kol nidre

by tobybee

When my mum’s dad, my zaida, was alive and well, he’d return from the kol nidre service every year and play various recordings that he had of the kol nidre prayer. His favourite, I’m sure you’re keen to know, was the cello version by Max Bruch. So this story has become a bit of a family tale of mirth: one of the many amusing and quirky things that we can remember my zaida by, and which we repeat every time we come home from the kol nidre service.

This year the service that we attended, I must say, was a somewhat disappointing one. The rabbi doesn’t have the best voice – he does the best that he can with what he has, but, alas, it’s not great. Plus he seemed to be going at a bit of a snails pace (the rabbi is leaving the congregation in a couple of weeks, which led my brother to ingeniously label it ‘doing an Oakeshott‘), which made it incredibly difficult to sing along to: for those of us with sub-standard voices (and I’d definitely put myself in that category!) it’s embarrassing singing in public at the best of times, but when each note is being drawn out it becomes a bit too much to take. Plus his slowness meant that the service went an hour over what it usually would. oy vey!

But then I got to listen today to the most recent shtetl on the shortwave podcast, called kol nidre, where Tamara presented many a lovely version of the kol nidre prayer, coupled with some discussions about what yom kippur, and kol nidre can mean to different people. You can find it here.

And I’ll leave you with the dulcet tones of Perry Como, bringing the overwrought instrumentals and backing choir to the prayer…

Any favourite versions that any of you want to share?

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