Author Archives: Deborah Katchko Gray

Live from the Lilith Blog

December 8, 2017 by

Stop Telling Me I Can’t Sing Because It Distracts Orthodox Men

audio-2941753_1920Kol Isha—the voice of a woman. In many Orthodox circles, it is forbidden to hear the voice of a woman singing publicly.

I was not expecting concerns around kol isha to come up in the egalitarian community where I have been blessed to serve a congregation for 18 years. Yet when a community-wide Chanukah menorah lighting was being planned, it was pointed out that if I were to sing the Orthodox community would not be able to be a sponsor of the event. 

I have been a cantor over 40 years—since the age of 19. I’m a fourth-generation cantor whose family was almost completely destroyed in the Holocaust.

You’re really going to tell me I can’t sing in public?

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