My Personal Cantor

Havdalah Bar Mitzvah delight

Recently, a Party Planner I worked with last year, Lynn Goldberg, called me to ask if I would officiate at a Bar Mitzvah for one of her clients. They had recently moved down here from New Jersey, didn’t belong to a synagogue, but were planning a private Bar Mitzvah for their son, Jed. I met with the family, and agreed to work with them, especially since they already had someone to tutor Jed, and only needed me for the service. I went up to their home the following week, to meet the tutor, and plan the ceremony, and met Harriette Reznik, Jed’s tutor. Well we planned the ceremony, and got along famously, and agreed to keep in close touch, to discuss Jed’s progress.

The following week, I was working on a project with another client, who mentioned they were thinking of hiring someone for a job they needed filled, and asked if I would meet her, to see if she was someone they could work with. I took a look at the person’s name on the resume, and it said Harriette Reznik. Hmm, could it be? I walked around the corner, and there was Harriette sitting in the office, and neither of us could believe what a small world it was. So, we’ve been working together on 2 completely unrelated projects, and she is as nice as can be, and has quickly become a great friend.

Oh – so back to the Bar Mitzvah –

So, Karen (Jed’s Mom) asks me if I could incorporate her cousin and his oboe into any of my musical pieces, and I agreed to try to find the music to the R’Tzei, my favorite solo prayer in the Shabbat service. I hunted down the music and sent her cousin the piece, and he wrote the most beautiful oboe solo to my voice solo, only, I forgot to tell him to raise the key one half step. There we were, 5 minutes before the ceremony, and he had it written in entirely the wrong key.

Normally, not a problem, because if I needed to raise the key a half step, I could have used a capo on the guitar, but his was a half step lower, which resulted in chords that are disastrous to play for an amateur guitar player. (I need to take some professional lessons this month!!) But, miraculously, his son, a music major at NYU, was there, and he agreed to play my guitar for the piece. So, there we were, in the service, the 3 of us who had never seen each other, or played together, and we played the most magnificent rendition of the R’tzei, if I do say so myself.

It was a beautiful service. We sang Rick Recht’s Havdalah prayers over the wine, the candles, and the spices. They had a magnificent cocktail reception at the pool, with a Key West theme, and the night was a major success. It was actually one of my favorite services I’ve ever done! I hope they share the video with me!

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