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In Tune with the Tefillah: Interview with Chazzan Chaim Adler

Sara Miriam Gross

Rosh HaShanah is right around the corner. For many of us that means spending much more time than usual at shul: davening, hearing the shofar, and listening to the chazzan. What is it really like to be a chazzan? Mishpacha Junior takes you behind the scenes in this interview with the world famous Chazzan Chaim Adler.

Monday, September 26, 2011

MJ: Have you always like to sing and
if so, what kind of singing did you do as you were growing up?

Chazzan Adler: As a small
child I was the chazzan of my kitah . Every day when we davened
in class, and especially on Rosh Chodesh, I would be the chazzan and the
whole class would daven with me like in a shul.


MJ: How did you end up
being the chazzan?

Chazzan Adler: The
teacher asked the class who knows how to lead the davening. A few boys tried
out for the teacher but I was baki
an expert, in the tunes and tefillos used in shul so he chose me. My father is
a wonderful baal tefillah so I knew the tunes from my home. From
age three I was in shul listening. I also had a talent for noticing and
understanding the differences between the tunes used by various communities,
each according to their own minhag.


MJ: What is the
difference between a baal tefillah and a chazzan? Aren’t
you and your father doing the same thing?

Chazzan Adler: A baal
tefillah is a balabos who knows
how to daven. He knows what to say at this time or during that specific
davening — davening could be taking place in a shtiebel or some small
shul that has ten Yidden. Being a chazzan is more of a
profession, and a chazzan needs a big shul.


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