Cantorial Cafe to celebrate heritage around the world
by Deborah Silverthorn
Special to DJW
Cantorial voices celebrating Jewish music worldwide will sing out at Congregation Shearith Israel's 6th Annual Cantorial Cafe on Sunday, March 2, at 7 p.m.
"We speak through music in our prayers when we speak to God," said Shearith Israel's Cantor Itzhak Zhrebker, "and we express so many feelings through song. On happy and sad occasions, at simchas and in much of our lives, we sing and celebrate our lives through music. This event focuses on the beauty of that music that comes to our heritage from around the world."
The program, chaired by Genny Lemeshev and Robin Shwarts, will feature the voices of Zhrebker, Cantors Ofer Barnoy, Eric M. Moses and Yehuda Rottner, as well as Raquel Pomerantz Gershon. The Ensemble Kalinka (Vladimir Kaliazine and Sergey Vashchenko) and pianist Rozalie Levant will accompany the cantors throughout the evening.
In addition, the voices of the Congregation Shearith Israel Adult Choir, under the direction of Joel Shickman, and the 50-member youth choir, directed by Zhrebker, will join the headlining artists for a number of selections.
"The voices of our choirs are precious and they will add so much to the program," said Zhrebker. "It is a wonderful opportunity for them to share with these amazing talents and for the audience to take in such pleasure."
"Cantor Zhrebker is so incredible that every time we go to shul, I feel like I'm going to the opera," said Lemeshev. "It's been a thrill to co-chair this program which is always a success because of the incredibly talented musicians that are featured."
The Tel Aviv-born Barnoy immigrated to the United States in 1977, and as a young boy appeared in cantorial programs with his father on stage and in television programs in North America and Israel. The cantor at Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., he is recording his third album, to be titled after his composition, "Ray for a Brighter Day."
Local singer, songwriter and Jewish Music and Tefillah specialist at Solomon Schechter Academy, Gershon has been teaching, performing and composing Jewish music for more than 20 years. Gershon, whose debut CD is "Jerusalem on My Mind," has sung across the United States and soloed with the Jerusalem Chamber Choir on tours in Germany, Israel and Norway.
"It's always wonderful to participate in this concert," said Gershon. "It's a great deal of fun and Cantor Zhrebker always brings in an extremely talented group of artists."
Moses of Beth Sholom Synagogue in Toronto will be performing in Dallas for the first time. Singing since he was 6, Moses has performed on the Merav Michaeli television program in Israel and at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. He officiated at the worldwide memorial service for Yom Hashoah at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2000.
"Cantor Zhrebker and I studied together and performed many concerts in Israel and I'm so excited about sharing this event with him," said Moses. "It's an incredible opportunity for the community to see cantors in a role other than they are used to and for us to break through the more formal veneer. I'm very much looking forward to meeting the Dallas community."
Another sabra, Rottner of Beth Torah Adath Yeshrun Congregation in North Miami Beach, comes from a family line of cantors including his father, who was the chief chazzan of the Great Synagogue in Haifa.
"This program spiritually touches the heart and brings some of the bubbe and zayde experience of our past to the audience," said Rottner. "It's a gift of Yiddishkeit that everyone wants and loves to hear. It's like the greatest fine wine for the ears, spirit and soul."
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call Dede Drake at (214) 361-6606.
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Friday, February 21, 2003