Emunah Posner Minami
Emunah Posner Minami

Sixth-grade synagogue singer belts out anthem at Santa Cruz Warriors game

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Emunah Posner Minami isn’t one to get stage fright. Since age 7, she has been singing at Temple Beth El in Aptos during the synagogue’s monthly rock-n-roll-style service called “Rock Shabbat.” By age 10, the Santa Cruz resident found herself on the bimah singing with the Rock Shabbat Band.

Now 12, the sixth-grader recently sang a solo at her school’s winter show, and on Dec. 11, she had her biggest gig yet: belting out “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Santa Cruz Warriors’ Jewish heritage game.

This time, before an audience considerably larger than the “Rock Shabbat” gatherings — the Santa Cruz squad plays in an arena that seats 2,505 — she admitted to feeling some pre-show jitters.

“They light up the middle of the floor, so you can’t really see the audience very well,” Emunah told J. “I think that helped my nerves, because I didn’t see all those people watching me.”

Emunah and her family stayed to watch the NBA G League game between Santa Cruz — a “minor-league” affiliate of the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors — and the Oklahoma City Blue. The G League is a developmental league for the NBA, and it has 29 teams throughout the U.S. and one in Mexico City.

Some of the fans at Kaiser Permanente Arena on Dec. 11 received a blue beanie hat embroidered with the word “Warriors” in Hebrew, and they also got to see the local team roll to a 122-111 victory.

So how did Emunah get the gig? Well, a few months ago, Beth El Rabbi Shifra Weiss-Penzias contacted the Santa Cruz team to recommend that Emunah perform before the matinee Jewish Heritage Celebration Game.

“I said we have a really spectacular singer in our congregation,” Weiss-Penzias relayed. “She has an amazing stage presence.”

The opportunity was especially exciting for Emunah because, in addition to singing, she loves to play basketball — and was the starting point guard on her middle-school basketball team. She recently joined a more competitive league outside of school, where she has been playing with slightly older girls.

“Playing basketball with people who are better than me, it makes me learn more,” she said. “Like, I’m not one of the best players. But it’s kind of fun to be the youngest because people don’t expect things from you. So you get to surprise them.”

Emunah is preparing for her bat mitzvah, which will take place next November. Her father, Micah Posner, is tutoring her, and she said she’s picking up the blessings fairly quickly. “I catch onto songs really fast,” she said.

The Golden State Warriors will hold their annual Jewish Heritage Night at 7 p.m. Dec. 27 against the Charlotte Hornets at Chase Center in San Francisco. J. is a partner organization.

Jew,  Jewish,  J. The Jewish News of Northern California
Emma Goss.(Photo/Aaron Levy-Wolins)
Emma Goss

Emma Goss is a J. staff writer. She is a Bay Area native and an alum of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School and Kehillah Jewish High School. Emma also reports for NBC Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter @EmmaAudreyGoss.