Marci Schulman
Marci Schulman

Marci Shulman is recording a traditional liturgy for use on Rosh Hashanah, which starts the evening of Sept. 18, and Yom Kippur, which starts 10 days later.

While non-Orthodox Detroit-area cantors and cantorial sololists are planning to conduct High Holiday services via Zoom or live-streaming (or a combination), Marci Shulman is taking a different approach. She’s hard at work recording the traditional liturgy for use on Rosh Hashanah, which starts the evening of Sept. 18, and Yom Kippur, which starts 10 days later.

Shulman and Rabbi Brent Gutmann will lead services at Temple Kol Ami in West Bloomfield. They are working with pianist Dave Howland and plan to post the services on Facebook and YouTube. The rabbi will use Zoom for the family service and for schmoozing with congregants.

A small choir led by Henry Shevitz of West Bloomfield will join in some of the singing. The group has been rehearsing via Zoom, said Shulman. Before the holidays, each member will be recorded individually at the temple, and the individual recordings will be combined.

Shulman grew up in the Detroit area and earned a degree in classical music at Wayne State University, then studied Hebrew language and liturgy independently. She and her husband, retired ophthalmologist Marvin Shulman, are members of Temple Israel. The late Harold Orbach, longtime Temple Israel cantor, was an excellent mentor, she said.

Shulman said she was the first woman cantor/cantorial soloist in Southeast Michigan when she started working at Ann Arbor’s Temple Beth Emeth in 1976. She spent many years with congregations in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and 12 years ago, when she turned 60, she retired from her last post, at Temple Beth El in Windsor. After that she filled in frequently at Temple Israel, Temple Beth El and Kol Ami.

“God has been very good to me and given me the ability to sing. I want to share that, and I want to create a service that is lovely and meaningful,” she said.

Gutmann and Shulman worked hard to pare the morning service, which is normally three hours, to half its usual length. To record, she “robes up” and goes to the temple, where Stewart Shevin helps with the technical aspects of the process.

Shulman said she liked the flexibility of recording versus live-Zooming. Shulman had to redo one segment because she forgot to open the ark. Another time she and Gutmann discovered the recording equipment hadn’t been plugged in. “And if I don’t like the way something sounds, I can just do it again,” she said.

When the actual High Holidays roll around, Shulman will attend services remotely, but not only at Kol Ami. She hopes to tune in to Temple Israel and maybe Adat Shalom as well.

“I don’t want to listen to myself!” she said.

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