(This goes right after "15. Learning")
Chanting Torah had always seemed like one of those interesting and ridiculously difficult things other people did, like roping calves or writing symphonies, solidly ouside the realm of experience I happened to occupy in this lifetime. On the other hand, thirteen-year-old boys and girls did it all the time, so I knew it was easier than brain surgery. And it involved singing, an opportunity I could never turn down. Intrigued by the challenge, I agreed to give it a try.
The persistent C. managed to assemble a total of six people including, to my surprise, one guy who had chanted at his bar mitzvah and now wanted to learn to do it the real way--from the trop, the notes and phrases, as opposed to blind memorization, the usual, painful way kids are taught. The other four of us were women with backgrounds in Jewish learning ranging from not much, but lived in Israel for awhile, to years of Hebrew school but nothing useful taught or retained, just like myself.