Letter: Powerful film on cantors’ visit to Poland overlooked

Last night we were among a handful of people at the Esquire theater in Clayton to see “100 Voices: The Journey Home.” The same movie was shown in several hundred theaters all across the country. And although in Los Angeles and New York, the movie will continue to be shown, it only had a one night run in St. Louis and most everyplace else.

The movie was an excellent account of a unique event: a mission to Poland for several performances by 70 plus cantors to sing at the Warsaw Opera House, at the only Warsaw synagogue not destroyed by the Nazis, and to hold a prayer service near the gates of Auschwitz. Charles Fox, a contemporary composer of serious and popular music, was also in Poland. The idea was to make a healing mission to the country which most contributed to the cantorial tradition: chazzanut.

The music and interview footage with various cantors and Charles Fox, who had personal connections to the Holocaust, was amazing and very emotional. But at the Esquire, there were perhaps 25 people in all. We heard that about that many people, or a few less, were at the Chesterfield theater where the movie was shown as well. A sorrow and a pity for lack of publicity.

We found out about the movie, because a friend of ours emailed with a review from the San Diego Jewish News. We have in mind the publisher’s recent, long review of Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel. Was this not an indulgence since discussions of Franzen’s novel have been every place else? Would not the St. Louis Jewish community have been better served with a review of “100 Voices?”


Levi and Rose McCullough Schreiber

Tucson, Ariz. and Chesterfield