During the fall season, Kittay Jewish Program co-coordinator Naomi Chiel not only is busy planning cultural and educational opportunities for tenants, but also is using her soulful voice as a professional cantor.
For the past eight years, during the High Holiday season through the autumn festivals and every Shabbat morning, Naomi has led the Scarsdale congregation, M’Vakshe Derekh, in prayer, chanting both traditional and contemporary melodies from the conservative liturgy.
Naomi explains, “Expressing my creativity and Jewish identity as a cantor gives me a meaningful opportunity to connect with people in an evocative and musical way. Music is inspiring and sharing it with a congregation, in addition to my beloved Kittay tenants, is very fulfilling to me personally.”
Naomi studied at the cantorial program at the Academy for Jewish Religion. As a cantor, she has also performed wedding ceremonies. “With all the budding romances that happen among our Kittay tenants, I’m hoping that one day I will preside over a meaningful ceremony for some of our senior lovebirds.”