Jewish high holidays upon us

Jewish high holidays upon us
Photo courtesy of Susan Agin
By Merle Exit

Destined to perform, Susan Agin studied music and dance, eventually becoming the executive and artistic director for the Queens Performing Arts Center.

In 2014, Agin was honored by receiving a Queens Impact Award from TimesLedger Newspapers. With all that she has accomplished, her busy life brought her to yet another career, that of a cantor. There were many factors steering her in this direction, especially since her father, Rabbi Charles Agin, served many years with the Free Synagogue of Flushing. Having a rabbi for a father, she already knew the prayers and was always able to sing them.

“I grew up in shul,” said Agin. “I memorized the prayers and the melodies and I listened to many cantors. I watched the faces of the members of our congregation and saw how the prayers and the music moved them. That’s when I was officially hooked!”

Agin owes this career transition to her love of the religion and its traditional practices, her love of Jewish music, and her lineage in Judaism. In addition to her father, Agin’s uncle is a rabbi, and her grandmother sang soprano in the Jewish choir.

“Our connection to the great Sholom Secunda, who wrote the famous Yiddish song “Bei Meir Bist Du Schoen,” my background in education and empathy for people in general led me to this position,” she said.

Presently, Agin and her father run what they call a traveling synagogue known as Congregation Adas Wolkowisk, dba Temple L’Chaim. They conduct religious services at various locations throughout the metropolitan area.

“It brings the synagogue to the people,” Agin said. “Religious services have been conducted in Woodhaven, Glenwood Landing, New Hyde Park, Sea Cliff, Flushing and Marlboro, N.J. Wherever and whenever a group of Jews wishes to gather for a religious service, the congregation will provide a rabbi, Torah, prayer books, and whatever else is needed for the occasion. The congregation, which was established in New York City in 1903, believes in giving back to the community and welcomes Jewish individuals to participate in its programs as one is moved to do so.”

The High Holy Days from Rosh Hashonah to Yom Kippur begin the eve of Sept. 20 and services will take place at Adria Conference Center at 222-33 Northern Blvd. in Bayside.

“Congregation Adas Wolkowisk provides High Holy Day services for unaffiliated Jews,” Agin said. “For those who may not prefer a year-round membership commitment, our services may be for you. Temple L’Chaim’s High Holy Day services are meaningful, creative and egalitarian. We welcome all who are unaffiliated to attend.”

Rabbi Agin will conduct the services and she will lead the musical portions of the service, which are further enhanced by a choir and live accompaniment.

Reservations are a must. Air conditioning, free parking on the premises and prayer books are provided. Children — accompanied by an adult — and members of the military are complimentary guests of the Congregation.

A $100 contribution per person to attend the services listed below, and to offset costs, is expected. For security reasons persons without entrance cards will not be admitted. For additional information, or to make a reservation, please call 347-385-8004. Seating is limited.

The schedule for the services are as follows: Erev Rosh Hashonah, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m.; Rosh Hashonah, Sept. 21, at 10 a.m.; Kol Nidre, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m.; Yom Kippur, Sept. 30, at 10 a.m.; Yizkor, Sept. 30, at 4 p.m.; Concluding, Sept. 30, at 5 p.m.