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Deborah Katchko-Gray marks a milestone at Ridgefield shul

RIDGEFIELD — Temple Shearith Israel (TSI) will host a special Music Shabbat Service on Friday, May 17th, 7:30 p.m., to honor Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray on the occasion of her 13th anniversary – her “Bat Mitzvah” year – as cantor of the Ridgefield synagogue.deborah katchko gray

The service will include participants from the Serendipity Chorale, the Ridgefield Chorale, members of the First Congregational Church, the TSI Talented Teens, and the TSI Adult Choir. Renowned mezzo-soprano Caroline Chanin will also take part in the program. An appetizer buffet will follow the service.

A fourth generation cantor, and the second to serve a conservative synagogue, Katchko-Gray has served congregations both in Norwalk and Westport.  She joined the clergy at Temple Shearith Israel in l999.

A founder of the Connecticut Cantors Connect group, in 1982, Katchko-Gray founded the Women Cantors’ Network, a national organization of 300 members. Her archives are housed in the National Museum of American Jewish History, where two items are permanently displayed. The American Jewish Archives houses her complete archives.

The cantor’s recordings include “Kindersongs,” “Jewish Soul,” “Passover Seder Songs,” “Katchko —Three Generations of Cantorial Art,” and “A Sacred Spirit.” Her recordings are included in many of the Spirit Series through the Cantors Assembly. Her songbook, “Katchko,” is used at the Hebrew Union College’s cantorial school. She also teaches hazzanut via Skype for the European Academy of Jewish Liturgy.

Elie Wiesel has said of her, “Listen to her. Debbie will enable you to hear and feel the exquisite beauty of Jewish melodies that must never be forgotten.”

 Temple Shearith Israel is located at 46 Peaceable Street in Ridgefield. For more information call (203) 438-6589.

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