Yom Kippur at Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theater 2021

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(EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE)  — BEVERLY HILLS, CA — (SEP 16TH, 2021) The Experience Magazine was honored to attend a special 20th Anniversary 9/11 Tribute. The Rabbi David Baron and his High Holiday guests held interviews, met with the press and told their stories. We heard from Masih Alinejad about one woman’s courage standing up for women in Iran against the tyranny of mullahs. We heard from Mona Golabek and her touching story of her mother’s survival during the Holocaust through music. Mona is a Grammy Award-nominated concert pianist and author.  

Rabbi David Baron. Photo by Ellen Zuckerman

She spoke about and performed excerpts from her critically acclaimed one-woman show, The Pianist of Willesden Lane, which includes Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 16 and Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune. And we also heard from Joe Buchanan.  Joe is a Texas born and southern raised composer, singer and guitarist who writes country music steeped in the Torah. Joe spoke about his conversion to Judaism and performed some of his original music. We also heard from Dr. Hillel Newman, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles. He discussed the failed state of Lebanon and Hezbollah missiles; The Abraham Accords, a series of treaties normalizing diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, facilitated by the U.S.; and the state of the COVID response in Israel.  Rabbi David Baron is the founder of the Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts, the largest arts and entertainment synagogue in the United States which owns the Saban Theatre.  In Rabbi Baron’s Living Sermon, he introduced examples of heroism and decency in the face of barbarism.
Service Readers for High Holy Day Services Include:

  • BEVERLY TODD, Actress, “Lean on Me,” “Moving,” “Crash,” “The Bucket List” 
  • BERNARD HILLER, Renowned Acting Teacher

Service Performers for High Holy Day Services Include:

  • CHLOE TUCKER, Actress and Singer, “Junk,” “Mamma Mia!” Tour  
  • SHARON FARBER, Four-Time Emmy Award-Nominated Film, Television and Concert Music Composer, ASCAP Board Member, Member of Executive Committee of the Music Branches of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences and the Television Academy, Vice President of the Alliance of Women Film Composers and Music Director for the Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre  

 Service Performers for High Holy Day Services Include:

  • ILYSIA J. PIERCE, Cantor, Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre (Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” First National Tour)  
  • JORDAN BENNETT, Co-Cantor, Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre (Lead in “Les Misérables” on Broadway)  
  • ADRIENNE BARON, Noted Vocalist  
  • EDEN KONTESZ, 10-year-old singer whose credits include:  “Transparent,” “The Simpsons” and “Don’t Look Deeper” 
  • Instrumentalists for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur included: MURRAY MIDDLEMAN, Clarinet, Flute and Saxophone, ALEXANDER KALMAN, Violin, DIMITRY OLEVSKY, Violin, GARIK TERZIAN, Cello and LIESL ERMAN, Harp 
Joe Buchanan photo by Jay Ross

 The High Holy Day Services included:

  • The sounding of the Shofar. This is heard on the first of the High Holy Days, the Eve of Rosh Hashanah, that begins the Jewish New Year 5782 on Monday, September 6th, believed to be the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman.
  • Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar; it is a day of prayer and fasting for Jewish people around the world.  The Eve of Yom Kippur (Kol Nidre) on Thursday, September 16th represented the end of a 10-day period of repentance, which began with the Jewish New Year 5782, Rosh Hashanah, on Monday evening, September 6th.  Historically, it is on the 10th day between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on which Moses completed and brought down the second set of commandments from Mount Sinai, signifying that God had granted atonement for the people’s sin of the Golden calf.

Cantor Jordan Bennett sang the Yiddish Folk Song, “Mameleh” written by Mitchell Parish, Alex Alstone and Al Goodhart, with Yiddish by Miriam Kresyn.  Jordan Bennett also sang the song “Bring Him Home” from “Les Misérables” with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and French lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel and English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and James Fenton.  Cantor Ilysia J. Pierce sang the song “Dance With My Father” written by Luther Vandross and Richard Marx. Rabbi Baron read a special poem titled, “One,” written by Cheryl Sawyer, a professor at University of Houston-Clear Lake, in observance of the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, set to a video.  He remembered all those lost, including the son-in-law of a temple member who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, and another temple member whose former wife worked as a flight attendant on the doomed, yet heroic Flight 93. Servicemen and servicewomen, including an Israeli-American soldier who have served in the Armed Forces lit Memorial Candles, and Rabbi David Baron read a list of names of those of have passed over the last year and are now forever sealed in the Book of Life. Singer Adrienne Baron performed the song, “Band of Brothers” written by the late Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-nominated film composer, Michael Kamen. Chloe Tucker  performed Styx’s song, “Show Me The Way.”

Masih Alinejad said, “I am honored Rabbi David Baron of the Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre invited me to be participate in his High Holy Day services for Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the year for Jewish people around the world.  I am grateful for the opportunity the Rabbi is giving me to discuss the importance of human rights, Iranian rights and women’s rights.  Personal choice and the freedom to speak one’s own truth and voice one’s own choices are primary tenets of my life.  Together we are stronger.”

