Last night began Yom HaShoah, the annual day of memorializing the Holocaust. I sang in the service at my synagogue. We joined forces with two other synagogues in Summit, NJ, Temple Sinai and Summit JCC. (Yes, the latter really is a synagogue.) The other two synagogues have paid cantors who are also choir leaders, music directors, whatever you call them, and they're both very good. So all three rabbis were there, members of the choirs sang together, and there were guest speakers and readers. The service was quite moving. I sang a solo part in a song called Herman's Nigun. A nigun is a wordless song of prayer. I don't have a lot of solo singing experience, but I got a ton of feedback from many people telling me it was beautiful and moving. I was glad that I was able to help them feel something. One person said jokingly that I'm a star, but that seems wrong. I did it to serve others, not to glorify myself. And I owe a lot to Cantor Krupnick, who explained the goal and inspired me right before the service. She said we are to reach out and invite everyone to join in, either by singing along or just by listening.
There was a slide show at the end, showing a two-week tour of concentration camps in Poland and in Israel. Very stark and moving. This tour happens at least once a year and sounds worthwhile. I'd like to do it one day.
Tonight, I'm singing with Harmonium in another Yom HaShoah service, this time at Grace Madison Church in Madison, NJ. I'm pretty sure it's an interfaith service. It should be nice, but I regret not being home for dinner with my family.
Right before last night's service, I drove Julia plus her friends to orchestra practice in Madison, which they have every Monday night. Jeanne came along for the sake of visiting. Julia's bass takes up part of the hatch in my car plus one seat. We had Julia, Jeanne, Nicole, and Vallie, so really, there were more people than available seats, and there was the typical teenage banter, this time in English and French. It was fun. On the way, we stopped and ate a rushed pizza dinner at the Trattoria in Summit. Nicole's mother drove Nicole and Jeanne and Julia home. One of Vallie's parents drove Vallie home.