October 10, 2012
Letters to the Editor: Cantor’s Kavanah, Homeland, Kol Nidre LIVE
Cantor’s Kavanah Remains Cool
We are grateful for the lovely profile on our immensely talented chazzan, Hillel Tigay (“The Rock Cantor,” Sept. 21). But we want to set the record straight on one matter. Here’s what went down mere moments before Kol Nidre at IKAR four years ago: With deep kavanah and intense focus combined with anticipation, excitement and a bit of absent-mindedness, our beloved chazzan took a final deep breath before beginning Kol Nidre and knelt down behind the podium to take a swig of … wait, is that Diet Pepsi? Our rabbis, perched on either side of him, stared in shock — one (lovingly) kicked him in the shin and whisper-shouted, “What are you doing?” Hillel, somewhat startled, cleared his throat, discarded the bottle and began a transcendent Kol Nidre, illuminated by the awareness that even with the best of intentions, we are all avaryanim — people who sometimes fall short. In the years that followed, this near miss was spun into urban legend (the cantor drinking soda at Kol Nidre) and became great Purim shpiel fodder, but was unfortunately incorrectly reported in the Jewish Journal as fact. We regret to inform anyone who was inspired by reports of this act of rebellion: We’re cool, but we’re not unhinged. One of the reasons Hillel is so adored at IKAR and around the Jewish world is because his hipster, tweed-cloaked, rocker persona is intimately bound up in a deeply reverent Jew who has worked his whole adult life to honor the Jewish tradition and bring it to life with love.
Rabbis Sharon Brous and Scott Perlo, Melissa Balaban, Jaclyn Beck, Dev Brous, Ross Levinson
Editor’s note: The Journal stands by its story as reported.
Another MOT Missed Out
Your Sept. 28 issue contained a list of some Jewish nominees who did not go home with an Emmy (“ ‘Homeland’ Sweeps Emmys,” Sept. 28). I was not included. My nomination was for guest actor in a drama series for “Breaking Bad.”
Shul-Hopping Spreads Tolerance
Kudos to David Suissa on his article “Sticking to Our Labels” (Oct. 5). I was raised on an Ashkenazi Modern Orthodox kibbutz practicing one dimension of Judaism: ours. Hence, the “more religious Jews” were considered obsessive compulsive, the less religious were below grade-level and the non-Ashkenazi Orthodox were simply on the other side of the tracks.
Kol Nidre Streamed Straight to St. John’s
What a surprise when I found myself checked in to St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica on Kol Nidre. Uneaten challah and iPad in hand, my son and I searched for a service on the Internet. Then as “manna from heaven” not only did he find a service, but immediately I recognized Rabbi Naomi Levy [streaming live on jewishjournal.com]. Her enthusiasm filled up the screen, and I knew I was on the way to recovery.
What a dichotomy of healing — St. John’s hospital and Rabbi Naomi Levy, and they both worked.
Intermarriage and Tradition
Ruth was the only comfort and staff for Naomi’s old age, and her great-grandson was King David (“Rabbi Reverses Interfaith Marriage Policy,” Sept. 28). The Reform movement’s last resolution on interfaith marriage from 1973 says that “interfaith marriage is contrary to Jewish tradition.” Who knows what other heroic leader of our people may result from one of these intermarriages?