1. I hear a lot of music in my synagogue that is very beautiful. So what do you mean that the music isn't available? It must be available if it's being played and sung every week.
You are right that there is some very beautiful synagogue music being heard today. In some cases, the music you are hearing is part of the classic Eastern European heritage we're talking about. In such cases, what you are hearing represents only a tiny proportion of what there is - the miniscule tip of a huge iceberg - so to speak, because only a very tiny percentage of it managed to survive. In other cases, the music you're hearing may be based on, or is a modernized take-off, of sorts, on Judaism's classic tradition. And some of the music you may be hearing is basically American music with Hebrew words, and that's something different altogether. A lot of it is also beautiful, but it doesn't take away the need to save the original classic tradition in its entirety. For example, having an abridged version of one or two of Shakespeare's works doesn't take the place of having all of Shakespeare's works in the original.
2. I've seen some recordings and sheet music of the music you're talking about in stores and heard about various collections in existence. So why is this project really needed?
It is true that some of this music is currently available, but there is much, much more that is not, and will be lost forever if it isn't recorded and published very soon. To be sure that this precious legacy is saved, we need one central and well-organized source where all of this music can be put together and presented as a coherent whole. Without a comprehensive resource, people will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to access the music. Right now, when people find some recordings or music, the music is out of context and, therefore, difficult to understand and appreciate. It's like old family photos with no names or dates on the back, so while you know the people in the photos are relatives, no one recalls how they are related - especially those from Europe, where no one remembers any more how they got to the US, what they endured as new immigrants, how their children gained acceptance and became successful in America. This project will put everything together, explain our Jewish musical heritage, and illustrate it in sound, all in a way that makes it possible to really understand and enjoy it. Doing this will also make it much more likely that the music already in existence will be sought out and used much more than it is today.