Legendary singer Tony Bennett passed away on Friday after a battle with Alzheimer’s Disease in his home in Queens at 96-years-old.
One person carrying on his legacy is his daughter, Antonia, who has followed in his footsteps as a jazz singer herself. She performed alongside her father ever since she could walk and talk and opened for him for more than 25 years at venues around the world.
She also is an Orthodox Jew. Antonia converted once she met her Israeli husband, Ronen Helmann. Judaism wasn’t foreign to her, as she has Jewish cousins and grew up in LA and New York in various Jewish communities, so when she met her husband was open to becoming Jewish herself.
She sat in on Jewish classes and was intrigued. Now that she has converted, she continues to see the beauty of Judaism in her life. “Being Jewish has been very good for me,” she says in an interview with the Times of Israel. “It keeps me grounded and connects me to God… I connect through daily prayer, mitzvot and trying to be present in the moment with my thoughts and actions.”
She and her husband live in LA with their children and attend West LA’s Orthodox Happy Minyan.
“I love the Pico-Robertson community,” Bennett says. “It is warm and embracing. There are all kind of Jews there practicing at different levels. There is something for everyone.”
While she loves her community, she also feels a close connection to Israel. “I love Israel, the Israeli people. I am married to one,” Bennett says. “My husband always has one foot in Israel. We have family there. It is an amazing country.”
Antonia continues to sing and perform regularly. She certainly got her father’s genes, as music encompasses her entire life outside of Judaism and her family. It’s her passion.
“Everyone has something that they’re good at. Singing is what I am good at,” Bennett says. “Even though I have lots of interests, music fills up the majority of my time. Whether I am with my family or friends, music always comes into the picture. Whatever I am doing my mind always seems to drift back to thinking about it because, well, it’s just what I like.”