Bio

Gedalya also known as The Folk Rock Rabbi is a singer/songwriter based in New York. Exploring themes of faith, hardships, and growth, his music is reaching a growing audience around the globe, touching listener’s hearts in every corner of the world.

An avid poet from a young age, Gedalya spent his teenage years writing poetry before taking up piano at the age of 17 and putting his words to music. He began performing at open mics around New York City in his early twenties and has been playing live shows for the past twenty years, gaining a dedicated fan base along the way. Gedalya takes inspiration from his spirituality and his experiences of travelling through different cultures, incorporating his perception of world issues and mankind into his music.

Since 2018, Gedalya has released six albums ‘Man of Faith’, ‘Pulling Strings’, ‘2020 VisionaryMy Little WorldAlbum 2022’ and his latest release 'This is My World'.

Presently he is writing and recording new songs while busking on the streets of New York City.

In addition, he also performs his music in prisons with his non-profit organization 'A New Song USA' which is dedicated to using the power of music to unite, inspire and give strength to people from all walks of life.

Gedalya continues to build his musical catalogue and is looking forward to sharing more of his message with people all over the globe. Listen on Spotify! 

A New Song Blog

Gedalya to Gedalya Folk Rock Rabbi  

I remember the first time I went to Israel. I can’t say that as a Jewish American boy I had a strong feeling about Israel as my homeland. I was there to be inspired and maybe have some new ideas for songs to write.   After the trip, I would go home the same person I was before I left and continue pursuing my music career. Little did I know I was in for quite a surprise! 

When I arrived, the first place I went to was the old city in Jerusalem. I found a hostel to stay in and began to travel around. As my money began to dwindle, I decided to take some classes on Jewish topics, ranging from the history of the Jewish people to the holocaust. The classes were free, some were philosophical, and, honestly speaking, they were way more interesting and informative than other classes I’d taken that I had to pay for. 

I remember a class about man's purpose in the world and I was amazed at how deep the topic was. It was certainly very different than the Judaism that I knew and had grown up with. To me Judaism was always about ritual observance, outdated traditions, and burdensome obligations. I didn’t see any meaning behind it. But now I was learning a whole philosophy that is the foundation of Judaism. I discovered that my religion thinks about really deep things and analyzes ideas and concepts. That was something I appreciated. 

Every morning I would go for a jog and then spend the rest of the day going to classes and delving into books about spirituality. One day I found a book in English that was filled with inspiring stories about prophets. Reading it, I heard the dreamer in me say, “Yea, that’s what I want to be: a prophet!”  I know it sounds funny, but it wasn't funny to me. In fact, I was so serious about it that I decided to put music aside for a while and really focus on my spiritual growth. I was around twenty-five when I made this decision and the next time I would write a song wouldn't be until ten years later, when I would write Make me a Sage. The time I took off from actively pursuing a music career while I was learning did set me back in terms of my dream to be a rock star though. I mean when I began, I was nineteen with long hair and I had the look, if you know what I mean.  Despite all of that, my real dream was always to be able to share my ideas through music and inspire others. I would have never been able to write the songs I write today if not for the changes I made in my life, changes that led me from being a seeker to a finder 

Ok, so what about the Rabbi part? Am I a Rabbi or not! Well, officially yes, I am a Rabbi.  You see, a Rabbi is a teacher, a teacher of life. He is also a spiritual resource for people interested in personal growth. I am an official Rabbi, with rabbinic ordination, but I wasn’t ever interested in having a position in a Synagogue.  I studied because I love to learn and after many years of studying I was able to pass the test! 

The vision I have now is the same as when I began to write songs, which was to live life with my mind turned on to learning from the world around me and being able to share the message I learn with others through music. There was a time I had my doubts as to whether I would ever write another song and get back into music, but I attribute my inability to write to the fact that my personal outlook on life and the world around me was changing. I was in the process of integrating my new spiritual perspective with the truths that I already had inside of me, developing them and asking myself questions about what was really right, what was really true. While in this process, my outlook on reality was still being formed and not yet a part of my being. I wasn't able to articulate my new ideas because I still did not have a strong enough grasp on them to put them in writing. 

So, allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Gedalya, also known as the Folk Rock Rabbi. I'm writing songs for everyone, not just Jewish people. Anyone and everyone who wants to hear something new and interesting is welcome to listen. I'm a self-taught musician, and my music style is inspired by the songs I grew up on, mostly top 40 and classic rock but I have ventured into other genres. I'm not a diehard fan of any particular artist. I like songs for the song itself. What the lyrics have to say and the music are what appeal to me. 

Wishing you only good things, Gedalya

Here's a picture of me back in 1995 on my first trip to The Holy Land. I've also included my song Holy Soldier which was written in 2018 on another trip I took. Only good things! 

