Debbie Friedman was, and remains, one of America’s great Jewish songwriters. Her contributions to the liturgy changed the way Reform Jews have prayed. “Not By Might, Not By Power” takes the text from Zachariah 4:6 (“Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, said the the almighty God”) and supercharges it with an irresistibly uplifting melody. Billy writes, “I was asked by the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) to record it with Ellen in 1989 for NFTY’s 50th birthday. The synths were definitely an 80s thing, but the 2-part harmony remains a whole lot of fun to this day.”
The recording comes from “Go Out in Joy,” Beged Kefet’s 2nd album (1991). Beged Kefet (1982-2009) was comprised of: Rabbi Les Bronstein, Rabbi Billy Dreskin, Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Cantor Riki Lippitz, Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller, Beth Sher, and Cantor Leon Sher. As you will hear, we worked hard to produce tight harmonies. And this was before you could tune things up afterward. Audio verite, you might say!
Not by might and not by power,
But by spirit alone, shall all people live in peace.
The children sing, the children dream
And their tears may fall but we’ll hear them call
And another song will rise!
released Dec 1991
text from Zachariah 4:6
music by Debbie Friedman
arranged by Billy Dreskin
performed by Beged Kefet
sound engineering by Skipp Tullen z”l (Tullen Sound Recording, Morristown, NJ)
MP3 Audio (orig Beged Kefet recording), Handwritten Lead Sheet for 3Voices (pdf)