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Singing the Praises of Religion

November 10, 1994|CHRISTINA V. GODBEY

Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon.

On Sunday, the Mar Vista resident, also known as the Rockin' Rabbi, will take to the stage to perform selections from his album "Rockin' Rabbi and Rollin' Fingers."

Comess-Daniels said he is excited about his second annual concert, which is geared toward adults and children alike.

"When I do children's concerts, I get to perform a little more," said the rabbi from Temple Beth Shir Sholom in Santa Monica. "Music is very much a part of me. I just love to sing and play the guitar."

The idea for the concert began six years ago when Comess-Daniels and Larry Steelman, a member of the temple's congregation, were trying to devise a method of teaching children more about Jewish holidays through song. They found that few songs had been written for children, and much of the material that existed was in Hebrew.

The pair set to work on writing material that went beyond traditional holiday favorites. The result was the production and release last year of the "Rockin' Rabbi and Rollin' Fingers" album. The recording features Comess-Daniels playing guitar and singing.

The rabbi, who grew up playing folk music, said each song takes a particular theme or emotion and expounds upon it. He believes that many of the songs, such as "Friends," reflect a universal message.

"What I think makes (our music) unique is it teaches in gentle ways about the way in which people should behave in the world," he said. "It is a gentle style of music."

The concert begins at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Temple Beth Shir Sholom, 1827 California Ave., Santa Monica. Reservations are suggested. Tickets are $5. Information: (310) 453-3361.

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