The Jewish Week on Netanel Hershtik’s ‘Mission’ and Next Week’s Cantorial Concerts

The Jewish Week profiles Cantor Netanel Hershtik and previews PMH’s cantorial concerts next week:

Given that he is a 14th-generation cantor — no, that is not a typo; his family can trace its history of hazanut back that far — the idea of singing Jewish music as a “mission” may not seem incongruous, but the intensity with which he speaks of it informs you instantly that Hershtik is not merely paying lip service. He firmly believes in it.

His impassioned and immensely skilled singing, which will get a much-deserved showcase at the Museum at Eldridge Street on Dec. 2, further proves his point.

“Standing in that synagogue [at Eldridge Street], it’s a mission for me,” Hershtik said in a telephone interview last week. “I have a job to do in this world, to bring [classical hazanut] to the world. I don’t know if there is a music in the world that has more ancient roots.”

Doing so in a concert venue is, he admits, a slightly different experience than he faces as cantor for the Hampton Synagogue.

“For me to stand in front of an audience is a challenge,” the 34-year-old Hershtik said. “The most natural place for me is the amud [prayer leader’s desk]. I was raised singing in synagogue and this is the way I’m used to doing it, facing the ark, with my eyes closed. I don’t look at the people [praying] but I’m aware of them. Everyone is thinking the same thought and I’m trying to evoke that emotion for everyone. I’m not performing, I’m praying.”

Read the rest here. For ticket information for the NY (12/2) and DC (12/6) concerts, click here.