Generations: Elsie Krinitsky

Anyone who knows Elsie and David Krinitsky knows that music is one of the many bonds they share.  A Rodef Sholom choir member, “my contralto”, who was also a shadchanit (matchmaker) brought them together. On their first date, Dave arrived with his flute and Bach sonatas. They played for two hours and were engaged within days. “He needed an accompanist, and I needed a tenor.”  Rabbi Hoffman married them over 50 years ago on April 24, 1965.  Since that time, Elsie and Dave have volunteered their time and musical skills across Marin County.

Before Dave made his entrance, Elsie was already Choir Director at Rodef Sholom, a position she would hold for 40 years.   In the days before computers and printers, Elsie would handwrite arrangements by memory based upon a temple she worked at in Philadelphia where she grew up.  Unfortunately, one Saturday she arrived to find that the electric organ and bench had been stolen. With it went all of her handwritten arrangements that had been stored in the bench.  She had to rewrite them again, from memory, and mimeograph them.  It’s fortunate for the temple community that she did; “I still have many files of music from Elsie’s days as Choir Director,” notes Cantor David Margules.

For over eight years, Elsie was one of the leaders of elaborate annual stage productions, created by Rodef Sholom members.  The first of those shows was “The King and Oy”.   Yiddish and inside jokes replaced the words of the well-known show tunes.  These were popular and well-attended performances.

Elsie recalls that one Rosh Hashanah, before the current synagogue was built, services were being held in San Rafael, on the campus of what was at the time a military academy.  Rabbi Hoffman was having a hard time blowing the shofar – nothing was coming out.  Just then, the bugle reveille call to lunch could be heard from the academy.  Rabbi Hoffman declared, “Thank you, G-d!” 

Well, Rodef Sholom thanks Elsie.  As Cantor David concludes, “Elsie’s generosity with time and her way of showing kindness and patience to all who wished to participate musically made music flourish at Rodef Sholom.”