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September 10, 2009 - Image 45

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-09-10

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Sweet Shul Music

Inspired congregants lead prayer and song at Beth Ahm.

For The Record

David Sachs

Senior Copy Editor

Beth Ahm in West
C ongregation
o 0
Bloomfield prides itself as a
family oriented, close-knit syna-
gogue."Big enough to enrich you, small
enough to know you," its motto professes.
For years on the Days of Awe, the shul's
congregants have been shepherded from
the bimah by Ronn Nadis, a soulful and
mellow baritone. But most days, Nadis
is more of a barrister than a baritone,
practicing commercial real estate law as a
shareholder in the law firm of Taubman,
Nadis & Neuman P.C. in Farmington Hills.
At 50, Nadis has been wearing these two
hats, lawyer and prayer leader, his entire
adult life. While practicing law and raising a
family, Nadis studied with rabbis and can-
tors and traveled to hone his cantorial craft.
Among his mentors were Rabbi
Allan Kensky, formerly of Beth Israel
Congregation in Ann Arbor, with whom
Nadis studied while his wife, Dr. Beth
Nadis, a pediatrician in West Bloomfield,
was attending medical school at the
University of Michigan.
As Ronn became more proficient in
leading services, he took jobs for the High
Holidays with synagogues in Vineland,
N.J., and Milwaukee, Wis., and then, for
several years, at Congregation B'nai Moshe
in West Bloomfield. A key element in his
development was his relationship with
B'nai Moshe's late Cantor Louis Klein, who
helped him further refine his skills.
And to assist him on the High Holidays,
Nadis has enlisted the aid of his musi-
cally gifted twin daughters, U-M seniors
Emily and Rebecca Nadis, and his wife's
brother, Professor Howard N. Lupovitch of
West Bloomfield, the Waks Family Chair
of Jewish History at the University of
Western Ontario in London.
Lupovitch's wide Jewish music rep-
ertoire ranges from singing the latest
Hebrew camp songs while strumming his
guitar to chanting the traditional nusach
(prayer melodies) from the bimah every
Shabbat and holiday. In addition, he serves
as Beth Ahm's main Torah reader. As a
historian, Lupovitch can be spellbinding
when lecturing on Jewish topics and is a
sought-after speaker all over town.

Twin sisters Emily and Rebecca Nadis form a quartet with their uncle, guitar player

Howard Lupovitch, and their dad, Ronn Nadis.

To pick up a free copy of Beth Ahm's High Holiday
musical CD, stop by the synagogue office, 5075 W.
Maple Road, West Bloomfield. To inquire about High
Holiday services, contact Executive Director Tessa
Goldberg (director@cbahm.org ) or Rabbi Steven
Rubenstein (raysteven@cbahm.org ) at (248) 851-6880.
The congregation is hosting an evening of song, medi-
tation and prayer in preparation for the High Holidays
at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept.12. Rabbi Rubenstein and Beth
Greenapple will lead the special program titled "Open the Gates," and Ronn
Nadis and Howard Lupovitch will lead traditional Selichot services. All are wel-


Last year, the family foursome recorded
a CD of their High Holiday harmonies,
which Beth Ahm is offering free this year
to all who stop by the Conservative syna-
gogue's office on Maple, west of Inkster.
The recording, titled Kol HaAhni: Voice
of the People, was made to familiarize
with the melodies heard
0 0
mostly on the High Holidays so they
could better participate in the service.
Backed by Lupovitch's guitar (which
cannot be used at the actual services),
the traditional Ashkenazi and occasional
Sephardi melodies are augmented with
newer sounds from modern Conservative
songsmith Craig Taubman and the leg-
endary Chasidic minstrel Rabbi Sholmo
Carlebach, among others.
One of the most beautiful prayers
on the CD loosely borrows a folksong
melody from an unlikely source — the
late singer-songwriter John Denver. Nadis
and Lupovitch adapted the tune to the
Hebrew words of the "K'vodo" verse of
the Kedushah, which is sung with the
congregation while it stands during the
repetition of the Amidah.
Nadis starts off in his deepest bass,
melodically extending all three syllables
of the opening word K'vodo (God's Glory)
until it nearly sounds like a song in itself.
Then the rest of the clan chimes in, sing-
ing much higher harmonies and creating
a joyous symphonic blend that exalts the
Kedushah and further lifts the already
risen congregants.
Although twins, the young women are
not identical, visually or vocally. Rebecca
is taller and has the higher voice, a
delightful soprano. She usually joins forces
with Uncle Howard, himself a higher bari-
tone, to harmonize above Ronn. Emily's
joyful alto most often shadows the main
melody sung by her dad, a low baritone.
The twins take the lead in "Ado [shem]
Melech" (God Is King), blending their
voices together in a wistful duet. In Craig
Taubman's "Halleluyah" (Praise God),
all four take center stage in a cocktail of
four-part harmonies.

Many Chip In
Beth Ahm's Rabbi Steven Rubenstein
encourages all who feel comfortable to

Sweet Shul Music on page 42


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