Yes. It’s true. Extraordinary Love is officially available online. Now go grab a copy, listen and write up a review. Oh yea, don’t forget to share with your friends. Today we make history… join us.
Can you believe it? My full length album is out in less than a week.
Thank you and blesssings,
I am deeply moved. Something has really shifted for me. For the past day I have been slowly adjusting to the world that we live in, because for the past 4 days I signed off the grid and for the first time in my life experienced Sukkot in a way that truly connected me with the land. I attended Wilderness Torah’s Sukkot On the Farm, on a little sustainable farm nestled in a valley surrounded by redwood trees, one mile inland and 20 miles north of Santa Cruz. Miracles happened this past week, that were so powerful that they deepened my connection to faith, communal living and mama earth. I really understand that Sukkot is a festival where we harvest our crops and cry out for water to sustain a year of growth. At this festival we created our own water ritual based off the rituals that our sages did during this time of year. The priests would pour water brought from the tribes of israel on a stone located in the temple, and this process would act as a symbol to bring forth the waters that would sustain another season of abundant healthy crops. The only thing more valuable that the torah is water, our life force.
During Saturday morning services one of the biggest miracles of my entire life took place. It all started with the option of attending two different services, an traditional davening experience and an egalitarian musical service. I finished birkot hashachar and was pondering the idea of which service to attend. Based off what I do for a living I chose to attend the egalitarian services, but wanted to both daven and observe from the back of the room. I was praying with my sefard art scroll, when it hit me that if I really want to grow with this community that I should participate by singing their melodies and I can still read in between the lines and still say the entire blessings without having to choose one or the other. The music was so catchy that the men sitting next to me starting chanting a bass section of “baruch she’amar.” We started singing together and swaying our bodies. I put down my book and joined them, soon we were at halleuyah and I was on my feet dancing just like I did at the Carlebach minyinim back in Jerusalem.
Following the shemona Esrei, I caught a group of people running toward the Sukkah with the torah in their hands, saying the rain is coming. All of a sudden one of the heaviest rains I have ever experienced poured out of the sky. It was time for the torah service and both minyinim were meeting for a joint torah service. In a just a few moments the Sukkah was filled with close to 200 people who were all crowding around the torah. The logistics team showed up and started attaching tarpes to the top of the sukkah to protect us and the torah from the rain, then people showed up bearing long sticks to push the water off the tarps. Water poured onto many of the musical instruments and people rushed to move them. The rabbis would say blessings and the rain would fall even harder. Soon everyone was bundled up waiting to hear the torah reading. Zelig, one of the directors told us to be thankful for the rain, because this is what the holiday is celebrating. Where would we go? We all stayed together, repeated every line that was said so we all new what the rabbis were saying. We all stuck together. We listened, we held up shelter and at that moment we were all connected. I felt as if I was a tribesman hearing the chief speak, sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the kicker. The torah service came to a conclusion after a 30 minute time span and then the director guided us to put our hand sup to the sky for gratitude. Right when we all put our hands up the rain stopped. I mean the rain was REALLY POURING, then just stopped?!? How you explain that? This isn’t the “Truman Show.” Or is it? The torah portion, the torah service and the halt of rain was g-d interacting with all of us in that Sukkah. This experience has taught me to let go, and join the community. When the community comes together as one, miracles happen.
After also coordinating a very successful Kabalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv at this years Burning Man, and attending Wilderness Torah’s Sukkot On The Farm, I have a clear vision for the future of Judaism and spiritual practice. I know now how I want to live, and I am going to continue building relationships with like minded people. One day I will live in a community full time like what I experienced this past week.
I finally found my community. They are all over the world. Educated, choice empowered, diverse, all ages, conscious, mystics, 100% tolerant, authentic, tribal, guardians of the earth, deep in gratitude & joy, hands on, high frequency and full of love.
Thank you Wilderness Torah for grounding me with curiosity for the spiritual elements of the land I live on, allowing me to expand on my ritual perspective and practice.
You know special days when everything is in the “divine flow?” You know.. things just flow together it’s almost like a movie? Yesterday I had the opportunity to lead BBYO PWR in YK services with both Erel Israel and Simone. Erel gave one of the most entertaining and deeply connecting dvar torahs I have ever heard. For me as a leader I was able to facilitate the ritual by contributing song, kevanot and story. I felt PRESENT and connected to the community. Post the service a man thanked me because he communicated that he never connects with services and felt inspired and transformed by the experience. He asked if I was a rabbi. i said no. He asked if I was a canter, I said no. I said I was a “folk singer, who was deeply thankful for the opportunity to make liturgy, blessings and ritual relatable.”
