Kenneth Turan’s film pick of the week: ‘100 Voices: A Journey Home’


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Fans of Yossele Rosenblatt -- I know you’re out there -- now have a reason to rejoice. Film clips of the early 20th century’s legendary exemplar of Jewish cantorial music, not to mention other greats such as Moishe Oysher and Moshe Koussevitzky, can be found in a warmhearted documentary called ‘100 Voices: A Journey Home.’

Those clips, as well as the knowledge that Rosenblatt’s memorial prayer for those who died in the Titanic sinking was a major recorded success, are part of the back story of a film that tracks a 2009 tour by nearly 100 modern cantors to Poland, the birthplace of cantorial music.


The cantors, spearheaded by Nathan Lam of Los Angeles’ Stephen S. Wise Temple, sang at several venues, including Warsaw’s National Opera House, the largest stage in Europe, and the Nozyk Synagogue, the only Warsaw shul to have survived World War II. The tour footage is emotional, especially moments when the sons of the Nozyk’s final prewar cantor talk about their father, but to see Yossele Rosenblatt, that is something else.

‘100 Voices: A Journey Home’ is playing at the AMC Century City 15.

-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic

(bottom) Cantor Nathan Lam of the Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles sings at the Warsaw’s National Opera House. Credit: Adrienne Adar