shivitinic'. *

I am guided to write this self-review (memoir) and history because yesterday at a conference I listened live to great thinkers and authors: James Redfield (Celestine Prophecy), John Gray (Women are from Venus), Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup), and Rev. Michael Beckwith (LA's Agape Center). Along with the reverend, about a decade ago, I had been to Morocco for the World Sacred Music Festival. These men were all involved with the movie, "The Secret."

Following "the Secret" movie screening, the panelists spoke about having an 'Attitude of Gratitude', and the 'Law of Attraction'. Thoughts and questions include: Transmute and embrace desire of path of the heart into higher reality to get back in touch with joy. Develop growing and unfolding of where soul is. What do I want to create? What am I doing in fulfilling myself? Think BIG.

Redfield asked why I chose to be what I am, and what is synchronistic about it all. Snippets include: Heightened intuition (thoughts drop into back of mind) is there to guide us. To stay in the glow, we must let go. (Oneness panel: Let go and transcend sense of separation and disconnection, all negative feelings, anger, anxiety...) Interpret all events as positive. See pattern of learning and the flow of information as Mission. Look at life as a movie. Sacred service beyond egocentric. We are ONE. Golden rule: Always give energy to others. Energy flows through me into my higher self. What you feel, you can heal. More we see, more we live out to tell truth and influence others.

At the Celebration of Oneness I was in a workshop, "Embodying your Sacred Intentions," with percussionist facilitator, Christo Pellani. He shared: Express your desire for a more flowing life of joyful expression through the integration of intentional and affirmative energy into the cells of our organs. Intuitively I know this. (I acknowledged this when I bought James Redfield's popular, "Celestine Prophecy", but didn't read it after the first couple pages because I felt what he was saying was already me, thus I knew it.) While in workshop, we circled and breathed; we kept our individual intention. Mine was betterment as healer for self and others. I am serving as Sound Healer at Spiritual Unity Movement and at private spiritual gatherings.

I am here following my intentions because my 'dream' many years ago was answered: to share, as spiritual drummer-- the sound of the drum.

I was studying outer spiritual life, and receiving inner spiritual life and holy direction.  Away at a spiritual retreat, I received spiritual guidance from (now Rabbi) Hanna Tiferet Siegel.  During her workshop, on a piece of plain white 8"x10" paper, I drew, tracing next to each other, my right hand and my left hand. I filled in the palms, as directed, with my desires to manifest. This was "The Secret." Put my thought energy into what I want to manifest and ask for it.  I asked The Source of All BlesSings to Shma, hear me.

Right hand-- what I want to receive.  Left hand-- what I want to give to the universe.

For wanting to receive, I drew an African djembe drum. For wanting to give, I wrote music signs and the words, "spiritual music". At that moment of finishing my experiential sketch, a stranger whom I had never before seen, "Miriam Minkoff from Buffalo" (and at that moment I was in Berkeley from LA), walked through the outdoor courtyard and up to me, as I, with hands art work in hand, was leaving the workshop door's threshold. Miriam handed to me her huge African djembe drum which was in her arms, and only said, "Play it, and return it when through." She walked away and disappeared into the crowd. (There are more miraculous post scripts to this story.)

This is all Hashgachah Pratit / Divine guidance. In the middle of the courtyard of the Theological Seminary was Shoshanna Shoshanna. Walking directly to her, as she sat on a circular wall, I asked her to show me what to do with this large natural skin, wooden djembe drum, which fit very well in my arms' embrace. I recognized Shoshanna from Jerusalem as being Reb Shlomo Carlebach's, zt'l, concert drummer. I had seen Shoshanna in concert different times in Jerusalem, and then met her at the Jerusalem home of the Witts, not realizing that she was the musician whom I had watched on stage. The host sat me down next to Shoshanna.  How fortuitous. How synchronistic. How perfect.

Now Shoshannah was sitting right there in the center of the Theological Seminary courtyard in Berkeley. In Jerusalem, we had walked back to her home near the famous outdoor market, Machane Yehuda, and danced to her professionally recorded piano music. Shoshanna, the pianist and percussionist had never before danced to her own music. I watched the dance shadows on the white painted old walls. (Years later, an LA friend purchased and played for me in her car, the same music piano tape of Shoshanna's having no idea that I knew Shoshanna.)

