Jewish cantors to perform in Warsaw opera house

Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:52am EDT
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WARSAW (Reuters) - For the first time since the Holocaust, 100 Jewish cantors from around the globe are gathering to perform in Warsaw, once one of the world's leading Jewish centers, Poland's chief rabbi said on Sunday.

The cantors, who sing liturgical chants during Jewish religious services, will perform at Warsaw's National Opera, U.S.-born Rabbi Michael Schudrich told Reuters.

"This will be a symbolic, historic event, because prior to the Holocaust, Warsaw was a world center of cantorial culture," the rabbi said.

The Grand Opera, where the concert is due to take place on Tuesday, is less than half a kilometer from Warsaw's Tlomackie Synagogue, blown up by the Germans during World War Two.

The building has since been rebuilt and now houses the Jewish Historical Institute.

The chief organizer of the performance is American cantor Nathan Lam of Los Angeles, who has family ties to Warsaw.

Up until World War Two, 3.5 million Jews made their home in Poland, a major international center of Judaic religious and cultural life.

Poland lost some six million of its citizens during the war, including three million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. (Writing by Rob Strybel; Editing by Charles Dick)