My late father was a lover of chazanut (cantorial music) who enhanced his interest by singing in the Melbourne Jewish Male Voice Choir. (He was blessed with a fine singing voice, but it’s not something I have inherited.) Whenever I visited Melbourne, we always went for one Friday night service at least, to a particular shul that featured a choir and a real performance of Carlebach style chazanut, because it was a truly uplifting, spiritual experience. I came out of that place on a high, inspired by the beautiful melodies, harmonies, and pure emotion. I also came out of that place late, because the service took so long with all that singing! However, we would rush back for dinner and didn’t get into too much trouble.
When I lived in Glasgow, the shul I attended – Giffnock – featured a choir over the High Holy Days, always adding something to the occasion. And while I don’t remember a choir over any Shabbat, Rabbi Rubin regularly led a Carlebach type service on a Friday night.
This Shabbat in Ra’anana, there was a choir in the shul I now attend. They were superb. There were five in the group; young, orthodox Jews, performing to a packed shul, doing wonderful, tuneful things to the service, and raising my spirits greatly. Apart from the general good feeling, their singing brought back pleasant memories of those times with my dad. It did take that bit longer, so I know it will never be a weekly occurrence, as people are often in a rush to get home for dinner. Maybe, the rarity adds to the special nature of the experience for me? Regardless, I will look forward to the next time, whenever it happens.
Have a great week, one and all.