Here’s the thing about my story:
When your Mother decides to become a Cantor, it means that you become a Cantor’s son.
What exactly does this mean?
It means that you actually have to sit in services.
Every Saturday, no exceptions.
While some people only get to hear the Torah portion once a week, you get to hear it again and again.
Over and over.
Sung by a slew a b’nai mitzvah students whose singing voices have not yet reached their full bodied maturity.
Its learning your haftorah portion a good half a year early because your tutor sleeps in the next room over. And not the easy way. No memorization there. We’re talking Torah Trope and a translation of the text so as to better understand what you’re singing and why it matters. And then when its over, being asked each December if you’d like to come back to synagogue and sing it again because ‘it would just be nice’.
For the rest of your life, you will be seen by others as an automatic authority on Judaism by association. Failure to answer the most specific of halachic questions will result in an upturned eyebrow and the phrase “But your Mother is a Cantor?”
It is an overwhelming sense of pride in a woman who in her 40’s bucked her upbringing by starting a career traditionally held by men while keeping a home and raising a family because it was something that she believed in.
And in doing so she has become internationally recognized and respected in her field.
Apparently it was said by somebody, somewhere that there would be an orange on the seder plate before there was a woman in the rabbinate.
And though she’s a Hazzan, each year we pick out the juiciest navel we can find.