New York. Congregation Rodeph Sholom’s Senior Cantor,
Rebecca Garfein, and Cantorial Intern, Jennifer Strauss-Klein will
commemorate Kristallnacht-the Night of Broken Glass, with the music of
renowned Viennese Cantor, Salomon Sulzer and Berlin composer, Louis
Lewandowski at 6p.m., Friday, November 3, 2006 during Shabbat services.
Guest Cantor, Dr. Bruce Ruben, newly appointed Director of the Hebrew
Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Sacred Music will
also participate in this special service. Rodeph Sholom’s Organist, Dr.
John Schuder and augmented professional choir, will accompany the
cantors. This event is free of charge and the entire community is
invited to attend. Rodeph Sholom is located at 7 West 83rd Street (off
Central Park West.) For more information, please call (212) 362-8800, extension 1337.
Born in 1804, Sulzer is credited with being the first to modernize the
cantorate and one of the earliest composers to westernize synagogue
music. With Sulzer, the title of “Cantor” was born out of a desire to
be accepted and understood by 19th century society. In fact, Sulzer was
very much a part of modern musical circles. His closest friend and
occasional collaborator was composer Franz Schubert. The influence of
19th century music is clearly heard in Sulzer’s synagogue compositions.
As a Cantor, Sulzer was very successful at creating a musical bridge
between the “old world” and the newly enlightened world.
Throughout Europe, Louis Lewandowski assisted numerous Cantors in his
day, the most famous being the celebrated Solomon Sulzer, who also
composed for the Austrian and German synagogues. Lewandowski was the
first composer to write for synagogues using organ and large choirs.
Cantor Rebecca Garfein, mezzo-soprano, is the Senior Cantor of
Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City and is the first female
Cantor to hold this position in the history of the congregation.
Cantor Garfein has appeared in concerts throughout the United States,
Israel and Europe and at Carnegie Hall with Mandy Patinkin and Dr. Ruth
Westheimer. Recently she debuted her new album at Carnegie Hall
entitled, “Golden Chants in America…Commemorating 350 years of Jewish
Music, 1654-2004.” “Golden Chants in America” is the first U.S.
recording to feature Jewish music spanning 350 years of life in America.
Cantor Garfein’s other solo CD is a live recording from the 1997 Jewish
Festival in Berlin entitled, “Sacred Chants of the Contemporary
A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Cantor Garfein graduated cum laude
from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music with a degree in vocal
performance and opera. In 1993, she received her Master’s Degree in
Sacred Music and Cantorial Investiture from the Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR).
Cantor Bruce L. Ruben, Ph.D., baritone, is the Director of the School of
Sacred Music (SSM) at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
(HUC-JIR). He has taught Jewish history courses at HUC-JIR and the
history of Jewish music at The Julliard School. For the past fifteen
years, he has served as an adjunct professor of history at Hunter
College, where he has taught courses on World History, Modern Jewish
History, and the Holocaust. Since 1982, he has served as the Cantor of
Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City, where he has organized special
music programs with professional and volunteer choirs, written as well
as commissioned and premiered new works by leading composers, taught
adult education courses on the history of Jewish music, history, and
liturgy, and developed innovative services for increased congregational
participation. He has fostered interfaith relations as a leader in the
Yorkville Christian-Jewish Council, and has been active for many years
in community activities at a neighborhood senior citizen center.
Originally from La Crosse, Wisconsin, Jennifer Strauss-Klein, soprano,
is a third-year cantorial student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish
Institute of Religion. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal
Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999, and her
Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the Peabody Conservatory in
Baltimore, MD in 2001. Jennifer continued to study at Peabody in the
Diploma program and also attended Baltimore Hebrew University in the
Master of Arts in Jewish Studies program, where she won the Sidney
Breitbart Prize in Jewish Philosophy. She currently serves as the
Cantorial Intern of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan. She and her
husband Nick Strauss-Klein welcomed a son, Henry, in March 2006.