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Divas on the Bima Concert Showcases Female Cantors in Farmington Hills

The four women will perform an eclectic concert Nov. 4 that includes arias, show tunes and Israeli pop music.

Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills hosts four female cantors in concert Nov. 4. Photo credit: Adat Shalom Synagogue
Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills hosts four female cantors in concert Nov. 4. Photo credit: Adat Shalom Synagogue
Four women who work by day as cantors in East Coast temples and synagogues will perform Nov. 4 at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills, with a program that includes everything from arias to Broadway show tunes to Israeli pop hits. 

Adat Shalom cantor Daniel Gross said Jen Cohen of Temple Beth Shalom in New Jersey, Magda Fishman of North Shore Synagogue in New York, Alisa Pomerantz-Boro of Congregation Beth El in New Jersey and Elizabeth Shammash of Tiferet Bet Israel in Pennsylvania have done similar concerts at their own congregations. Adat Shalom is their first stop on a three-synagogue tour that also includes stops in Ohio. 

"I'm friends with most of the cantors," Gross said, "and I went to cantorial school with three out of the four ... We traveled similar paths, leaving a successful career in opera for the pulpit." 

Gross said the world of opera is competitive and demanding. "You constantly have to prove yourself," he said.

"For me, the lifestyle of what I do as clergy is so much more encompassing and so much more varied," Gross added. "There's so many ways you can help people with music and prayer." 

Cantors are Jewish prayer leaders, not only leading prayers but also empowering others to lead prayers. But that's "just a fraction" of the work, Gross said. Cantors also do weddings, funerals and other life-cycle events and have the same responsibilities as a rabbi, including pastoral care and education, as well as leading music programs. 

"It's incredibly varied, it's incredibly gratifying," Gross said. 

He believes the Divas on the Bima concert will show people a different side of the profession, by showcasing female cantors who are also "top notch performers. You definitely don't have to be Jewish to enjoy this concert." 

For discounted advance tickets and information, call Adat Shalom, 248-851-5100. Tickets will also be sold at the door. 

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