The Arbel Chorale is a community-based choral ensemble specializing in Jewish music. We seek to bring educational and cultural programming to the larger Jewish community of, and to be a musical and cultural resource to, the Jewish community of Greater Philadelphia and beyond.
"Arbel" is an acronym drawn from the initial letters of Ohavei Rinah Bo-u Lashir ("Lovers of Joy, Come to Sing!) Founded in 1973 to bring young Jewish men and women together to sing, Arbel was originally affiliated with University of Pennsylvania Hillel. Now, Arbel is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Arbel is a diverse group of Jewish choral musicians drawn from the Greater Philadelphia area, including New Jersey and Delaware. For some who arrived with no musical background or training, Arbel was their first choral experience. Others brought years of choral involvement and broader musical abilities. Some brought extensive Jewish knowledge, background, and involvement; for others, Arbel is their first, or only, Jewish community affiliation. Some are students; most are adults employed in the Philadelphia area, working in law, education, science, health care, computers, or other fields.
Arbel presents an annual Spring Concert and regularly participates in community programs sponsored by synagogues and other community organizations. We performed twice at the North American Jewish Choral Festival and twice toured Israel. Arbel has performed with Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman, Robbie Solomon, Sol Zim, Nathan Lam and other nationally known Jewish performers. In 1998, we participated in many Israel 50 events, including the Hear, O Israel concert at the CoreStates (now Wachovia) Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic. Arbel also brings music to those in our community who have limited access to Jewish cultural activities at nursing homes and senior citizens' facilities.