Synagogue to hold CD release party as part of centennial

Posted Nov. 30, 2012, at 2:57 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The Adas Yoshuron choir will hold a CD release party at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at the synagogue as part of the congregation’s centennial activities.

A short film by David Berez of Camden about the making of the CD will be shown.

The choir recorded the CD to mark the congregation’s 100th year at 50 Willow St. In 1912, Jews in the area were worshiping above a Main Street storefront in Rockland, but praying a building would become available for a synagogue.

Believing the end of the world was imminent, the then-Seventh-day Adventists sold their Willow Street property to Adas Yoshuron, according to a previously published report.

The choir’s CD features 19th century Eastern European Jewish liturgical music, a few modern pieces and two performed at the Holocaust Remembrance Day concert. The liturgical music includes compositions by longtime member, the composer Hugo Weisgall.

The choir, under the direction of Dana Goldsmith, will perform several pieces from the recording Saturday.

“It’s pretty unusual for this music to be performed in the U.S.,” filmmaker Berez, 50, of Camden said Thursday. “For me, the most interesting thing about the choir is that half of its members aren’t Jewish, but they are singing this music in Hebrew. This music has very elaborate harmonies and is very moving for me as a Jew. But it’s also very moving for the United Methodists, Catholics and every non-Jew in the choir.”

In addition, Berez’s film, “The Right Rabbi,” a 40-minute documentary made by Portland filmmaker Laura Val in 2004 about the congregation’s search for a rabbi, with interviews of members and others, will be shown. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the filmmaker.

Refreshments, featuring desserts from the synagogue’s 100th Anniversary Cookbook, will be served. Copies of the CD and the film will be available for sale, as will the “Adas Yoshuron Cookbook.”

Attendees are asked to bring nonperishable food donations for the AIO Food Cupboard.

For more information, call 594-4523, or email