to a different
they step off
RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRITER
It's said that Jewish music began 3,000 years ago on the
steps of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Levites applied
melodies to prayers, a practice the Christian Church adopt-
ed centuries later.
During the Babylonian Exile, Jews were exposed to Ara-
bic culture and gradually absorbed its rhythm and song. Lat-
er, as they wandered back to Israel through Syria, Jordan
and Egypt, the Middle Eastern influence compounded. Jews
returned to Zion with a blended repertoire. Still, the purpose
of their holy melodies remained the same.
"Music is a tool. People read prayers at different paces.
Some people read faster. Some people, more slowly. Where
do you meet? When you put it to music," says Sasson Natan,
cantor of the Kehila Sephardic Community of Greater De-
Sephardim traditionally call their cantors chazzaniin —
It's a far cry from "L'Cha Dodi." "Adon Olam" it definitely the ones who chant and lead prayer services in accordance
is not. No matter. Howard Glantz, cantor at Adat Shalom with Jewish law. On the bimah, Mr. Natan holds true to the
Synagogue in Farmington Hills, scouts out garage vital role. But, in his car and basement studio, he sheds his
sales in search of vintage Sherman albums. An- frock to reveal the rock 'n' roll.
The studio contains all the trappings of a chazzan gone
other one of his favorites is "Cat's In The Cradle"
21st century: two drum sets, a saxophone, electric guitar and
by the late Harry Chapin.
At 33, young Glantz is proof positive that a keyboard, as well as equipment to arrange and produce the
cantor's musical taste can extend beyond the litur- songs he composes.
Although Mr. Natan's favorite music is religious and Mid-
gical. Don't be too surprised if you flip through
his collection of LPs to find Willie Nelson wedged dle Eastern, he admits to a maverick appetite for tunes by
in between Rogers and Hammerstein, Israeli folk country superstar Garth Brooks.
Before that, it was Pink Floyd. But that was years ago,
tunes and, of course, more sacrosanct cantorial
clarifies Gila Natan, his wife. That was way, way back when
"Jews have a very strong tradition that has her husband was serving in the Israeli army.
Gila, who lives in Southfield with Mr. Natan and their
been handed down, generation to generation,
Lg through song," Cantor Glantz reflects. "But in three children, fesses up to her own icons of yesteryear: the
my work, I definitely borrow from the spirit and Partridge Family and Osmond Brothers.
Don't expect a satisfactory response when you ask a lo-
the emotion I've learned through many different
types of music. I've been told that my body moves cal cantor to name his or her favorite heavy-metal star.
"Heavy metal?" Cantor Glantz asks. He thinks a moment
more than other cantors' on the bimah, but I have
and then responds: Kansas.
± yet to gyrate like Elvis."
Sorry Cantor Glantz. You're unarguably hip. But the group
To the probable relief of Adat Shalom congre-
gants, that won't happen soon. Mr. Glantz, like most of his Kansas, a la "Dust In the Wind," might as well compose
colleagues, respects the millenia-old customs that have bond- lullabies. Try again.
"My wife and I went to the Rolling Stones concert last tune
ed Jews from all corners of the world.
The old Allan Sherman tune goes something like this:
Grow Mrs. Goldfarb
Pile the potatoes
On your platter
Listen to me
'Cause I'm your hubby
I just adore you
Plump and chubby.