Grammy Award winner Janis Ian to present award to Congregation M’kor Shalom cantor

Cantor Anita Hochman will receive the Marylee and Stuart Alperin M’kor Or (Source of Light) Leadership Award during a June 4 ceremony. Hochman is retiring after 36 years as cantor at M’kor Shalom.

The Cherry Hill community will be honoring long-time Congregation M’kor Shalom cantor Anita Hochman with the help of a special guest in June.

On June 4 at 5 p.m., Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter Janis Ian will help present Hochman with the Marylee and Stuart Alperin M’kor Or (Source of Light) Leadership Award. Ian will perform during the program at M’kor Shalom.

The program is being done in honor of Hochman, who is retiring after 36 years as cantor at M’kor Shalom.

“I just can’t believe Janis Ian is going to be here! I love all her songs — they are ingrained in me,” Hochman said. “When I was a teenager, I would sing in coffeehouses and it was always her songs that I sang.”

Hochman always appreciated Janis’ blues, folk and jazz style and her “amazing” talent as a lyricist. She also noticed their similarities. Hochman added with a smile, “I even sang in her key. And, we looked alike!”

Hochman will continue as cantor emerita after her retirement, performing in various roles for the synagogue. Arriving at M’kor Shalom in November 1981, Hochman has served as spiritual leader, music director and educator, making music a fundamental part of the identity of the congregation, providing a thread of continuity and source of strength throughout all the years she’s been part of the M’kor Shalom family.

Chairs of the dinner, David and Susan Olinsky, and Gary and Marlene Dworkin, look at the evening as a celebration for everyone whose lives have been touched by Cantor Hochman.

“We know there are thousands of people who have benefited in some way by knowing the Cantor, whether they were directly taught by her, were members of our congregation or guests at a ceremony or service,” Susan Olinsky said. “We hope many people from her present life and past will join us. In fact, we recommend people respond quickly because this could easily be a sold-out event.”

Hochman said she has had so many highlights during her time at M’kor Shalom. “Training children of parents I once trained for Bar and Bat Mitzvah is my greatest honor,” she said. “Most people in their work life don’t have this kind of fulfillment. It is truly L’dor vador …. from generation to generation. One example is the Molotsky family — I have trained 11 members of their family. And, then there is Andrea and Jeremy Fau, both members of M’kor Shalom when they were children. I even named Andrea, trained them both for their B’nai Mitzvah, married them and, now, I will participate in the naming of their new-born son, Zachary. These moments are among the very best aspects of being with our M’kor Shalom family all these years.”

The dinner celebration includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner and dessert and is open to the community. For tickets and sponsorship information, please visit: www.mkorshalom.org or call (856) 424–4220.