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September 06, 1991 - Image 94

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-09-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I RELIGION I

From All Of Us At
Audette Cadillac
We Wish You A
Happy and Healthy
New Year

SEE THE 1992 CADILLACS
NOW

7100 ORCHARD LAKE RD.

at the end of Northwestern Highwa ■

WEST BLOOMFIELD

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OPEN MON. & THURS. 'til 9 P.M.

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liA117CAIZE

WOULD LIKE TO WISH EVERYONE A HAPPY

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Hours Monday - Friday 9a.m. - 9p.m.*
Saturday 9a.m. - 6p.m.* *Mall hours may vary

OFF

HAIRCUTS

SOUTHFIELD

I

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NORTH OF 12 MILE
ACROSS FROM A & W
SOUTHFIELD COMMONS
PHONE: 559-4683

Save 51 off our everyday low I
58 haircut price. For just S7,
we will apply our special'
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quality haircut just the way you
want it. and a blow dry. No
appointment necessary.

FRESH-FROZEN AND HEAT'N'SERVE
FOODS FOR PEOPLE ON THE GO

WISH ALL OUR FRIENDS AND CUSTOMERS A HAPPY

ROSH HASHANAH

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94

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1991

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Demand For Cantors
Is A Lesser Priority

DEBRA N. COHEN

Special to The Jewish News

here is a single mo-
ment each year when
Jews, crowded into
synagogues, wait in hushed
expectation for the first,
sonorous notes of Kol Nidrei,
the opening prayer of the
Yom Kippur service.
Even for those who attend
synagogue no more than
three days a year, the reso-
nance of a cantor's voice
somberly intoning Kol
Nidrei can release a flood of
memories and inspire a
reflective feeling well suited
to the soul searching
demanded by the Days of
Awe.
The sounds of Kol Nidrei
are, as one rabbi quips,
"Jewish soul music."
But as each generation
moves further and further
away from the European
tradition that turned cantors
into musical stars, the can-
torial tradition becomes less
and less of a priority for
American synagogues, most
of which no longer employ
year-round cantors.
And, despite a small up-
surge of interest lately in
musical and religious train-
ing for the cantorate,
relatively few people are
entering the professional
associations affiliated with
the major denominations of
Judaism.
Nevertheless, come the
High Holy Days, most people
feel that the service is not
complete without a cantor's
voice leading the prayers.
In response, many con-
. gregations have cantors who
return each year for the
holidays. Others use vocal-
ists, - choirs and student can-
tors. And some congrega-
tions, including those cut-
ting costs in a depressed
economy, do without any
cantorial accompaniment at
all on the High Holidays.
In an effort to save the
$2,000 to $10,000 it would
cost to hire a professional
cantor for the holidays, some
congregations hire local pro-
fessional singers and ask
them to learn the melodies.
Most of the Reform
movement's 850 affiliated
congregations are small —
fewer than 300 families —
and cannot afford to hire a
cantor even for the holidays,
according to Cantor Nancy
Hausman, administrator of
the American Conference of
Cantors.
But several congregations

that cannot afford to hire a
cantor this year have told
Cantor Hausman that they
intend to do so next year.
Congregations located
away from areas with signifi-
cant Jewish populations are
less likely to hear a cantor's
voice over the holidays.
"In some little town in
Alabama or Northern
Florida that doesn't have
any kind of Jewish music
professionals around, they
have to make do with the
best that they can," Cantor
Hausman pointed out.
The trouble with "making
do," according to Samuel
Rosenbaum, executive pres-
ident of the Conservative
movement's Cantors'
Assembly, is that local vo-
calists, while less expensive

The sounds of Kol
Nidre are Jewish
soul music.

than trained cantors, "use
whatever melodies they
know —makeshift melodies.
"What's being sacrificed is
a tradition, a cultural and
musical treasure that gives
Judaism the wide coloration
that it has."
Nevertheless, said Cantor
Rosenbaum, only half of the
Conservative movement's
800 congregations hire pro-
fessionals, while "hundreds"
rely on ba'alei tefillah, lay
leaders.

Each year, Cantor Rosen-
baum places about 10 part-
time, professionally trained
cantors, and 20-30 full-time
cantors who are in the last
year or two of their contracts
and use the holidays to test
the waters in new places.
In "the golden years" of
the 1960s, Cantor Bernard
Beer, director of Yeshiva
University's Philip and
Sarah Belz School of Jewish
Music, would place three
times as many cantors in
congregations for the High
Holy Days as the 75 he did
this year.
Those were the days, Can-
tor Beer reminisces, when
synagogues would advertise
auditions for High Holy Day
cantors and get a wealth of
responses.
The decreased interest in
hiring cantors is more pro-
nounced in the Orthodox
world, which has moved
away from large synagogues
in favor of less formal neigh-
borhood shtieblech in base-
ments and living rooms. 0

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