Newly ordained Cantor Mondrow returns to B'nai Moshe for celebratory concert.
Special to the Jewish News
any times over the past five
years, Zachary Mondrow has
brought his bold baritone back
home to West Bloomfield to lead High
Holiday or Shabbat services, perform with
the Zamir Chorale or just to visit friends
and family. But this time, he's coming back
from New York to be ordained as a can-
tor after graduating from the H.L. Miller
Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological
Seminary (JTS) of America.
Mondrow's ordination and celebratory
community concert will be held at 7:30
p.m. Sunday, June 6, at Congregation B'nai
Moshe in West Bloomfield. He will be
joined in concert by his friend and special
guest Cantor Alberto Mizrahi of Anshe
Emet Synagogue in Chicago. Mizrahi is
considered one of today's most prominent
interpreters of Hebrew liturgy as well as
a versatile stage performer at home in
both cantorial art and the classical secular
Cantor Earl Berris of Congregation
B'nai Moshe, who was a significant influ-
ence for Zach's decision to become a can-
tor, will serve as master of ceremonies and
perform with fellow Cantors Daniel Gross
of Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington
Cantor Zach Mondrow
Hills, Pamela Schiffer of Congregation
Shaarey Zedek in East Lansing, and Kat
Hastings, formerly with Temple Kol Ami
in West Bloomfield and currently com-
pleting the Jewish chaplaincy program at
Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.
"Cantor Berris has been trying to teach
me how to daven (pray) since I was 16:'
says Mondrow, now 28. "He's always been
there for me. And it means a lot that the
others have offered themselves for the
During high-school, Mondrow worked
at the B'nai Moshe religious school as a
tutor and administrator,; and he sang in
the High Holiday choir with his father,
Steven. His dad and mother Linda nur-
tured his love of Jewish and secular music;
today, he listens to everything from rap to
classical music, with a special interest in
Jewish and '50s music and opera.
"My dad is my foundation, and my
mother is my agent:' he says.
Following graduation from West
Bloomfield High School — where he
was in the Show Choir and performed in
Fiddler on the Roof and The Music Man —
he attended Kalamazoo College intending
to pursue a career in opera. But listening
to guest artists tell him how they have to
travel 6-9 months a year gave him pause.
"I decided that wasn't for me; I wanted a
sense of home and community."
After receiving an award from the
National Association of Teachers of
Singing and completing a writing seminar
on autism, which had him working one-
on-one with a family, he says he discov-
ered he "really liked working with people."
He decided to become a cantor.
"The driving religious force in the fam-
ily was my [late] great-grandmother Anne
Mondrow," he says.
When she was 95, she listened to him
perform in the High Holiday choir with
his father. "She turned to my mother and
said, 'I'm so glad I lived to hear this:"
Just last week, after Shavuot services,
he completed his service as part-time
cantor at Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai
Emunah in Wilmette, Ill., a position he
greatly enjoyed. Though the job market is
tough for him and the other seven 2010
JTS cantorial graduates, he's excited to be
"I realized that I've been in school
almost every day of my life for the past 20
years," he said. "I'm ready."
Cantor Berris agrees.
"Any congregation would be lucky to
have Cantor Mondrow. Besides his beauti-
ful baritone, he knows how to teach and
inspire. He connects with people, whether
they are elderly or young children. He has
a gift." ❑
"A Celebration of Cantorial and
Jewish Music," 7:30 p.m., Sunday,
June 6, at Congregation B'nai
Moshe, 6800 Drake Road, West
Bloomfield. Concert tickets, $18;
reserved seating and dessert after-
glow, $36. For more information, call
Song Of SYNergy
Adat Shalom hosts chazzan from JTS to help lead Shabbat.
dat Shalom Synagogue in
Farmington Hills will welcome
Chazzan Henry Rosenblum for
SYNergy Shabbat on June 4-5.
Rosenblum is dean
of the H.L. Miller
Cantorial School and
College of Jewish
Music at the Jewish
in New York and the
first chazzan to hold
position. He will
with Chazzan Daniel
Gross on Friday evening and Shabbat
morning. He will speak to the congre-
gation following Shabbat dinner on
"Shlomo Carlebach: The Man and His
On Shabbat following kiddush,
Rosenblum will speak on "Connecting
to the Divine: How and Why We Pray."
At 7:30 p.m., at the congregation's
Seudah Shlishit, he will pay tribute to
Adat Shalom's late cantor in a discussion
titled "A Giant Among Us: Larry Vieder's
Impact on the American Cantorate."
Friday evening programming will
begin at 6 p.m. with Shabbat Shaboom
for preschool families. Kabbalat Shabbat
services start at 6 p.m., followed by a
Shabbat buffet dinner and the presenta-
tion by Rosenblum. The evening will be
highlighted by the installation of Adat
Shalom's officers and board of direc-
tors for 2010-11 and members of the
board of Adat Shalom Memorial Park.
Julie Teicher will be installed as the new
president of Adat Shalom Synagogue.
Childcare will start at 7 p.m. and
extend until the end of the adult pro-
gram. At 8 p.m., children will enjoy a
presentation by The Amazing Clark
Rabbi Aaron Bergman will conduct
a Talmud study session at 8:30 a.m.
on Shabbat morning, June 5, titled
"Jerusalem and the City of David."
Traditional services begin at 9 on
Shabbat morning. At 10, Jewish educa-
tor Ruth Bergman will hold a session
titled "My Brother's Keeper: Edom,
Israel and the Prophesy of Obadiah."
Beginning at 10:30, there will be
dropoff youth services. Following
morning services, there will be an
SYNergy Shabbat co-chairs are Carol
Weintraub Fogel of West Bloomfield and
Phyllis Pilcowitz of Bloomfield Hills.
There is no charge, except for
Shabbat dinner; for reservations, call
Adat Shalom, (248) 851-5100. E
May 27 • 2010