Two local cantors encourage Orange County residents to share their historic journey by viewing the film 100 Voices: A Journey Home. Though it is unprecedented that a documentary of its kind be on general release, the film will be shown at AMC/Edwards/Regal theatres across the country for one night only on September 21 at 7 p.m. The Irvine Spectrum and Tustin Legacy theatres will each host a showing in Orange County.
In the summer of 2009 Cantor Sue Knight Deutsch of Heritage Pointe and Cantor Marcia Tilchin of Congregation B’nai Israel took their places among 100 colleagues as they sang their way through concerts from the National Opera House in Poland to the West Bank in Israel, “attempting to be a bridge reuniting Eastern Europe with her unforgotten melodies. All the while, we were shadowed by film crews who documented the undertaking in a movie,” Deutsch said. According to Tilchin, “It is everyone’s story.”
Deutsch joined the mission less than 12 weeks after her husband, Michael, passed away. As she explained, “It was a historic mission, years in the planning. The week before he died, Michael told me he knew that if he were no longer here when the mission came around I would not feel like going, but that he wanted me to go nonetheless because he knew the trip was important to me and that I had waited my whole life to take it. Shortly after he died, the Cantors Assembly asked me if I would accept the honor of reading Torah during the service held at Auschwitz. The honor added even more significance to the trip, and I took my husband’s tallit to wrap around me while I chanted.”
Tilchin said, “My past, present and future came together during this beautiful, complex, intense week filled with music, discovery and tears. I could feel the ghosts of my murdered brothers and sisters on every street corner. I was moved beyond words by the efforts of Polish citizens born after the Holocaust to nurture the molecular remnants of Jewish life that have been lying dormant during this past half a century. I was inspired by the American clergy who have moved to Poland to help foster a Jewish life for those who long for it but have no idea what to do. I felt both helpless and empowered as we davened shacharit and read Torah in Auschwitz.”
Tilchin added, “It is breathtaking to ponder that this journey home ended in the place where it all started more than three thousand years ago – in Eretz Yisrael. Throughout our history, beginning with the Exodus from Egypt and continuing to this day, miracles have been wrought from tragedy.”
“The movie and the mission are not solely about passionate colleagues and the work they do to bring Jewish music to the world; it is about honoring the voice of our mishpacha who perished in the Holocaust,” Deutsch concluded. “I hope that you will join us and experience the journey for yourself.”