The cover of the new compilation CD for Jewish children, “My Very First Jewish Celebrate,” contains this guarantee: “kid tested; parent approved.”
While cruising along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, coming home from a Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to put the guarantee to the test. I popped the CD in the disc player and let the music begin.
Not a word from my daughter, Noa. OK, she’s 6 months old, but you would think there would be a squeal, a gurgle, a sigh — something.
Seriously, though, the music on this 14 track CD is tried and true, representing some of the best musicians in the Jewish music world — Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman and Brad Schachter to name a few.
On that score, this parent approves.
Beyond that, the compilation CD appears to be overdone in the industry. And for good reason: It makes the record company money.
It’s an easy formula: Take a few well-known tracks from some well-known artists, put them on the same CD come up with catchy title and release it for sale.
In this case we can’t really see the tie between the songs chosen for this CD and the idea of a first celebration. Some of the tracks are Friedman’s “Alef Bet” song, “My Family” by Schachter, “Boker Tov” by The Marvelous Toy and the “David Melech Medley” by Josh Nelson.
There’s nothing wrong with “My Very First Jewish Celebrate,” which, by the way, is billed as volume 1 of a CD collection, but there isn’t much to recommend someone run right out and buy it either. If you’re a fan of Jewish music for children, chances are you already have many of these songs in your CD collection. Why not burn your own CD and save some money?
What would be exciting is new performers on the scene trying new musical techniques to bring Judaism to kids. That’s not the kind of CD this is, and that’s why in my family’s case at least, it’s not parent approved.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)