This Common Jewish Chant Set to the Tune of Harry Styles Is Amazing – Kveller
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This Common Jewish Chant Set to the Tune of Harry Styles Is Amazing


Back in 2016, Park Avenue Synagogue’s cantor (or hazzan in Hebrew) Azi Schwartz enchanted us with his version of Adon Olam set to the tune of Hamilton’s “You’ll Be Back” and made us all his biggest fans.

This year, the Israeli American vocalist has recorded a version of one of the biggest hits from another great — and, just like Lin-Manuel Miranda, very Jewish adjacent — star: Harry Styles.

Schwartz, a father of four who has starred as a cantor in TV shows and the Richard Gere film “Norman,” performed the text of “Etz Chaim” (“Tree of Life”), which is chanted when Jewish congregations put the Torah back in the Ark after readings, to the tune of Styles’ smash hit “As It Was.”

The whole thing is super inspired, but we especially love the part where he sets the Hebrew biblical text to the semi-spoken word section, which in the song begins with “go home, get ahead, light-speed internet.” It all works so seamlessly well:

Harry Styles’ tunes absolutely belong in a synagogue. The celebrated British singer, who rose to fame on “The X Factor” as a member of boyband One Direction, is no stranger to Jewish rites. As Rachel Levin wrote in Hey Alma, Styles spent almost an entire year living with British Jewish producer and director, Ben Winston, and his family in their London home (Winston directed the first One Direction documentarym “One Direction: A Year in the Making”), and his friendship with Winston has filled Styles with a wealth of Jewish knowledge.

Styles has tweeted about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and even Purim; he knows words like tzadik and schnorer and even once shared some Hebrew knowledge with an Israeli fan. He also has a Hebrew tattoo of his sister’s name. Basically, he’s welcome to come to services with us anytime.

When Schwartz and his congregation recorded this version of “Etz Chaim” back in February, they didn’t know that “As It Was” would be performed at the Grammys or that “Harry’s House,” the album the song is on, would win album of the year just a few days later.

We can’t help but think that this rendition deserves its own award.

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