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My father was the chazzan (cantor) in a shul on Long Island for 44 years until he retired. Every Rosh Hashana (both days) and the first day yom tov of Sukkos my parents had an "open house brunch" for about 60-70 people. On Rosh Hashana my father's choir was invited over as a break, which started out with coffee and cake and over the years grew and grew.
The Rosh Hashana menu included many home baked cakes, herring in sour cream, other herrings and smoked fish, crackers, veg salad, homemade gefilte fish, cheeses, crackers, and of course, coffee. The table was full of food. People kept on popping in and out--not just the choir--but the president of the shul, our friends, and the others who "did you hear what's going on at the chazzan's house?" crowd. Before going back to shul the choir would have a brief rehearsal.
On Sukkos the old people from the shul were invited and my mother would prepare dishes that they remembered from when--homemade gefilte fish, boiled carp, kugels, tzimmes--things that they hadn't had in many years. They reminisced and blessed my parents for sharing with them. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, well...sukkah.
It was a wonderful time in my life. When my children were born the songs I sang to them were from my father's davening and choir melodies, not the usual lullabies. To this day my children love to hear me sing from my father's davening.
Posted by Miriam Grossman