Adina Frydman blends motherhood and music

BY PAM DROOG JONES, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

Adina Frydman has found the perfect balance for her various passions: being a wife and mother, working and volunteering in the community, and teaching and performing music.

Frydman’s parents are from Argentina; she was born there but moved to Israel as an infant. Then the family settled in Miami Beach when she was 5 years old. She wanted to be an opera singer and earned a bachelor’s degree in voice performance at Stetson University in Florida. But during college, Frydman says, she became much more involved in the Jewish community. “I spent time in Israel and taught in Jewish camps and worked at a synagogue near the campus as a cantorial intern,” she says. “I realized as a cantor I could fuse my two loves — music and Judaism.” She attended cantorial school at Hebrew Union College’s School of Sacred Music in New York City, earning a post-bachelor degree in cantorial investiture. “I studied a combination of Jewish liturgy, history, literature, education and pastoral work, because cantors in the Reform movement truly are clergy partners,” Frydman says.

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In New York, Frydman also met and married Rabbi Avi Katz Orlow. Soon after their son, Yadid Frydman Orlow, was born, nearly two years ago, the family moved to St. Louis, where Orlow is the Hillel Rabbi at Washington University.

When Frydman arrived in St. Louis she took a year off from working to spend time with Yadid. “I enjoyed that year, and I feel I developed a special relationship with my son,” she says. “But I realized I needed to have projects of my own and intellectual stimulation.” She rejoined the working world teaching music full-time at a charter school in the city of St. Louis. “That was a fantastic experience but probably too much at first,” Frydman says. “It didn’t leave me any time to devote to other musical and community activities.”

Now Frydman works part time at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis as the director of its new initiative, Focus Israel. “Our goal is to intensify the significance of Israel in the St. Louis Jewish community,” she says. Also, she founded and directs two choirs, the St. Louis Jewish Women’s Choir and Hazamir St. Louis Jewish Teen Choir. “The teen choir is in the process of affiliating with the JCC, and we hope it will perform at all official Jewish functions in the community,” she says.

In addition, Frydman is an active member of Bais Abraham congregation, where she leads a monthly women’s prayer group. “That’s my cantorial outlet,” she says. She also participates in Nishmah activities and frequently performs at private and communal functions and tutors bar and bat mitzvahs. Furthermore, as the wife of the Hillel Rabbi, Frydman and her husband share Shabbat meals with students in their home every week. “His job keeps me quite busy,” she says.

Frydman also enjoys volunteering for the JCC’s Shalom Baby program, meeting with new mothers and informing them about community resources. She soon may be on the receiving end of a visit from the group, since her second child is due June 14. “I plan to spend some time with the new baby and then go back to work and continue my various projects,” Frydman says. “With no family here, it’s hard as a mother. But we have a very supportive community, and St. Louis has been a great place to raise Yadid. Best of all, for myself I have found the right balance, intellectually, socially, musically and spiritually.”