Every year I’d look forward to it. Every year they’d wait for it. And every year, they still didn’t expect it when it came. It was just one note…..one note twice a year at High Holy Day Services. One note that connected me with God. I love that note. There’s a reason for that note. I put emphasis in that note. I put power in that note. That note carried love. That note carried discipline. That note carried pain. That note was for when I was only known as Mrs. Melville Singer not Beverly Singer back in those days. That note carried the hard work we had to do to be recognized as equals in the temple structure. That note is for Michele Shugarman; that note was for Mary Klaztker; that note was for Birdie Goldstein; that note was for Maxine Horwitz. That note was for the women who paved the way for me, and the women I worked side by side with to prove who we are, what we can do and what we bring to Reform Judaism. That note was for Sisterhood who embraced an only child and gave her the sisters she so craved. That note knows how Sisterhood changed my life at both Temple Beth Sholom and on the national level. That note was for all the amazing women of Sisterhood at every Reform congregation in America, who because of all their hard work and sacrifice, eventually made my Reform Judaism dream come true. That note was for one day to see a female senior rabbi stand on the bema of Temple Beth Sholom, my home away from home for 60 years, and teach me and inspire me.
I’m 90 years old now and my soprano singing voice left me years ago. As I do wish the best for everyone in the new year, in just thinking of myself at this time, I can hope and wish for my personal health and happiness in the coming new year. But as I have the last 10 years, I still have a wish that I fulfill in my mind every High Holy Days, and I’ll share that wish by paraphrasing the words of one of my favorite sports personalities: “For just one more High Holy Days season, I wish I was able to use my aching, worn out singing voice just one more time… to push the sun back up in the sky, and to allow me that one more day of sunshine by giving me one more chance to hit that note, so I can sing that note standing on the bema with Rabbi Heidi Cohen, because she is the result of what my sisters and I worked for.
The song was “Adonai Adonai,” by Max Janowski, and the note was a high A, and it has and will always be a part of me, especially now when I close my eyes during a High Holy Days service, and fondly remember startling the congregation.
L’shanah Tovah to everyone. L’shanah Tovah to my temple sisters.