 

Geoffrey to Gedalya  

Hello and welcome to my first website blog! I'm calling it A New Song Blog after the name of my non-profit, A New Song USA.  I'd like to give you a sense of who I am and where I'm coming from, and if you decide to listen to my music maybe you'll understand the man behind the music a bit more. 

This is an excerpt from an autobiographical sketch that I've been working on for the past fifteen years. Don't let the fact that I am a religious Jew throw you off.  My message, and the one that my organization was created to share, is one of universal comfort, connection, and hope for the future. 

I never thought that I would be an Orthodox Jew and look like this.  As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, I didn’t even want to be Jewish.  If I was ever asked, I would say I was Italian, it seemed to me that people liked Italians and I wanted to be liked. 

I remember walking to shul on the high holidays, I would always be so terrified that someone I knew would see me dressed in my holiday suit. I would wait until I was inside the shul to put on my yarmulke, and I would immediately remove it upon leaving.  

I grew up traditional. I had cousins who were Orthodox. They lived on the lower east side in Manhattan. Their lives were very strange to me. I never had anything against Orthodoxy; I just couldn’t see myself living a life full of such restriction, and religious obligations. Don’t do this. Don’t eat that. You can’t go here; you can’t go there. And the thought of using my Jewish name Gedalya made me feel a little uneasy inside. Yea, being traditional was more than enough for me. 
  
I had other ideas of what I wanted to do with my life. For example, when I was 6, I wanted to be a superhero and I would save my sisters from the ferocious beast in the back yard. OK, it was Spunky, our dog, but he was a little ferocious at times. When I was 12, I dreamed that I was a racecar driver, I would sit in a shopping cart pretending to be racing in the Indy 500. When I was 16, my family had moved to Florida, and now I wanted to be a bodybuilder. I lifted weights day and night, took vitamins the size of grapefruits, drank protein shakes and flexed my muscles in the mirror a lot. When I was 19 though, it all came together for me. I was going to be a rock star. It didn’t matter that I didn’t play an instrument and that I couldn’t sing on key. I’d been writing poems since I was a kid, and I decided I would try to put them to music. I wrote my poetry about things that mattered to me. Thoughts and feelings I had about myself, and the things I saw. I felt that I had a message to share, and I wanted to get it out there. My mother bought me an old beat-up piano and I began banging away at the keys.  

So, there I was, 19 years old with all of my dreams, waiting for something great to happen to me. But where should I wait, where should I be when this great happening happens? Like any other 19-year-old, I felt the world was mine for the taking. I decided that I would go to the place that people go to make it big, The Big Apple. I went into the recording studio and made a demo of all three of my songs. Then I got in my dark brown, all leather interior, 1977 Cadillac Coupe Deville with dark tinted windows, and I was off. I drove straight through the night. Made it in 21 hours. The music was blasting all the way. 

Well, that was the way that I saw myself, to everyone else, I graduated from high school, barely. I didn’t want to go to college, or to be a part of the college scene. I didn’t have a knack for business. I didn’t have financial backing or financial planning, or any finances at all. And between you and me, I didn’t even know if I had all that much talent. I just knew that I was going to make my dreams come true. 

One night, I was feeling like I wasn’t going anywhere in life.  I was now about 24-years old. I was living in Kew Gardens, Queens. I was writing songs and performing them in various places in Greenwich Village. I was getting my message out there, but I was feeling empty. I remember lying awake at night, thinking back to my childhood, to my home. I enjoyed my freedom, but something was tugging at me.  That night, I realized that music wasn’t enough.  I needed to be involved in something that meant something, a cause that I believed in. Around this time, there was a group that was going to Poland to visit the concentration camps, and then on to Israel. I thought that as a writer this would be a great opportunity to have some new material. I packed up all of my things into my knapsack, took my portable keyboard and I was off. 
  
I never really gave much thought into what it meant to be a Jew. I remember a bus ride to visit one of the concentration camps in Poland. It was a very hot day and there was no air conditioning on the bus. I had to stand because it was so crowded. I remember thinking to myself, that as uncomfortable as I was, my fate going to this place could’ve been a lot worse. When we arrived at the first camp, and we were shown around, I couldn’t believe how real it all was. As much as a person can believe something is true, when you see it with your own eyes it becomes so much more real. Our guide told us that during the Holocaust it didn’t matter if you were religious or not, secular Jews that had no appearance of being Jewish whatsoever were killed alongside their brethren. I began to become terrified at the thought that something like this really happened. The strange thing is, with every step I took and everything I saw, I felt myself come closer to my Jewish identity. I also found myself becoming angry at how something like this could be done to my people. I had found my cause…I would be Jewish!   At that moment I decided I would begin to use my Hebrew name, Gedalya.