My name is Nurit Novis-Deutsch. I am a 42 year old mother of three living with my family in Hanaton, a small village in the Galilee. I am a researcher in the field of psychology of religion, and I teach at Haifa university and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Thirty years ago, when I was preparing for my Bat Mitzvah at congregation Hod v’Hadar in Kfar Saba, Susie Dvoskin was my wonderful and energetic teacher for reading Torah. I still read Torah on a regular basis, and I still love it. For my Haftorah I learnt the South African ‘trop’ (that being where my family and I made Aliya from) by listening to a tape recorded by a Chazzan my father knew. Later, I learnt the more common ‘trop’ by listening to Susie and others chant Haftoras at shul. Over the years I also learnt how to read the different Megillot, and taught Bar and Bat Mitzvah students myself.
Reading Torah and Haftorah is a meaningful part of my life. Thanks to this skill I became deeply familiar with portions of Torah and the Prophets, which resonate and inspire me along my life’s journey. I also find Torah-reading to be a good way to make contact with local communities. For example, when we spent two years in Berkeley, I offered to read Torah at the Conservative synagogue in town and with time developed a very meaningful relationship with that congregation. Finally, I enjoy expressing my Jewish identity musically. Thanks to Susie Dvoskin and Emanuel Alon who taught me the foundations of precise and musical chanting, I acquired an additional Jewish “language” which has enriched my life, and for that I am truly grateful.