One can have religious experiences in various ways including words, meditation, righteous deeds, and music. The Temple Emunah chorus, the Mak'haylah, enhances the spiritual and religious experience of its members through song. At the same time, the Mak'haylah provides a service to the community at Temple functions and some of its religious Services, as well as to the outside community.
The word Mak'haylah is Hebrew for chorus and etymologically means "something that creates community." In this spirit, the Mak'haylah has as its goal the freeing of the inner soul of its audiences through song, souls that are often bound up in the tight straits of modern existence. The Temple Emunah Mak'haylah was founded by Leon Gunther in 1994. The chorus began as a modest group of Temple members who wanted to get together casually to sing songs just for simple enjoyment. However, owing to the increase in the quality of its performance, singing together became a more profound and serious endeavor and its repertoire grew rapidly in many ways and now includes liturgical, Zionist, Yiddish, Holocaust, and Jewish celebrational songs.
Since its founding, the Mak'haylah has provided the musical component of the Temple's annual Holocaust Memorial Service. The chorus also presents an annual concert at the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Newton and sings at various community events. In June, 1996, the Mak'haylah presented its first full length concert, which was recorded as a tape entitled "Emunah Sings". In November, 1997, the Mak'haylah joined Cantor Rabbi Yehuda Berdugo and l'Ensemble Philharmonia of Grenoble, France, in a major concert at the Jewish Community Center in Newton. On January 30, 2000, the Mak'haylah, along with the New England Klezmer Conservatory Band and the Chorus of Temple Isaiah of Lexington, presented a grand concert of Jewish music as one of the annual Lexington Cary Lecture Series.
New members are always welcome. There are no auditions and the ability to read or sight-read music is not required, though such abilities are extremely helpful.