I had travelled to Jerusalem to unveil and nurture my "instinct", thinking I had no instinct. At the time, I didn't consciously know "The Secret." I knew there was something on another level that I needed to explore for myself. I was also following a 'message' I received, which was to find and meet Reb Shlomo Carlebach. I read an article about him, from his Berkeley sixties House of Love and Prayer, and that one could find him in Israel. "Benefit for Single Parents", beshert / meant to be, I read on the banner hanging high over the street, the moment I arrived in Jerusalem by taxi from the airport. In this holy city, in this concert, when for the first time, I had seen and heard Reb Shlomo perform on stage, I had a craving, yearning, fiery desire to be on stage with Reb Shlomo (a man whom I did not know), and was immediately aware of this connecting image. I had received a clear 'message.' Was my consciousness now following 'instinct' and recognizing it?

Every day in Jerusalem, I experienced many instinct stories. I think they became like a concept I'd learned studying crystal attributes and crystal healing with a Master Ho. FATTS is an acronym for:  Focus, Amplify, Transmit, Transform and Store. In Jerusalem, my energies were amplified as I focused on them, and in daily story telling sessions with people I would meet, I transmitted them. Other Hebrew University students gathered around me at lunch time in the Sinatra dining hall (as I ate my favorite shnitzel), listening to my day's spiritual adventures. For me the stories have been transformed to understanding that they are part of my journey in opening to coming closer to G*d and miracles.

I was NOT a musician, but a visual artist; a potter, a weaver. As a child, like other children, with formal training, I played piano, violin, and clarinet in the schools' bands and orchestra.

In Jerusalem at the concert in the huge hall, I thought to myself, all I need is that tiny metal double 'cymbal' played by a musician (Yankele Shemesh) on stage. From the theatre balcony I could barely see it. It was the smallest percussion instrument I could figure out, that I could get away with on stage (to manifest this received message). Small, because who was I? to be playing an instrument, and on the stage with Reb Shlomo Carlebach.

Reb Shlomo Carlebach, Joy Krauthammer, Shirley Perluss
(Ed Rhodes and Jake Jacobs in rear) 
(c) Shira Solomon

I went to Turkey, one of the next stops for me to be part of a Sephardic tour discovering heritage, and synagogue architecture exploration (which I'd studied at Hebrew University). I bought in an Istanbul bazaar, yummy baklava, and belly dancing finger cymbals because I thought the percussive finger zills looked like what I had seen on stage. They looked a little like the wooden castanets that had fascinated me, as a teen, and I'd bought while studying in Spain when I was 18 and before college. Both instruments were worn on fingers, and for resonance, struck against each other. (In Spain, I joyously considered myself to be "Alegria con sangria" / Joy with citrus wine.

I think that what Shlomo's Jerusalem stage musician, Yankele Shemesh was playing, were ting shas. They are not worn on fingers. He had smiled at me in the theatre hallway, as I entered. I did not know who Yankele was, nor did I realize at that moment, that with me, I had Yankele's name in a US newspaper article, and yet was inspired to believe the story was regarding people that I needed to meet in Jerusalem. (That's a whole other immense miracle story...)  Imagine my surprise when during intermission, Yankele introduced himself to me, telling me his name and I showed him the news article from America. Later in America and in Tibet, I bought tingshas (and continually to spiritually play them).

Synchronistic and beshert, that it was Elie (Elyon) Shemesh, Yankele's son, who, with my invite, was living in my hotel room with three of his other friends, while I was studying at Hebrew University. Who knew? I did not know the boys living in my Moriah Hotel room, not even their names.  I just gave them refuge and my room key when I met them at the hotel, because they said they had "no place to be" (when I asked why they were wandering about).  I could see that "the boys" were the age of my young teenage daughter and they shouldn't be wandering about, homeless. I knew no one in Jerusalem.

The four boys are the "MOSHAV BOYS" and some terrific musicians. the newspaper article spoke of the "Moshav." (I discovered later that one boy was my Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi's grandson, Nacho, and Mimi's son. Nacho did recognize the book that I was reading, as his grandfather's book.) The boys were in Jerusalem from their Moshav Me'or Modiin, to be with their Reb Shlomo Carlebach for a Shabbaton, but it was many days before I also found that out. It was the boys who introduced me to Shlomo on our first night with them living with me, and it was then that Shlomo said that, "Mamash" I am "gevaldt". I had mamash, no idea what that meant. I took in the boys, and they had NO idea that my mission in going to Israel was to meet Reb Shlomo, and they took me straight to him where he was doing a bar-mitzvah across town. This is The Secret. G*d had heard me and took me on as a passenger for the journey.
For my Reb Shlomo story, read http://rebshlomocarlebach-ztl.blogspot.com/ .
Joy writing at 2 AM in window 
of Mishkenot Sha'ananim,
(c) Rabbi Devorah Jacobson

Later, while I was still ARTS editor of the monthly Jewish Calendar Magazine (LA's only Jewish magazine), I did write about that adventure. (It has been reprinted in Kol Chevre. I applied, and I'd been accepted (my dream) and stayed as a guest writer in the Jerusalem Foundation's Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Artist's House, in Yemin Moshe, up from the Valley of Hinom where (without a ticket) I could watch concerts from Mishkenot Sha'ananim. I would write until the wee hours of 3 am, cuddled in the old grated window sill area. Awesomely, the window looked out toward the Citadel, City of David. This 'international cultural center' was the first neighborhood building outside the Old City walls and now it was a "locked" community for visiting artists. (Herman Wouk, author of This Is My G*d, 1959, was my next door neighbor which pleased me because growing up, my family had his book at home.) There were over a hundred steps to get to the main street to catch a bus, and I needed to do that most days while studying at Hebrew University.

