Friday, March 10, 2006

Weekend with Cantor's World

My husband recently discovered the wonderful Cantor Helfgot, whose heavenly singing he blasted everywhere for weeks, at home, in the car, at the children’s home. It became a kind of obsession, and at the end of late demo nights I would come exhausted, turning the key in the door with great trepidation, knowing full well what to expect: cantor Helfgot declaiming in every corner of the house. Just as I thought we would go out of our minds from music overdose, my husband announced defiantly he had bought tickets to a Helfgot concert in Lincoln Center for the whole family. That was the last straw, but there was no avoiding the outing. I consoled myself by inviting the whole group to a pre-concert dinner at home that evening, to soften the blow. Well, the rest, as they say, is history. Imagine a concert hall, filled well beyond capacity, come to admire Cantor Helfgot’s magic, accompanied by the New York Philharmonic, presented by dozens of dignitaries. It was an unforgettable night. Afterwards I listened to his CDs even without my husband’s urging and cajoling.

Then the invitation came: Would I like to give a cooking demo in Princeton, during a 3-day program organized by Cantors’ World, with an all-star cast which prominently included Cantor Helfgot? My answer was, you bet! You see, I share something with Helfgot, albeit modestly: he and I practice professions that only very recently were put on the map in a big way. Cantor, cook. Who ever dreamed that an activity that was conducted in the intimacy and the humbleness of the shtible would one day burst out on the performing art scene? Even the Philharmonic and the whole music establishment were in awe. What a triumph for Chazzanut! Likewise, cooks, even the most talented ones, cooked solely for their families, unless they were poor widows or orphans who cooked for the masses in order to subsist. Look at the world of cooking now! Yes, we cooks are getting a lot of mileage and long-overdue recognition. And I am proud to have shared that feeling with someone as awesome as Cantor Helfgot! More power to you, Bnei Brak Boy! May you continue to bring nothing but pride and joy to Klal Israel!

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