12/13/09 - posted by Frank Dunnigan
Jo Anne, I haven't read anglicized Hebrew since I was helping my next door neighbor study for his bar mitzvah--many used the anglicized words, rather than interpret and pronounce the Hebrew characters. It's amazing how quickly many of those sounds came back to me.

That summer of 1963, almost 12, I used to accompany my almost-13-year-old friend on Muni from the Parkside to his bar mitzvah lessons at Temple Sherith Israel at California & Webster. One day, a very young Cantor Martin Feldman was growing increasingly exasperated with my friend's stumbling pronunciation. "Maybe your friend here can help you..." he said, almost sarcastically. I stood up and gave what must have been a pretty good rendering of some of the prayers and responses, as it almost brought the Cantor to tears. "No more studying by yourself--you study with your friend, and I can't wait until he's ready for HIS bar mitzvah!" I can't quite describe Cantor's "Oy.." expression when told that I was Irish-Catholic...
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