“My singing as a child amounted to one solo in our graduation ceremony in 8th grade… A young woman counselor came to school to help organize our performance. She asked: “Who can sing a solo?” All my close friends knew I had a nice voice but also knew I was really shy and they shouted my name: “Chani knows how to sing!” I sang it was nice and that was it; after my graduation it didn’t dawn on me to do anything with my voice or consider a career in music.”
“In high school and after high school I learned secretary skills, graphics, and bookkeeping. After I got married I’d work a bit in graphics and bookkeeping and get pregnant and go back to work after maternity leave. That was when we lived in Beitar. But we ended up moving to Beer Sheba to be close to my in-laws to help them. They both got sick and died in a very short time and we found ourselves in dire financial straits. My husband and I were both unemployed and the support from our parents stopped.”
“I was very broken. We were so financially strapped that we had no food in the house. We ended up sending 4 of our 6 children to dormitories. I thought I’d never get over that pain and I didn’t want to do anything. But I realized that sitting home and crying won’t help a bit and I’ve got to find a way to help get out of this situation and save our family. I tried my hand in many different jobs and none of them worked out; I gave up.”
“One day my good friend called me. She told me she’s making a Bat Mitzvah for her daughter turning 12 and she wants me to do a Bat Mitzvah ceremony performance. I told her I have no idea what to do but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. She told me she knows I can do it and I’ll do it well plus she was willing to help any way she could.”
The Bat Mitzvah was literally a resounding success. I got such great feedback and compliments that people kept calling me up for more and more parties that they wanted me to perform at. I decided to go in this direction and I borrowed money for equipment and I took courses to become more professional in producing and singing. I became a producer and a woman DJ not only for Bat Mitzvoth but for “Henna” parties for brides, school functions, women’s events and more; anything that has to do with party production and performances.”
Chani is very grateful to G-d and didn’t forget where she came from. “Though I am a female vocalist I have no problem letting another unknown woman vocalist get up at one of my performances so people can get to know her. I love to work with other women and show them they have strengths and talents that they can use and develop to their potential.”
“The high point of my career so far was at a Chabad Women’s national rally in Israel. It was a really well planned out event. 2 years before this event, I wrote a song for a similar event and the producers said it wasn’t suitable for them. I came to the event as someone in the audience and told myself that perhaps next year I’d be up there performing. Last year they suddenly decided the song was just right and asked me to perform it in front of thousands of women at the rally. It was actually an even bigger rally for “Hakhel” (Commemorating the king’s reading of the Torah after the sabbatical ‘Shmittah’ year) which is held once every 7 years. G-d helped me make my dream come true!
“I’m a woman that was always shy and quiet. As a girl I felt people pitied me and as a young lady people knew life was hard for me. I’d get food coupons and other breaks, go to performances for free… all these things did nothing for my self-esteem. Nobody feels good in this situation. And suddenly from being the Chani that everyone took pity on, I became the Chani that sings in front of thousands of women! It was an enchanted moment. All my girlfriends were in shock! They didn’t know a thing about it! They thought I came as someone in the audience as always and suddenly I’m onstage singing. They complimented me and said I brought honor to our hometown of Beer Sheba! I finally felt people stopped pitying me and started to respect me.”
Chani’s next project is a performance that will include her personal story. “I’m not uniquely gifted; G-d gave each one of us tools for us to use and He wants us to use them! To climb into a bubble of ourselves and wallow in pain is the worst thing possible: Help your friend and you’ll help yourself. When we do what we love it affects all areas of our life. For example when I realized I became a businesswoman I started dressing with more dignity. It helped me hold my head up at home and with my parenting too.”
What do your kids say?
“They’re very proud of what I do. They tell everyone: “My mom’s the DJ of Beer Sheba!” They’re also very pleased with the financial stability that my new career brought with it. We’ve still got some way to go before we pay up all of our debts, but at least we can see light at the end of the tunnel. And most importantly, my children are back at home. After 2 years that they were away we became financially stable enough to reunite our family at home.”