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    Chazanic performances – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Is it right that the chazanim and choirs in some shules sing numbers on the High Holydays that no-one can join in?

    A. An American Jewish writer tells the story of a person who tried to join in with the chazan but got shooshed by his shule neighbour who said, “Can’t you keep quiet? I paid good money to hear this fellow sing!”

    I suppose that we have to allow a chazan and choir once in a while (just occasionally) to render a party-piece, but generally there must be a full opportunity for everybody to feel it is their service and that the officiants are not singing at, to or for them, but leading them and giving more structure to congregational singing.

    If your chazan and choir think they’re on the concert platform you might need to find a different shule – or the shule might need to work on the job specifications for the synagogue musicians.

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