Until the year Reb Shlomo Carlebach, died (May his memory be for a blesSing), I went on to immediately become Reb Shlomo's drummer when he returned to US for concerts and Torah teachings. My dream--the message I heard, manifested with my kavanah / intention, and I found The Secret. I also discovered my "instinct." Shema.

Great blessings abound and I am filled with gratitude. G*d answered me and gifted me with the responsibility to play for others. If during my deep mourning this year (following the death of my husband, z'l), and I did not want to go out, I had to remember my gift received, and use and share my joy.

Joy Krauthammer on djembe drum 
(c) Deborah Alexander

It is not ego that gets me playing; Ego does like recognition. I play because I am moved to play. I move out of the way, and I am drummed. I become a vessel of Divine energy to inspire others to move and feel joy. Others are inspired to come to prayer in synagogue and they are uplifted in prayer by my percussion, as I am told by many. (For the last 20 years, I have studied with many great percussion masters from around the world.)

When faced with my own dancing alone in a drummers' circle, this is difficult for me to get up and dance, because I am seen. It is easy for me to do this dancing and playing in front of crowds because this is not me, not for me, but for others and I am danced and drummed to inspire others. It is what I had asked for in the sketch of my hands; The Secret.

My insides might want to be dancing for myself, responding to outer music, but so hard to get up and be visible.

So easy to get up with my insides responding to my insides, have the energy flow, and be a light for others. And then others are attracted and rise and dance.

Years ago, while in a sound meditation with Don Campbell at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, I received a 'message.' (I also saw an image of the Tree of Life while meditating and Don Campbell interrupted my meditation and asked me about the "tree". He some how knew my image.) I didn't act on the message I clearly heard, "Dance and sing." I guess I needed to hear it again. Some days later, during a Reiki healing in a new age shop "Angels" in a valley north of mine, one of the three Reiki healers (none of which I knew) simultaneously working on me, stopped the process to say to me the following. "I hesitate to say this to you, but I have heard a message to give to you, and that is 'You must dance and sing.' "

This is my service to G*d as I "Serve the Holy One With Joy." - Psalm 100:2.

For two decades, as a percussionist, first with a multi-colored ribbonned timbrel in hand, I have led congregations as they have danced through synagogue aisles, and sung. It was not easy being the first one in a shul to get up and dance alone in the empty aisles and inspire, but the dancing took hold. At one shul on High Holidays, Reb Zalman asked us to get us and dance. I listened. Alone, at first, I danced. Even Miriam HaNeviah had the women dancing with her.

My ego tells me that it is not fair that a well known musician gets not only his name publicized in an organization website, but receives also a pay check. Mostly I get neither. Yet, my community loves what I bring to them, and clearly, that is my pay for my avodah and my mitzvot.

I don't know the ripples from that playing percussion, unless someone shares it with me, and many do. That makes me happy. I am learning to listen, accept, take in and be grateful for the appreciation shown to me by my sharing my energy of joy and light. I am aware of The Secret, and I listen better to my instinct, without needing a passport to a holy land.

Reb Shlomo named me "Tzohara" adding to my names Gila Rena. He proclaimed to the congregation (that later became the Happy Minyan) on Parshat Pekudei, that I am, "Gila Rena Tzohara, Double Joy and Light." With this, I serve the Holy One.

BlesSings to you for double joy and light and manifesting your "secret."
Joy Krauthammer

* Filled with joy, and filled with seeing G*d before me.
Joy Krauthammer writing in window of Mishkenot Sha'ananim, photo by (c) Rabbi Devorah Jacobson
Reb Shlomo Carlebach, Joy Krauthammer and Shirley Perlus, performing, photo by (c) Shira Solomon
Joy Krauthammer on djembe drum, photo by (c) Deborah Alexander

Joy Krauthammer and Shoshanna Shoshannah aka Shoshannah Sarah (teaching djembe to Joy). Shoshanna, z"l, died 2018. This photo is from her NY Live Stream memorial.

More writing on Joy's music:

"My Percussion Is My Passion":