I don’t know if you noticed a change, but I did on the Yamim Nora’im. I sang with confidence and with purpose, not just the words and the prayerful content in my heart and mind, but with the mindset of a singer whose desire to perform hiddur hamitzvah, beautifying the mitzvah was in my thoughts. I thought of myself as a singer. I had spent a good deal of time working on my craft and when it was time to step on to the stage of the television studio, kippah on my head and tzitzit underneath my shirt, I was the complete person. I did not even notice that the judges had not turned around. I did what I always do—I got in to it and did the best job that my vocal instrument allowed me to do.
So “Aizeh ashir?….Hasameach b’chelko?” (Ethics of our Fathers 4:1) Who is rich? One who is happy with his portion. I went on the Voice because an agent called. My family encouraged me to do it—and I am glad I did. It felt good getting those two callbacks—like I felt when I was a kid auditioning for Broadway shows. But when I was young I could not find substance in what I was doing—singing other people’s songs and devoting time to issues that were not important to me. So I struggled and had great success as a writer of children’s music. I loved to teach and singing that material had meaning and instilled a love for music and thirst for knowledge in so many young people. Then I re-discovered my Judaism and became a cantor, singing the music that I grew up with and always heard in my head. This created the opportunity to sing about values and ideas that are very very close to my heart. I am so rich, so completely satisfied with what I do in the community, with the many opportunities to be close to people, to help, to counsel to teach and to inspire. My ego was stroked by being on television, but my deep sense of worth is enhanced daily by my work in the Jewish community. And not to mention by the loving reaction of so many to my appearance on the show. An overwhelming response of “they should have turned their chairs, but remember that we love you!” —from adults and children alike. What else is there to reach for? Okay I wouldn’t mind a contract with Universal studios. But for now, which holiday is next—OH YEAH— HANUKKAH and my friend Peter Yarrow! Don’t miss it, December 14— LIGHT ONE CANDLE!