Night at the Opera: Morristown clergywoman celebrates birthday, sings for community

temple b'nai or concert poster feb 2013

By Wendy Gottsegen

As Galit Dadoun-Cohen’s 40th birthday approached, friends and family asked the usual questions: “Should we have a party? Are you and Joe going somewhere romantic?”

But the Morristown mom of three and cantor at Temple B’nai Or surprised everybody with a request. She wanted to sing opera for her congregation and her community.

temple b'nai or concert poster feb 2013Before Cantor Galit, as she’s known at Temple B’nai Or, became clergy she was a formally trained opera singer, studying and performing in New York and abroad. Those who enjoy her voice at services had no doubt that such a concert would be very special.

“When my wife and I learned that Galit wanted to perform an opera concert, we were thrilled,” said Greg Pine, Temple B’nai Or executive board member and concert patron. “Those of us lucky enough to hear Galit sing and chant Hebrew songs know we experience just a small part of her vocal capabilities. We immediately lent our support.”

A venue offering acoustic excellence was found: Drew University’s Dorothy Young Center for the Arts. Temple B’nai Or Presents: The Golden Age of Opera is set for Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Dadoun-Cohen enlisted a group of accomplished singers to join her, accompanied by the temple’s resident pianist, Mark Hyczko. The program is designed to introduce newcomers to some of the most beloved and recognizable pieces in opera. A narrator will educate the audience on the history and tradition around the pieces, which Dadoun-Cohen hopes will spark greater interest for some.

“Opera enchanted me because of the way it incorporates all the elements of spoken theater – acting, scenery, costumes and sometimes even dance – with soaring musical composition. If I can help anyone appreciate it even a little bit more, I’m very happy,” she said.

Even though singing opera again is a gift to Dadoun-Cohen, and she hopes to her audience, she also wants to mark this milestone for her congregation. The proceeds from the concert will benefit the temple’s music program with a goal to buy a new piano for the sanctuary.

“Temple B’nai Or is a congregation that really appreciates music. They deserve quality presentation and a new piano will help us deliver that. And if there’s any money left over, I want to try to replicate this type of event and share it with our friends and neighbors across Morristown.”

Those interested in purchasing tickets for The Golden Age of Opera can do so at To learn more about the event, including specials dinner deals for opera-goers visit:

Wendy Gottsegen, Morris Township resident and mother of three, moved to the area in 2010 after spending a decade in Texas as a communications executive for MD Anderson Cancer Center and Dell Inc.  The Chicago native enjoys volunteering locally and amateur dog training.

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