April 17, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
April 17, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Shabbat Chazanut Returns to Young Israel of Teaneck

The Young Israel of Teaneck (YIOT) will host the Joseph Dresdner, z”l, Memorial Shabbat Chazanut, March 24-25, featuring the world-renowned Cantor Netanel Hershtik and the Hampton Synagogue Choir conducted by Izchak Haimov. Cantor Hershtik will lead the Friday evening services on March 24, as well as both Shacharit and Musaf during Shabbat services at the 9 a.m. minyan, March 25. The entire community is invited to attend.

“In a continuing effort to engage and inspire members during davening, we are pleased to once again host Shabbat Chazanut,” said Rabbi Binyamin Krohn, rabbi of the Young Israel of Teaneck. “When davening is led by a shliach tzibbur—someone trained in how to bring the feelings of the prayers to the surface—everyone benefits.”

Adeena Pultman and her husband, Yaakov, have endowed the annual Shabbat Chazanut in Adeena’s father’s memory. She shared with The Jewish Link, “My father, Joseph Dresdner, a”h, had several passions: family, faith and the State of Israel, but perhaps through it all, his one consistent passion was his love for chazanut. Cantorial music was the soundtrack of my childhood. My father attended numerous concerts, though he most preferred chazanut performed by a cantor leading a Shabbat davening. When the great Netanel Hershtik moved to our neighborhood, that was bigger news to him than anything, other than his grandchildren. My father remembered Netanel as a small child accompanying his father at the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem.

“When Netanel first proposed hosting a Shabbat Chazanut in our shul, we were eager to assist with bringing his vision to fruition. For my father, already not in good health, that first Shabbat Chazanut was an incredible experience. We couldn’t wait to help make this an annual event, and the encore was planned for Rosh Chodesh Nisan five years ago, and it turned out to be the night my father passed away.

“Our decision to endow this annual Shabbat experience in my father’s memory was obvious and represents the most fitting tribute Yaakov and I could ever imagine. In fact, there is no moment, no day on the Jewish calendar, during which I feel closer to my father—not his yahrtzeit, or a trip to the cemetery or during Yizkor. I feel blessed that each and every year I am in my shul davening next to my mother and surrounded by family and friends on the Shabbat right before my father’s yahrtzeit, while Netanel Hershtik’s magnificent voice joins with the choir and with our community to lift an entire congregation and bring their tefillot closer to God. And through it we remember my father.”

Cantor Hershtik is a big advocate of enhancing and elevating the tefilla through the use of music, emotion and song. “The ‘amud’ is a position of musical leadership that requires mastery of nusach (hundreds of years of musical tradition), vocal training and deep understanding of the prayers’ text,” Hershtik told The Jewish Link. “When people come to shul on Shabbat they wish to feel their tefillot and not simply say them by rote. That’s when the role of the chazan becomes so important. A true chazan has dedicated years to learning how to bring the feelings of each tefilla to the forefront. When he stands at the amud and leads davening, if he’s doing his job, the mitpalelim will be taken to a whole new plane and will uncover a deeper meaning of the tefilla.”

Today lack of decorum is a very big problem in many synagogues. “We have neglected the amud for too long, sending unqualified people to the amud, and this breeds lack of respect and decorum.” Hershtik truly believes that when davening is led by an appropriate shliach tzibur, the lost respect of the congregants is earned once again and decorum immediately improves.

Arnon Steinhart, a member of the YIOT and former president, shared, “I love our Shabbat Chazanut. Netanel is a fantastic chazan and baal tefilla. When he leads the davening he takes the tefillot we say week after week to a different level. Having grown up in a shul where we had a chazan daven every Shabbat and Yom Tov, it really brings back a ton of memories. I look forward to this Shabbat all year.”

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, Hershtik will be taking part in the Zamir Choral Foundation Gala Concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Sunday, May 21, at 4 p.m. He will join special guest Cantor Alberto Mizrahi. The two will join the Zamir Chorale, HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir and Zamir Noded in a program of music reflecting the ongoing relationship of the Jewish people to its eternal capital.

Hershtik has given concerts across the world, including performances with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. This past November, 78 years after Kristallnacht, he performed in the famed Berlin Philharmonic Hall with Cantor Avraham Kirshenbaum of Jerusalem. It was the first time in the history of the hall that pieces of Jewish liturgy were heard since the start of the Holocaust.

The Young Israel of Teaneck is located at 868 Perry Lane in Teaneck. For more information on Shabbat Chazanut, email [email protected]

By Sara Kosowsky Gross

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles