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Shul Hopping in Winnipeg

09/06/2017 04:28:54 PM


One of the highlights of my Jewish life on the prairies of Winnipeg Manitoba Canada in the 1950's was going from Synagogue to Synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Before and after singing in the choir at the Talmud Torah with Cantor Brownstone about four or five or us would listen for about five or ten minutes to the other Cantors in our neighborhood. Rabbi Zalman Schachter the emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe was the Rabbi Cantor of the Lubavitcher Shul. We thought that singing prayers to the tunes of popular  music of the day, such as Greenfields, was sacrilegious. He sang with so much heart and passion though that we forgave him. Rabbi Louis Berkal, the cantor of Shaarei Tzedek, we thought was too modern. Cantor Feldman, at the Ashkenazi Synagogue, had great passion but we had issues with his voice.  By far our favorite was Cantor Jacob Kousevitsky at the Rosh Pina Synagogue, one of the famous Kousevitsky brothers. Though everyone said his voice was weaker then the other famous three brothers, especially Moshe Kousevitsky  whom we called the king of the cantors, we loved his outpouring of Jewish Melody.  He touched our hearts so deeply.  Twenty years later I had the honor of studying with his brother, David.  

As the years went on, I realized that what was most important was the heart that each Cantor put into the prayers, and not just the sound of the voice.  Today, this Rosh Hashunah and Yom Yippur may each of us put heart and soul into our beautiful prayers-Kol Nidre, Shma Koleinu etc. etc. 

I truly hope that our prayers reach the creator of the world and that this year will become the best year of our lives.  


L'shana Tova Tikateivu

Sat, September 26 2020 8 Tishrei 5781