Happy New Year to all of my Jewish friends and family out there. May your 5769 bring you a year of happiness, good health, friendship and love.
I'm sorry I haven't been good about posting this week. Needless to say, it's been a little crazy as I've been feverishly preparing for my first High Holy Day pulpit. Last week was full of music cramming, preparing the Torah portion I needed to read for HUC t'fillah last Thursday (whoever decided to give a 2nd year student 11 verses of N'ztavim the Thursday before her first ever HHD pulpit was completely insane), and packing to head to South Bend for shabbat and Rosh Hashana services.
I am happy to say that both Shabbat and Rosh Hashana services went, for the most part, very well. Erev Rosh Hashana was full of hilariously ridiculous moments on my part, which included the several times I ad-libbed my music (even though it was right in front of me), completely forgetting the tune for the entire Amidah (even though it was primarily Shabbat Nusach and the rabbi was kind enough to bail me out--my mind just completely blanked in the moment) and then singing a bitonal and very interesting HHD Kiddush. Oh, and I was halfway through the Janowski Avinu Malkenu when I realized I wasn't facing the ark as I needed to be (and as the rabbi instructed all of us seconds before I began singing.) I figured it would look silly for me to turn around halfway through the piece, so I stayed where I was, cheating my body slightly towards the ark. I need to figure out a way to behave like a normal cantor even when I'm scared out of my mind.
Hilarity, I tell you.
Rosh Hashana morning went much, much smoother, as I think my nerves had settled a bit. My voice felt clear and strong, the music went smoothly despite some minor catastrophies, and my HHD nusach and melodies felt must more comfortable.
Another funny moment--I realized on Rosh Hashana eve that the prayerbook I was using was the gender-neutral edition. The entire congregation used the non gender neutral edition, so our names for God were a little out of sync. The rabbi and I shared a few chuckles over that one, especially over the RH morning service that had many significant differences.
The best part of RH was that I had family there to share the service with me. My mom, Uncle Stevie, and Aunt Bonnie came all the way to South Bend to attend services and cheer me on. I can't tell you how nice it was to be surrounded by a wonderful congregation that included family and those congregants who have sweetly taken me on as family.
Thank goodness the congregation didn't seem to mind my mistakes (and very few people even noticed.) They really are the greatest congregation a second year student could ask for, as they are used to the student cantor making small mistakes and learning throughout their year/s with them. They are an amazing group of people, who I am falling more and more in love with on every visit. Special thanks to those of you who hosted me, fed me, schlepped me, bought me bobby pins for my new kippah which you so sweetly gave to me, welcomed me with open arms and sweet words, or any combination of the above. I am very fortunate to be a part of your family for the year.
I'm now home in St Louis for the week, to chill out and work on music for Yom Kippur and do some laundry for free. It's nice to be away from NYC and far, far away from public transportation, and also to play with my doggie whenever I want to.
Again, l'shana tova to all of you. Stay tuned for updates as the highest of holy days continue to fall upon us :)