Fame! fortune! chanting!

Yeah! The big call just came!

Okay, calm down. It was not a New York editor phoning to beg me to publish my novel with them.

It was our temple’s cantor, back from her sabbatical, asking me to chant a verse of Torah during high holidays this fall. And not just any verse — the first aliyah on Yom Kippur.

This is a verse that in recent years has been chanted beautifully by a congregant in her 90s. It seems she decided to bow out this year and the cantor thought I would be a good replacement.

I’m very excited. Our temple draws a big crowd on high holidays — so big that we rent the 3,000-seat art deco Paramount Theater in downtown Oakland. But honestly, I’d be just as excited if I were chanting in some religious school multi-purpose room that holds 50.

Apparently the cantillation for high holiday chanting is slightly different from the rest of the year, as are the prayer melodies.

I’ll get started learning the Yom Kippur portion this summer — after I chant Torah in July with Karen, Sidney and Jane, the three other women who became adult b’not mitzvah at Temple Sinai this year.

Now… back to waiting for the call from that hypothetical editor. I won’t hold my breath, though. It’s harder chanting Hebrew when you don’t let yourself breathe.

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2 Responses to “Fame! fortune! chanting!”

  1. Nancy King Bernstein Says:

    Much. (Harder to chant when not breathing.) Mazel Tov–very cool.

    Matt has fallen in love with the harmony in Etz Hayim–which they do beautifully at our temple on the high holidays–our cantor has one gorgeous voice. He’s hoping she’ll let him do harmony with her at his service; I can’t really remember what happened at Danny’s, but I think she sang it alone. We may have to ask, if that’s not a total no-no (but if it is, she’ll tell us….)

  2. Judy Levin Says:

    This is such an honor Ilana and so well deserved. Mazel Tov

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