Tikvat Israel Congregation

A Friendly, Participatory, Egalitarian Conservative Synagogue in Rockville, MD

Voices of Song and Praise Fete Cantor Helzner‘s 36 Years

Cantor Rochelle Helzner

Tributes from family members, friends and fellow congregants, interspersed with spirited song and dance, contributed to a fitting double chai celebration honoring Cantor Rochelle Helzner.

The online event on June 6, “From the Heart,” running just short of two hours, consisted of some pre-recorded messages from co-presidents Jim Perlmutter and Warren Berger, past presidents Betty and Cliff Fishman, congregants Martie Adelman and Marc Schneider, the cantor’s children Jessica Agus and Jonah Agus, Rabbi Marc Israel, Rabbi Howard and Pam Gorin and many others.

Jim Perlmutter and Warren Berger, Co-Presidents

Creative sparks flew everywhere.

The Fishmans recalled the cantor’s hiring in 1984 with their own set of lyrics sung to “Ode to Joy.” A trivia contest included questions about the name of the cantor’s dog and her staging of a “bark mitzvah,” the characters she has portrayed over many years at Purim festivities and her first public performance alongside sister (and professional singer) Robyn Helzner. The tribute from her children recalled their memorable car rides to shul while their mother performed vocal exercises behind the wheel.

More than 230 computer screens were logged in to the concert with multiple attendees behind many of those computers.

The marking of the cantor’s 36th anniversary year also served as an important fund-raising event for Tikvat Israel, raising more than $95,000.

You can watch the entire concert HERE.

Beth Smith chaired the event planning. Those who served on the Fundraising Committee were Carol Chelemer, Fortuna Scheige, Larry Gorban, Jeff Smith, Betty and Cliff Fishman, Roz Kram, Steve Raucher, Howard Wilchins and Sam Gilston.