by Zanna Linskaia
In several weeks it will be Rosh-Hashanah – Jewish New
5782 Year- and I remember time when many years ago I
came on the eve of High Holidays for Shabbat service led by
cantor Steve Levin. His beautiful voice with virtuoso piano
playing, his jokes and warm greetings to members and
guests were very inviting. I have been at services in Israel
and listened to excellent cantors and rabbis but Steve had
special impression on me and my decision to become a
member of the Burquest Jewish community.
Steve is not only cantor and religious leader of this
community: for decades he has taught and prepared
students for Bar and Bat-mitzvoth, giving them spiritual
meaning and understanding of the Torah, the Talmud and
Jewish customs and traditions. How important at this
troubled time teaching dignity to be a Jew.
Having a sincere nature and big heart, Steve often gives
concerts to elderly Jewish residents at Luis Brier home or
visits sick people at their final days. He considers it not only
as his duty, but as his love for people and God.
Besides his theological knowledge and erudition Steve is an
outstanding performer and musician who can easily
improvise opera, musical, jazz or klezmer pieces. I
remember his concerts of classical romances, his cabarets
of American musicals and songs by Lenard Cohen – they
Steve Levin is a man with an exceptional personality and
intellect even though his up-and-down life has not been easy
at all. In all circumstances he remains a mensch, as we say
in Yiddish, who stays outside of intrigues and envy and
could not hurt or insult anybody.
So many things have been cancelled during this pandemic
and so many people felt loneliness and isolation from each
other. We could not go to Burquest for services, but the
synagogue came to our homes by Zoom thanks to David
Lank who organized and moderated Oneg Shabbats with
cantor Steve Levin all this time. Steve became a master of
Zoom performances, with his charm, enthusiasm and
optimism like light in the shadows of a plague. When I am
sad, I listen to his beautiful recordings of High Holiday
prayers; then the spirit and hope return to my mind and soul.
Shana Tova to all of us!