It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me. I made it through the holidays fine, but came down with a nasty case of laryngitis, which progressed into fever, infection, and a week of misery shortly after Yom Kippur. The doctor put me on a Z-pack and a heavy dose of prednisone and promised me that I would have a voice for the B’not Mitzvah the following Saturday. Ahh…. the best plans…

Friday night came around and the voice was not there. I went to synagogue and sat in the pews while two wonderful congregants, Libby Tulin and Hilary Schwartz, lead the congregation in song. These two wonderful members of my choir often substitute for me when I am on vacation, but I had never had the opportunity to watch them do it. It was extraordinary.

As I sat, voiceless, in the pews, Hilary and Libby sang, harmonized, smiled, and prayed. The community joined with them and I felt like I was seeing my shul from a wonderful new perspective. How blessed I am to have such a capable, talented community by my side!

Saturday morning came and I remained silent. The Rabbi’s wife, Naomi Adler, CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam, came to the bima with me and she and the two Bat Mitzvah girls lead the service along with Rabbi Beal. I was there purely for moral support. It was a beautiful service. Naomi’s voice is as lovely as her soul. I prayed silently, but rejoiced in the beauty of the day.

My speaking voice came back in time to teach Hebrew school on Tuesday night, and it will be there, although quite weak, for Simchat Torah. As difficult as it was for me to step aside and let others do the singing, it was a blessing too. I am surrounded by love and talent.

Leaders often think that the world will fall apart if they cannot step up to the plate. I am glad to say that the world kept turning, services continued, two young women became Bat Mitzvah. I look forward to joining my voice once again with this fabulous community in joyous and heartfelt prayer.