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Adat Ari El's Well-Known Cantor

March 31, 1988

In "Jubilee for Adat Ari El" (View, March 3) Ira Rifkin gives a brief history of the congregation and its spiritual identity.

The article failed to mention Cantor Allan Michelson, who for 35 years served faithfully as the cantor or "emissary of prayer for the congregation." Cantor Michelson was and still is a national figure noted not only for his masterful knowledge of prayer, the cantorial art form (Hazzanut) and his glorious and inspirational voice, but also for the cadre of student cantors, many of whom now serve major pulpits throughout the United States. In this team effort, if the rabbis were the "intellect" of the congregation, then Cantor Michelson was the "heart and soul."

Cantor Michelson created a participatory laity which set the tone for congregations throughout the country. As children, we were given the opportunity to lead the adult services every Sabbath morning, thus developing a deep love and passion for the liturgy. I recall as a child the numerous times that Rabbi Wise showered accolades upon our cantor for bringing us a bit closer to the presence of the Almighty.

This relationship of staff members has been a role model for many of us who now serve congregations. This relationship has continued at Adat Ari El with the incumbent rabbi and cantor. Cantor David Silverstein has developed a local and national reputation, especially for his work on behalf of the Cantors Assembly, an international professional organization of cantors. Rabbi Rothblum is not only a fine pastoral rabbi and current president of the Southern California Board of Rabbis, but also a well-known composer. Therefore, it is most befitting that he and Cantor Silverstein are collaborating on an album of his music commemorating the congregation's 50th anniversary.

NATHAN LAM

Sherman Oaks

Lam is cantor at the Stephen S. Wise Temple.

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