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The setting here for cantor and organ of the evening prayer Ahavat olam, which refers to God’s everlasting love for the House of Israel and His gift of laws by which to live, is taken from Adler’s complete Sabbath eve service, Shiru Ladonai, which was written during the 1960s while he was music director at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas. The Reform movement was then beginning to envision the inclusion of women as officially invested cantors (the first female cantor was invested by the School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College in 1975). But Adler, along with many other composers and choirmasters, was quick to realize that most cantorial settings—even those without extended virtuoso tenor cantorial idioms—were more suitable for male voices. In this service, therefore, Adler paid special attention to writing settings that would be at least equally appropriate for female and male solo voices.
While ahavat olam is recited at every evening service including weekdays, this setting is specifically for Sabbath eve. It is therefore based on the particular Ashkenazi prayer mode for that service, with its formulaic cadence at the conclusion and the b’rakha (benediction).