Diane Becker Krasnick is our cantorial soloist

Rabbi Starr and Diane Krasnick
Rabbi Starr and Diane Krasnick
     Diane and her husband, Marc, have jumped headlong into the life of the congregation. Here's some background that Diane wants us to know about her.
     Diane was born and raised in an observant Jewish home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in Elementary Education with a minor in Vocal Music Performance and years later returned to the UW and earned a BBA degree in accounting.
      At UW-Madison Diane met Marc, her husband of 35 years. They made Madison their home where they raised their two daughters, Jessica, a Hebrew and Semitic Studies graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Meredith, their "special" (autistic) daughter.
     Diane, a soprano, was a member of the Madison Symphony Chorus and sang professionally at many weddings in the Madison area for many years. She was also a soloist in the choir at Temple Beth El-Madison, sang and played guitar for many Friday night Shabbat services, as well as playing for many Bar and Bat Mitzvah services. Diane also led the music for Friday Shabbat gatherings held monthly for Jewish seniors at Madison nursing homes.
     Diane taught music at Temple Beth El's Sunday school for many years and in 1992 began B'nai Mitzvah tutoring. Over the years Diane tutored over 135 B'nai Mitzvah students, teaching them the prayers of the service and the chanting of the Torah and Haftarah portions.
     In 2000 Diane began serving as the High Holiday Cantorial Soloist for Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, Massachusetts, a relationship that lasted 7 years. Also in 2002 Diane was hired by Holland America Cruise Lines to serve on their cruises as a "Guest Jewish Spiritual Leader" for Chanukah celebrations and Passover Seders (for which she wrote her own Haggadah).
     In 2003 Diane was elected Treasurer of the Guild of Temple Musicians (GTM), a multi-national organization with over 500 members. She attends the ACC (American Conference of Cantors)/GTM conventions annually, and in 2001 was honored to be chosen to sing in a 16-member Cantorial chorus at the Kennedy Center on July 4th.
     How did Cantorial Soloist Diane Becker Krasnick end up in St. Thomas?
      In 1992 Diane was an accountant living with her family in Middleton (Madison), Wisconsin. She and her husband, Marc went on their first cruise and one of the ports the cruise visited was St. Thomas. Reading that there was an historic synagogue in St. Thomas, Diane and Marc and the friends they were cruising with decided to visit the synagogue. Diane felt an immediate connection to this very special synagogue and even though at the time she was an accountant, she predicted that someday she would be the cantor here.
      So Diane decided it was time to start studying for the Cantorate and was accepted into the Hebrew Union College-Sacred School of Music Cantorial Certification program. Diane was just beginning the Cantorial Certification program when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she spent years fighting to become a survivor. Unfortunately, once interrupted, Diane was unable to finish the program to become a certified Cantor and instead remains a Cantorial Soloist.
      Subsequently, when Diane was serving as "Guest Jewish Spiritual Leader" on a Caribbean cruise, Diane first met Rabbi Arthur F. Starr, who she told, "one day I want to sing at your synagogue."
      Finally in April '06, while working on another cruise that stopped in St. Thomas, Diane once again visited the synagogue and this time Rabbi Starr told her the congregation was ready to hire a Cantorial Soloist and asked her to send her resume and other materials.
      Knowing that once she opened that door she had to be willing to walk through it, Diane hesitated and took several months until she finally sent her materials to Rabbi Starr. Many things in their family situation had to come to fruition before Diane and Marc would be able to make such a major move to St. Thomas. But Diane had faith that everything would come together --they all did. It was b'shert, "meant to be."
      And now Diane and Marc are "living their dream." With faith, spirituality and a positive attitude, you can overcome any obstacle. Diane believes that is why she is part of the clergy team at The Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas, why she is still alive, and why she hopes to touch the people she meets -- with her voice, her enthusiasm, and her joy for life.