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Synagogue Will Celebrate Its Sephardic Heritage in Concert

Nov. 28, 2005 – The Sephardim, Jews originating in the Middle East and Spain, were the predominant Jewish settlers on St. Thomas from the late 1700's to the mid-1800's. They founded the Hebrew congregation and engaged in business as shopkeepers, ship owners and other mercantile pursuits. A series of weekend events will provide an opportunity to experience their music.
The weekend will begin on Friday, Dec. 2 with a festive Shabbat dinner of Sephardic food and music planned by Dania Ebenholtz. (Please make reservations at 774-4312).
Cantor Wolff will lead a music workshop at Lilienfeld House in the afternoon following Torah study on Saturday, around 12:15 p.m.
The grand event — a special concert of Sephardic music — will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Reformed Church. Cantor Wolff will sing liturgical and folksongs from the rich Sephardic heritage, with related commentary. John Cahill will accompany her on the piano, Gabriela Stastney on the violin. There will be no admission charge but a free will offering will be gratefully accepted.
Cantor Wolff is Director of Student Placement and a part time faculty member at the School of Sacred Music, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Cantor Wolff has served Reform congregations in the U.S. and Europe for the past 15 years. She was Director of the Department of Synagogue Music of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and served as cantor at Temple Shalom in Succasunna, N.J., Temple Beth Chaverim in Mahwah, N.J., Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City, and the Liberal Jewish Congregation in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Cantor Wolff has performed at numerous Cantorial concerts in the U.S., South America, Europe and Israel and is a regularly featured performer at the International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Cantor Wolff, a native of the Netherlands, holds a degree in flute from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and performed and recorded throughout Europe as a member of various chamber ensembles. In 1991 she received her Masters in Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music and was the first woman from the European continent to be invested as a cantor.

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