daily kaddish: in which Erin reveals just how horrible her Hebrew/Aramaic is


I forgot to record the “Kaddish” opening from today’s “showing” rehearsal (a run-through for the benefit of the costume, lighting, and set designers to see the choreography and start planning their parts), and then I completely forgot about making a daily Kaddish recording until I’d already been in bed for a while. Groggily I got my iPhone, fired up iTalk, and then found a printout of the Kaddish text that I’ve been carrying around in my horn case ever since Pesach.

First I did a reading my usual way: by cheating, reading the transliteration.

(It’s very quiet. I’m keeping my voice low because my host, the talented and fun choreographer Charlotte Adams, was on the phone on the other side of the room. You can just barely hear her in the background.)

Then I tried again, somewhat disgusted with myself for still not having this prayer memorized, and even more disgusted with myself for having not been a very good Hebrew student despite Mira’s generous offers of tutoring and helping me find books. I’d gotten off to a good start this spring, but then a busy consulting gig, my divorce, and the ensuing chaos ran me off the rails.

But no time like the present to force myself back on track, right?

So I attempted it again, this time looking only at the Hebrew/Aramaic column. You’d think I’d have the text close enough to memorized that I’d be half decent at this, but no—and especially not when I’m half asleep and not wearing my glasses.

How many more excuses should I list?

It went so badly I told myself I’d just post the first take, but instead I’m going to be true to my commitments and the rules of this project, and I’m posting the recording exactly as is. (Except for the even worse, aborted first real take, that ended after three lines with a word not suitable for posting here.)

It’s horrifying.

Let that be a lesson to me: I need to do the work, do the practice. And replace that text in my horn case with a printout that has nothing but the Hebrew/Aramaic column. It’s the only way I’ll stop cheating.

About erin

Erin Vang, PMP, BMus, MMus, is Owner and Principal Pragmatist of the consultancy Global Pragmatica LLC®, offering custom JMP scripting, localization program management, and facilitative leadership services. She is also an orchestral horn player who freelances in the San Francisco Bay Area and plays assorted brass for the celebrated dance bands Midnight Smørgåsbord and contraPtion. More about Erin…
This entry was posted in kaddish in two-part harmony, podcasts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to daily kaddish: in which Erin reveals just how horrible her Hebrew/Aramaic is

  1. mira says:

    Just goes to show that it’s much easier to read something if you already know what it says! I struggle every single time I read a passage for the first time. It’s just the nature of the beast when we’re out of practice. I think you’ve done an admirable job here. Not just this kaddish, but every single day for almost a year.

    I’m still scratching my head regarding why on earth you wanted to do this project in the first place — and why you have a mezuzah on your front door. And why you have kippot. And a ketubah, of all things! It still doesn’t make one shred of sense to me. And yet here you are, struggling (and beating yourself up) over not having perfected your Hebrew reading skills. I shake my head in wonder and awe, confusion and (okay, I admit it) delight.

    But I still don’t get it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.