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“Kol Isha”: Pioneering Women Cantors 1923-1972
October 5, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The first women ordained as a cantor happened in 1975, but women have been professionally singing the traditional synagogue liturgy publicly more than a half-century before. The phrase “Kol Isha” (“Voice of a woman”), is the historical term which denotes that woman’s singing voice as an inappropriate expression (“ervah“) for men to whom she is not related. Though denied a pulpit, pioneering women— Madame Sophie Kurtzer, Freydele Oysher, Sheindele di Khaznte, Goldye May Steiner, Bas Sheva and Bryna Zuckerberg, among others —created through radio, vaudeville, concerts and commercial recordings, a consciousness in the modern Jewish world about women as the Sheliakh Tzibur/ Messenger of the People, a reality widely present today