"Mah tovu! How good!" This setting of Mah Tovu, written to emphasize the word tovu, good, brings a joyful energy to this prayer of praise.
"We pray for peace. We pray for love. We pray that our world is like the one above." This setting of our familiar liturgy, written as an accessible congregational song, brings a new layer of meaning in its creative English.
"Dodi li va'ani lo, My beloved is mine and I am my beloved's" Drawing from the text of Song of Songs, this setting was written as a love song for Rabbi Tovlev on the occasion of their first anniversary.
Created especially to make space in our prayer for the experience of nonbinary Jews, this setting builds on our traditional morning liturgy Modeh Ani. Using the Nonbinary Hebrew Project, this piece offers a point of connection to nonbinary Jews as they pray the words "Modet ani, I am grateful."
Drawing from the little-known liturgy preceding Mi Chamocha in our morning prayers, this setting focuses on the enduring goodness of God: "Emet v'yatziv v'ahuv v'chaviv v'nora v'adir v'tov v'yafeh - true, enduring, beloved, precious, awesome, good and beautiful."
God of Goodness
Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams wrote a beautiful interpretive English translation of our gratitude (Hoda'ah) prayer in Mishkan Tefilah. This is a setting of Rabbi Abrams' poem, written to provide a sense of calm and solace in challenging times, reminding us that God's goodness is eternal and ever-present.
Ki Heharim Yamushu
Written for Cantor Tovlev's fourth year cantorial practicum on Zichronot, a section of Rosh Hashanah Liturgy, this setting draws from a verse in Isaiah on the covenant of lovingkindness between us and God. Written for a trio of voices.
Give Us a Place to Rest
Alongside the Hashkiveinu prayer in Mishkan Tefilah is Rabbi Richard Levy's interpretive English translation. This setting, based on Rabbi Levy's poetic interpretation, draws on the meditative and soothing nature of the Hashkiveinu liturgy, asking God to spread over us a shelter of peace.
"Lo alecheh hamlacha ligmor v'lo ateh bet chorin l'hibatel mimena, It is not upon you to complete the work but neither are you free to ignore it." Drawing on two verses of Pirkei Avot, one of our strongest Jewish texts on social justice, this setting urges us to engage in the work of repairing the world. Using nonbinary Hebrew, Cantor Tovlev adapted the masculine language describing all of humankind to be gender-expansive.
The familiar liturgy of the Shehecheyanu prayer forms a basis for this setting, adapted using nonbinary Hebrew to celebrate a momentous moment in a nonbinary Jew's life. With both Hebrew and English, Cantor Tovlev wrote this setting for their Hebrew renaming ceremony in 2020.
"May the words I speak and the intentions in my heart be kind, be gentle, be true." With both English and Hebrew, this setting brings our familiar liturgy into new focus, reminding us of the importance of choosing our words and setting our intentions with goodness and care.
"With ever-lasting love, you've loved us Adonai. Day by day, all our lives, you love us Adonai." This setting, written for duet or solo voice, allows us to focus on the enduring nature of God's love for us.
Y'varech'che (for SAT choir)
Cantor Tovlev's arrangement of their nonbinary Priestly Benediction for three-part choir (soprano, alto, tenor). Written for Cantor Tovlev's senior recital and later performed during the 2023 HUC-JIR ordination in New York.