With a free afternoon I drove to Malibu, sat up on the rocks and was immersed by the beautiful waves hitting the shore. I opened by guitar case and began channeling something, a song came to be. I don’t sit down to write, usually something happens when I am in the right moment where words and melody move through me. The coastline sitting beneath the Getty Villa and looking down at Santa Monica, and Venice Beach was remarkable.
I was HUNGRY. However, this year I was committed to making this a day of purely blessing and meditation. So with that I did not eat. I sat thinking abot food, my year and sitting in gratitude even though my stomach was eating itself.
Erel’s father David, invited me to Kehilat Israel the Reconstructionist congregation in the Pacific Palisades and for a break fast at his house. I walked into the sanctuary and those “disney eyes” of Julie Silver shined up at me. Julie was leading the congregation in Yitzchor and Neila services with Rabbi Amy. I sat and supported the community of who have died. We said a prayer for the 6 million, and Julie began singing, I broke down into tears. She really gets it. She understands how to take the community on a journey. She takes her time and makes prayer authentic and easily understandable. The Rabbi spoke with such power and sang melodies that raising the Ruach in the room, this rabbi sang with all her heart and soul, delivered stories based in almost what seemed chasidic and mystical understandings of the blessings and accompanied Julie beautifully. Following a beautiful Havdallah I was able to eat my first piece of bread.
I went to the Israel’s house for break the fast. We ate delicious, food, shared stories, manifestations for the year, Erel delivered his dvar once again and I performed a few of my songs. This family really understands how to create space for life changing moments. They spoke in this house with authenticity and love. They were also PRESENT, and purely selfless. To be honest it was a nice coming home back to Socal and to have a valuable experience with this family, and community. Everyone at the party really welcomed me in as a stranger and shared that my music inspired them to connect deeply with the spirit.
Follwoing the party I checked out Craig Taubman’s new Pico Union Project break the fast. It was great bumping into Josh Goldberg, Rick Lupert, Addie Lupert, Matt Baram, D.j. Markuson, Sam Rotenbaum, and others. Eric Shwartz is one of the funniest comedians I Have ever seen. The space was a gem and I can’t to see what they do with the building.
All in all the flow was fun. I hope to experience more days like this. Filled with gratitude. Excited to make new friends. Excited to see old friends. Excited to discover and be reminded that there is much to learn. Much to be created. Much to be PRESENT with. Bless.
“Pauker’s official bio lists a smorgasbord of influences: folk, electronica, pop, hip-hop and reggae all get shout-outs, not to mention Bon Iver, Imagine Dragons and the XX. Pauker has an album coming out this fall.” Take a Look here!!!
This month Mikey has been honored with being featured in the Jewish Journal. “I think everybody has the time when something shifts about them. You can’t say when it’s going to happen. I think that it also takes a lot of questioning and the process of being open to it and sharing it with others. If we just let these experiences go by us and we’re not paying attention to it, then we’ve just basically ignored the whole thing.” Read more here!!
Good friends Eric Hunker & Happie Hoffman, arranged a YouTube cover for “Miracle Of You,” which will be released on my full length album Extraordinary Love set to release on October 1st. I am completely blown away with this rendition of the song and feel blessed that they would feature my song this week.
Both Eric and Happie have very active music careers. They are the head song-leaders of BBYO’s ILTC and Kallah during the summer time. Both of them have popular YouTube channels and are constantly on tour. Make sure to check them out for beautiful original covers.
Mikey was interviewed by Blue Print magazine. Read up here!
“On Oct. 1, Pauker will release his “Extraordinary Love” album followed by a world-tour. The album is a mix of folk and pop, with a twist of hip-hop. “The Light,” a track featuring ex-Hassidic gay rapper Y-Love, blends the two styles perfectly.” Click on the article to read more!
George Robinson writes “That is entirely appropriate since Pauker is a Californian, born and bred. Raised as a Reform Jew in Liguna Niguel, he describes himself as a “problem child” in shul, a kid who “acted out by talking” in class. But as he settled down, his interest in spirituality grew, as did his involvement in Jewish summer camps. When he went to San Francisco State as an undergraduate, he joined a Jewish fraternity, worked for the campus Hillel and made his first visit to Israel. Eventually he would spend time at a Carlebach-inspired yeshiva, “living chasidish, studying Tanya and mysticism, going to the mikveh every morning, wrapping myself in tefillin.” Read More here!!!