 Mona Golabek said, “I am deeply honored to perform on the sacred day of Yom Kippur as part of the services from the Temple of the Arts.  This great synagogue celebrates the power of the arts and inspires us to triumph over our greatest challenges.  A personal thank you to Rabbi Baron for his gracious invitation, affording me the opportunity to share a personal story of resilience and humanity through music.”

Joe Buchanan said:  “I love the High Holy Days and the sense of community around them.  We dig deeper and we examine our faults but we’re right there alongside others doing the same.  We’re reminded that we’re not alone, and together, we reconnect to our Creator, the world around us, and our own lives.  It’s a beautiful reminder of God’s love and that we’re all in this together.  I’m absolutely thrilled to be spending this sacred time again with the good folks at Temple of the Arts.”

Masih Alinejad is an Iranian-American journalist, TV presenter, women’s rights activist and author of best-selling memoir, The Wind in My Hair:  My Fight For Freedom in Modern Iran.  As the founder of My Stealthy Freedom campaign against compulsory hijab in 2014, the largest civil disobedience campaign in the history of Islamic Republic, Alinejad is challenging the discriminatory laws against women in Iran. The New York Times has described Alinejad, as “The woman whose hair frightens Iran.”  On July 13, 2021, the Department of Justice charged four Iranian intelligence agents with conspiring to kidnap Alinejad to Venezuela after a two-year-long FBI investigation.  Born and raised in Iran, Alinejad was a parliamentary journalist in Tehran, where she exposed corruption among the lawmakers.

Mona Golabek is the daughter of Lisa Jura, a child piano prodigy born in Vienna, Austria, who came to England as a refugee in 1938 as part of the Kindertransport (Children’s Transport) rescue operation.  Her father, Michel Golabek, was a French resistance fighter, who received the Croix de Guerre.  Mona Golabek’s grandparents died at Auschwitz. Mona Golabek, deeply inspired by her mother, Lisa Jura’s story, remembers her mother telling her the precious last words her grandmother, Malka, said to her at the Kindertransport train station, before they were separated:  “Lisa, hold on to your music.  It will be your friend and I will be with you always through the music.”  Mona Golabek herself studied the piano with her mother and is herself a Concert Pianist and Recording Artist who has performed with major conductors and orchestras worldwide. In 1990 Mona Golabek was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Chamber Music or Other Small Ensemble Performance for her album of music consisting of Anton Stepanovich Arensky’s Piano Trio #2 In D Minor and Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor.  Mona Golabeck has been the subject of several documentaries, including Concerto for Mona with conductor Zubin Mehta. Mona Golabek’s mother is the subject her acclaimed books, The Children of Willesden LaneLisa of Willesden Lane, and the illustrated book Hold on To Your Music.  They have been translated and published in French, Italian, German, Hebrew, Spanish and Polish with forthcoming Arabic and Hungarian publications. In 2012, Mona Golabek made her debut at the Los Angeles Geffen Playhouse in The Pianist of Willesden Lane, adapted from the book.  The production, written and directed by Hershey Felder, starring Mona Golabek, has been celebrated by critics and audiences with sold out theatrical runs in New York and London.  Golabek has received Best Actress Nominations from the New York Drama Desk Awards and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. In 2003, Golabek formed the Hold On To Your Music Foundation.  To date, more than one million students and families have experienced the WILLESDEN READ – the educational mission, spearheaded by the nonprofit, that is devoted to spreading the inspirational message of her mother’s story.

Dr. Hillel Newman assumed the post of Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles in July 2019, where he serves as the senior representative of the State of Israel to the Pacific Southwest.  Consul General Newman is a highly respected author, academic and statesman.  Dr. Newman’s diplomatic experience includes serving as a Policy Advisor to three Foreign Ministers, Ambassador to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and Deputy Consul General in Boston.  Most recently, as both Special Policy Advisor to the Director General and as Director of the World Jewish Affairs Department, Consul General Newman has been intimately involved in the most current and pressing issues on the global Jewish agenda.  Consul General Newman also has a unique overview of the strategic threats facing Israel due to playing a key role in the Strategic Division of the Foreign Ministry.  Consul General Newman made Aliyah to Israel with his family, as a young man, from South Africa.  He served as a medic in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and is married to Ayala.  The couple have a 10-year-old son, Ram.  Learn more at:  https://embassies.gov.il/la/AboutTheEmbassy/Meet-the-Diplomats/Pages/Consul-General.aspx

Joe Buchanan, a Texas born and southern raised composer, singer and guitarist, makes country music that is steeped in Torah and the trials of the human spirit.  He grew up struggling with religion and his place in the world until one day outside of the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., and 13 years into their marriage, his wife revealed that she was Jewish. An exploration of faith led the way home for the whole family and ultimately led to Buchanan’s debut album, Unbroken.  Since his conversion, he’s toured the country leading prayer, concerts, and workshops.  Buchanan’s goal is to help drive connection to what connects us all and to hold the door for other seekers.  A blend of Southern soul and country charm, his music is grounded in the belief that there is always more room at the table.  His latest release is Back From Babylon.  Learn more and network at: www.joebuchananmusic.com

 The Experience Magazine was honored to have been invited to Yom Kippur and Kol Neidre at the Saban Theater for 2021. We look forward to many more in the future! Mazel Tov!

About Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown is a writer and editor for the Experience at EEWorldNews.com.

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