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Jewish Chorale's Concerts Bring Eclectic Music To Diverse Audiences

Kol Rinah, the Jewish Chorale of Westchester, is holding its annual holiday concert in its new home, Shames JCC of the Hudson, in Tarrytown on Sunday, Dec. 4. Photo Credit: Contributed
Kol Rinah, the Jewish Chorale of Westchester, was founded in 2001 by two singers who wanted to bring Jewish music to a community more diverse than is typically reached by synagogue choirs. It now has 25 members. Photo Credit: Contributed
Kol Rinah, which is giving a Hanukkah concert on Sunday in Tarrytown, rehearses. Photo Credit: Contributed

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Kol Rinah's first Hanukkah concert in its new Tarrytown home will offer an eclectic mix of music ranging from the liturgical to the contemporary in English, Hebrew and Yiddish, say chorale officials.

The concert is set for 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Shames JCC on the Hudson, 371 S. Broadway (Route 9).

The Jewish Chorale of Westchester was once housed at the Rosenthal Jewish Community center in Pleasantville.

That center, which had served northern Westchester for nearly 40 years, abruptly closed its doors last June.

According to a report by, JCC’s President Jessica Morgenthal, and Executive Director Ellie Aronowitz, blamed a significant decrease in the number of young Jewish families moving into the area.

Economic challenges and increased competition were also cited as reasons for the closure.

The Rosenthal JCC was the only one serving northern Westchester; the other two are in Tarrytown and Scarsdale.

According to a post on its website, Kol Rinah’s members are “still pinching” themselves at their “good fortune in being welcomed to the Shames JCC on the Hudson.”

“They offer wonderful programming including a dedicated music department and we’re fitting right in,” the group posted, adding: “We’re delighted that several new singers have joined us, and our sound is even richer and fuller than ever.”

Kol Rinah was founded in 2001 by two singers who wanted to bring Jewish music to a community wider and more diverse than is typically reached by synagogue choirs.

The chorale group, which now has 25 singers, is often hired to sing at private events such as religious school graduations, women’s group lunches and senior programs.

But, it says, its favorite performances are the large concerts that draw audiences from all over the county.

Many concertgoers, the group said, “have never heard the diversity of Jewish music spanning many hundreds of years from all over the world.”

No matter what their “faith tradition,” audience members “are able to share the uplifting spirituality and entertainment our concerts provide,” the group said on its website.

Its artistic director and conductor is Benjamin Gruder. Wendy Segal has served as the group's co-president with Anne Lowy since 2005.

Segal, a tutor and Yorktown resident, was the administrative religious school director for the Yorktown Jewish Center.

Gruder also directs the Nashir! The Rottenberg Chorale and the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (SAJ) Choir of New York City. After learning to play the trumpet at age 7, he went on to perform in symphonic, ethnic, jazz and punk rock ensembles.

Connie Prener is the group’s accompanist. She plays the piano, harpsichord and chamber organ and is an ensemble singer.

Prener plays for the Westchester Gilbert & Sullivan Groups, the Chrysalis Consort and accompanies the Pleasantville High School chorus. She is a rehearsal and orchestra pianist for Briarcliff High School and Middle School musicals.

To buy ticket for Sunday’s concert, click here, or call (914)-243-9059.

Advance sale tickets are $20 for general admission, $16 for seniors and students, and $15 for JCC members. Tickets at the door are $22 general admission and $18 for seniors and students. For JCC members,  tickets at the doors are still $15.

For more information about Shames JCC on the Hudson, click here, or call (914)-366-7898.

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