In Our Virtual Mishkan

Thirty Years Of Glorious Music: A Tribute to a Grand Lady, Nadia Adler

By Cantor Beny Maissner

It was SIMCHAT TORAH 1990 down in the Phillip Smith hall in the midst of our spirited and joyous celebration of the holiday when I turned around and heard a heavily accented Russian being spoken. Two distinguished people introduced themselves. My name is Yaffim Adler and this is my wife Nadia. We both are musicians. And who are you she asked me. Oh, I am Beny Maisner the Cantor and music director of the Temple. Where Are you from, I asked?  From Moscow was the answer. How long are you in Canada? Only A few days. We arrived as Refugees. Our children fled Moscow with their grandmother because of antisemitism and they are not going back. We left Moscow in a hurry and joined them. Oh, I said with enthusiasm, I am going to Russia in a few weeks on Behalf of our soviet Jewish committee, to meet and connect with “REFYUSNICKS”, those who are refused to immigrate to Israel.

we are supposed to visit Moscow Leningrad and Samarkand. Great said Yaffim instantly. I have a close friend a famous composer in Leningrad, I will give you a letter of introduction and he will help you with whatever you need.

All these short exchanges of information were enveloped by music dancing and happy celebration. We never saw anything like this said, Nadia. I don’t know anything about Judaism or Jewish customs. Needless to say, our instant connection and mutual feelings for each other was spontaneous and real. Meeting these lovely people led to a strong Musical bond and of a lasting personal friendship. our families got to know each other as we shared Friday night dinners and Pesach celebrations.

I was also privileged to help arrange for legal papers for the Adlers to stay in Canada and get their Permanent residence.

In fact, my first musical encounter was with Yaffim who was and is a celebrated well known Classic contemporary choral and orchestral composer. His name in Russia is still very well known.

Yaffim started to write arrange and create music for our high-level musical legacy.

Much of the music for Shabbat festival and High Holidays which is so familiar to our congregation to this day is his ingenious complex musical creations.

“BYENICHKAH” (Beny) he calls me one day and says “NOT ME YOU NEED”, Nadia my wife is a concert pianist and a great musician. Make her your accompanist. It was during those days when some of the keyboard musicians who played and stayed with us for many years sought for a change in their lives. This was a natural privet point for us and I engaged Nadia to come and try out to accompany myself, our Temple choir and Temple Singers. It was an instant match. Nadia devoured the music immediately. No matter what I put in front of her she sight-read with great ease. She often didn’t approve so easily of some of the music I was going to introduce. Her high level of musical taste was something I was not so used to, in light of some of the music which infiltrated into our Synagogue Repertoire in those days.

Soon I found out that she was not only an accomplished concert pianist but the

CHIEF MUSICAL EDITOR in the TCHAIKOVSKY house of publication. She worked with Shostakovich and other famous composers. Very soon Nadia became heavily involved with training accompanying and playing in every musical event services and concerts. Nadia was and is my right hand when it came to choosing repertoire for our worship services, Temple singers, our Temple choir and my own Toronto chamber choir LACHAN. NADIA would not let me get away with anything but the best suitable and the highest level of musical excellence. Every Shabbat service was a new experience for her which influenced our own level of aspiration for the best. Nadia’s favourite season was the intense preparation and rehearsals leading up to the High Holidays. Those services and especially the N’Ilan Service lifted our spirits up.

Nadia possesses unlimited boundless energy which resulted in lushes’ sounds coming out of the keyboard, navigated by her consummate technique. Nadia devoted her heart and spirit to the enterprise of our worship service. Our love for her throughout all those precious years never diminished but grew stronger and deeper.

Nadia was and is my right hand. Nadia was a devoted soldier for thirty years of my service to our congregation. We now as a congregation and all our choir members celebrate her with all our love and devotion for the gift and inspirational music she provided us. We wish Nadia and her family health strength and long happy lives

Nadia, we won’t forget you.

You are part of our musical heritage.

Bless you, my dear Nadia.



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