On December 29, the Cantors Assembly and Temple Beth Shalom of Long Beach will present the “Lights of Hanukkah.” A very special evening and concert that is being held in memory of Rabbi Hazzan David Kane. The evening is not only a tribute to a great man, it also a great way to come together with the people you love and treasure to share the gift of Jewish music. The evening will feature Hazzan Judy Sofer, the great Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi and other special guests from the Cantors Assembly.
Along with bringing people together this holiday season, the evening also strives to bring honor to a great man who touched the lives of everyone he met. Rabbi David Kane was an integral part of Temple Beth Shalom of Long Beach’s congregation and community as its Hazzan and Hazzan Emeritus for many years. His masterful cantorial recitatives and his Yiddish art song interpretations were some of the most amazing many of us had ever seen. It was a talent that served him very well over his long life. In fact, as a young child it probably saved his life.
“He survived the Holocaust because of his voice,” says Elisa Waltzman, granddaughter to Rabbi Kane. “As one of a few children whose lives were spared the gas chambers, my grandfather used to sing in a small choir for the concentration camp commandant, serenading him morning and night. In the face of his haunting past, my grandfather had a rare ability to truly entrance people, and lift them up, with his magical, emotional, and colorful voice, and inspire them in prayer.”
And Rabbi Kane would go on to use his special gift of song to spread love and kindness wherever he would go. Hazzan Judy Sofer remembers with fondness the very first time that she met Rabbi Kane. “I initially met David Kane at my first Cantors Assembly Conference in San Francisco in 1995,” says Judy. “It was my first conference with the group and I didn’t know anyone. He was there with his wife, Yetta, and their friends who happened to be members at my synagogue. The friends pointed me out as their new cantor and David came over to greet me and invite me over to their table to join them. He was such a mensch and made me feel that I was truly in the right place.”
And that’s how it went with just about everyone he came in contact with over the years.
“I met Rabbi Kane at a Womens’ League convention as the Cantor representative of Temple Emanu El in Burbank,” says David Silverstein, formerly Cantor at Sinai Temple, Los Angeles. “He warmly welcomed me into the profession as the youngest practicing cantor in the region in 1973. Kane was a fabulous raconteur, a wealth of Judaic knowledge and an example of courage and model of hard work.”
His legacy lives on as well. After all, you can’t live the kind of life that he did without making a lasting impression so thank goodness his memory lives on through the people he touched. “David’s knowledge of all things Jewish continued to the end,” says cantor Judy Sofer. “In his last years he still came to services every single week dressed up beautifully together with Yetta…to the very end his voice, love for Judaism and Hazzanut, and us—his community, came out loud and clear.”
Thank you Rabbi Hazzan David Kane for everything you have given us. For more information on Temple Beth Shalom of Long Beach please visit www.tbslb.org. For more information on the Cantor’s Assembly please visit www.cantors.org.