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The High Holy Days

09/11/2014 02:27:56 PM


The High Holy Days

For us as choir boys in Winnipeg Canada in the 1950's nothing compared to the “liturgical” excitement of the High Holy Days. While all of us between 8-15 years old were the cantors on Shabbes at the orthodox Talmud Torah, Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur was the “Big Time” for us. Broadway could not have been better. We rehearsed Monday through Friday morning all summer long. Monday and Wednesday nights we harmonized with the men and sang four part choral music. While we all developed our musicality, something even more important happened to us. We as young children developed a deep natural connection to Shul (Synagogue) and Jewish religious music. We led Shabbes services, every Shabbat throughout our childhood- The nusach (prayer mode) of Shabbes and holidays became automatic and penetrated our hearts and souls. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we heard Cantor Brownstone pour his heart out to everyone of us choir boys as well as the congregation. We encircled him, gave him musical chords that we hummed and actually learned all of his nusach and tefilot by the time we were ten or twelve years old.

Just a few weeks ago, my wife Judy and I did a Yiddish concert in Winnipeg. The next day, at lunch time, Chris Harden and Judy joined me as we ate lunch with my former choir members now in their sixties and seventies. We sang all the old the prayers. The love of Jewish prayer never left our hearts or our lips. May you be inscribed for a healthy and peaceful New Year. 

Sat, September 26 2020 8 Tishrei 5781