As a Child, I wanted to be Cantor

05 Oct

As a child the first thing I wanted to be was a cantor. I wanted to sing in a temple. I wanted to perform the songs of transformation and spirit. I wanted to bridge the gap between the worlds of the concrete and the abstract, the subtle and the gross. Singing, I would stand between the worlds and be a conduit for my congregation. I would be a way unto the most high.

I was the Star Pupil at Hebrew School. Judaica and Hebrew, History and Talmud. I learned the law and tradition. Above all, I learned the songs.

And I am a Cohan; of the family and heritage of priests. It is in the blood so much so physical anthropologists can tell who is and who is not by genetic markers. Genetic Markers. I got those in spades.

I was the last bar mitzvah at my congregation before there were too few Jews left in the area to sustain a building. We moved to another temple close by. It was more affluent and we went from being one of many among the working class to sending in tax forms and pleading letters to be allowed to join for less than the recommended yearly fee. My parents were not good enough and, by extension, neither was I.

That congregation, too, is now gone. It became, just as the other, a private school, then offices, then, finally, after a car too fast missed the curve too sharp and tangented into the foyer, torn down. But I graduated before that.

As I graduated, I tried for our temple’s scholarship to Yeshiva. I qualified. My grades, my involvement. My scholarship. I didn’t get it. It went to two boys, twin brothers of the same family, whose parents donated money and who definitely didn’t need the assistance.

After graduation, they left for Seattle and took jobs making envelopes.

I gave up on the Jewish community and but I wanted still to be the conduit, to sing myself and others into spirit.

Now I study Shamanism.

I mentioned this the night after Kol Nidre. I tell this to my friends. My friends with whom I share my journeys into spirit, shamanic study and work. I want to be a priest.

I ask, did I make it?

One tells me I did. I am. I believe her.

And another tells me, “You, my friend, have made it in spades.”


Posted by on October 5, 2006 in Religion


5 responses to “As a Child, I wanted to be Cantor

  1. Sewa Yoleme

    October 5, 2006 at 1:12 PM

    How wondrous strange to realize you have a 3200-year-old Y chromosome in you, one that belonged to one particular historical (and yet mythic) personage.Of course, today you’re forging golden calves left and right, but that’s only because you’re rediscovering proto-Yahwistic belief structures.That’s what they get for not giving you a scholarship.

  2. Anonymous

    October 5, 2006 at 6:40 PM

    How pognait you are with your words. My dear friend, I feel one does not become a priest one just is. And you are. Since day one… I knew you as no ther but of the divine. Discard the labels and title.. you are what you are. Call it, priest, holy man or all the word you can pull up with wikipedia.. you are that… of the divine…love always joyce

  3. Beth D

    October 6, 2006 at 11:51 PM

    You are most certainly a priest sir adamus. You guide, you inspire and you cause us all to think about the world around us in wonderful new ways. Any who guide the spiritual minded perform priestly duties. My family too was asked to leave for not having enough money for God, I guess some things do resonate across religions, but you resonate the good and truthful in all spirituality. And anytime you wish to use your linguistic gifts in song, you must let me join you. Although my voice has been damaged, it is no less joyful =).

  4. Adamus

    October 7, 2006 at 2:29 AM

    I would sing with you anytime, and joyously so.

  5. Anonymous

    January 9, 2007 at 3:27 AM

    If you are not a preist, than what? A savior, a leader? You bring many a thing to everyone you meet in your life. If anyone says you are not what you obviously are-I pity them, it’s only their loss.-in highest regards


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