The Tifereth Sisterhood proudly presents: An inspiring evening featuring singer/songwriter, Miriam Sandler, as she launches her new CD, “The Solution”. Miriam is long standing member of the Passaic community and has dazzled countless Jewish women of all ages with her contemporary “kosher” entertainment. Miriam’s personal expression through her original music was inspired by a relentless search for Truth, and a life-changing decision to pursue a life of values, holiness, and spirituality. Join us as Miriam tells her unforgettable story of sharing the stage with the music industries top megastars and why she gave it all up. Guest appearance by Soprano, Elana Tal In addition to featuring Miriam’s original music, there will also be a beautiful boutique, delicious dairy hor d’oeuvres and a Chinese auction. Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., concert begins promptly at 8:30 p.m. at the Tifereth Israel, 180 Passaic Avenue. Tickets $12 for students and $18 for women.
My Connection To Miriam
I was never a professional singer and dancer, but like Miriam, I’ve always been Jewish. There is a time in life when we question our purpose and ponder our future. For Miriam, a week full of crowded theatres and roaring fans had only taken her soul so far. She studied the beauty and signifigance of a Jewish lifestyle and decided to channel her talents in that direction.
As a female singer with a beautiful voice, she had made the committment to sing only for women. I know what you’re thinking, and until I learned the reasoning behind this committment, I was thinking that as well. How crazy, how limiting, she sabatoged her career, etc. The truth is, she gained so much more. Why did she make this committment?
In her journey, as with many other Baale Teshuvat, there are so many beautiful customs, rituals, laws, and prayers that are introduced to our existing lifestyles(Tzniut, Shome Negiah, Kol Isha, Kashrut, etc.). Not everybody agrees with all of these, some not at all. However, for many, it is just what was needed to make present in our own lives. As a Jew, we have automatically built in our souls the potential to live our lives giving it our all. For me, it completed my thoughts, made sense of my concerns, and gave me a higher authority to turn to during unfortunate circumstances (illness, fear, loss). I personally had the opportunity to study some of the sources behind the rituals and customs. I said, “sign me up for the program” and I was hooked (a one month program became six months). I understand that this is not for everyone, and that’s okay. If I was friends with you before I became an Observant Jew, I am still friends with you now. An Observant Jewish lifestyle and the very strong foundation it provides is what I needed to live the best life I possibly could.
My entire family thought I had lost my mind, especially when I wouldn’t eat out at our favorite Italian Bistro. One of the laws I had embraced early on in my journey was Kashrut . It just made sense to me, and I actually felt the changes both physically and mentally. The truth is, I had found the roadmap to living my potential and I was staying on course.
Okay, so why can’t women sing in front of men. The following source behind Kol Isha, a womens voice, may not be for you, and that is okay. While I was searching for a source that would make most sense about this issue, I came across the below source. It made perfect sense to me, to singer/songwriter Mriam Sandler, as well as many other Converts around the world.
Shemuel said: the voice of a woman is ervah (sexually exciting), as the verse says: (Song 2:14) for your voice is sweet and your appearance attractive. (Talmud Berakhot 24a)
Okay, are you still with me? Why does this sit okay with me? Isn’t the luring tranquility of the female voice why both men and women listen to their ipods or blare their speakers at home? The truth is that I wouldn’t ever thought about this until I was taught about it a few years ago. The reasoning behind Kol Isha is both exclusive and offensive to many women. For me, I felt even more grattitude towards a woman blessed with a beautiful voice. Just imagine what her husband must have thought the first time he heard her voice? I’ve heard from some women who had shared their beautiful vocals their husbands for the first time. They were in tears. It was so beautiful to them, and it had meant so much that it was only for their listening pleasure. I found a quote online that described this revelation quite well. In his post, Kol Isha Today, Rabbi Harvey Belovski, Rabbi of the Golders Green Synagogue in London, wrote:
“In a desensitised world, kol ishah seems quaint, almost absurd. Yet it enables us to understand just how delicate our level of awareness should be. It is a tragedy that most men today claim to find nothing erotic in a woman’s singing voice, something that is natural and healthy. Observing kol ishah is one way to rekindle lost sensitivities, enabling us in turn to invest more of ourselves in our special relationships.”
I hope that we all can find our center and value the beauty that is within our own soul.
Listen to my interview with Miriam Sandler on the Jewish Shmooz Network. Our interview begins at 15 minutes into the show.