We were rather downcast as we left the Great Snagogue museum and returned to the Choral Temple. It was such a fine, breezy day, however, that soon we recovered our spirits. The first yellow leaves had fallen, and the wind sent them scudding across the sidewalks. It felt good to reenter a synagogue that still had a congregation. G., the young man whom Simona had enlisted as our guide, was an impassionaed advocate for the Choral Temple. And he was a member of the men's choir. In accordance with Orthodox practice, there was no women's choir. Female singing is deemed too distracting for men engaged in worship to hear.
G. could not spare us much more time, as there was a choir rehearsal in progress. He gave me the impression that he was a person who assumed a great deal of responsibility, and, as a result, was busy almost constantly. G. admitted us to a back room where men in kippot sat around a polished table covered with books and sheets of music. We sank onto folding chairs and listened to them practicing. Though I am not an aficionada of Ashkenazi Jewish liturgical music, I thought that the men sang well, perpetuating the eponymous choral tradition. In that setting, I felt privileged to be able to hear their voices.