Rak Shalom performs the Kol Nidre prayer with Broadway. Photo courtesy of Rak Shalom’s Facebook page.

Judith Altneu
For Mitzpeh

Rak Shalom, a Jewish, co-ed a cappella group at this university, sang Kol Nidre background vocals for Adam Kantor, a Jewish Broadway actor, at Hillel International’s virtual High Holiday program.

Rak Shalom booked the gig through a connection with member Sara Heckelman, a senior marketing and supply chain management major. Heckelman had worked as a digital marketing intern at Hillel International the summer after her freshman year, and the CEO asked her if Rak Shalom wanted to participate in the program.

Although the group did not work directly with Kantor, who has starred in shows including Rent, Next to Normal, Fiddler on the Roof and The Band’s Visit, many members still enjoyed the experience.

“It was really cool to be part of a project with a professional musician and actor … to be able to experience creating music with someone who is as talented as Adam Kantor was a neat experience for me,” senior computer engineering major and former music director of the group, Nadiv Panitch said.

Other members enjoyed giving back to the greater Jewish community.

“I liked doing something positive that positively impacted a lot of people. We got over eleven thousand views on this video and just knowing that in these difficult crazy times … when people cannot come together in the way they normally do during holidays, I found it super rewarding to be a part of something that was bringing people together and connecting people to Judaism in a safe way,” Heckelman said.  

Hillel International sent the recording of Kantor to Rak Shalom and all the members recorded on top of Kantor’s voice. Members of the group recorded their parts separately at Panitch’s apartment where he has microphones. If a singer did not feel comfortable going to Panitch’s apartment due to COVID-19 concerns, they had the option to record their parts using microphones provided by Hillel International. The process ran smoothly according to Rak Shalom President Noah Broth, a senior finance and info systems major who said he is pleased with the final product.

“I think it went really well. I am really happy with the final product. Hillel International took care of all the video and audio editing and we just had to send them our raw tracks. I thought they did a fantastic job putting everything together,” Broth said.

Some Broadway actors and actresses, including Alexandra Silber, Etai Benson and David Korins, whois the creative director and designer of Hamilton, Dear Ever Hansen and Beetlejuice, praised the Kol Nidrei video.

To see Rak Shalom’s performance, click on the link below and fast forward to approximately eight minutes in. https://www.facebook.com/HillelFJCL/videos/378623083159989/



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