I have been asked several times by those who have never chanted a Haftarah or read from the Torah what is involved in preparing a particular reading. Allow me to use this opportunity to outline the preparation needed and the process for securing the portion.
It perhaps goes without saying that being proficient with the Hebrew text is necessary. If you are fortunate enough to have a family member or friend who can tutor…great! If not, please contact me and I will try to connect you with someone who can help. It is also important that you understand what it is that you are reading. The Eitz Chayim Humash has a good English translation that you can review.
Learning how to chant the selection involves my recording the selection for you. I can make the recording on a CD or record an mp3 file and email it to you. After you have had sufficient time to review your assignment, we will find a mutually convenient time for you to meet with me. The number of times we meet will, of course, depend on your background and length of the assignment. I suggest you sign up for a reading that provides plenty of preparation time. I am more than happy to help you select a date and Aliyah. As we progress in the preparation, we move from a copy of the text which includes both vowels and tropes (the little markings that indicate melody, accentuation and meaning) to a copy that does not include either one. In this way, you will make a smooth transition to the actual Torah. Speaking of the Torah, we will practice several times either in the small chapel or in the main sanctuary with the Torah so that you feel comfortable.
You might wish to consider a family Simcha…a happy occasion, to make your “debut”! What a powerful message you will be sending to your children as you prepare and then actually chant from the Torah!
I sincerely hope that you will consider joining the ranks of our “Yad Squad” … a small cadre of people who participate in Torah reading. Please consult the Yad Squad online at www.tberochester.org under Spiritual Journeys to see what readings are available and please contact me with any questions.
With warmest regards ….