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From Cantor Aspirations To Weekend Edition Host, Rachel Martin Reflects On Her Journey

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

When I was young, I wanted to be a cantor. It didn't matter that I was a Presbyterian girl from Idaho. I saw Neil Diamond in the movie "The Jazz Singer," and that was it. I wanted to grow up and be a cantor. I didn't know what those prayers meant. I did not understand Hebrew. I just wanted to learn what it was all about. And that started something for me - asking questions about people who weren't like me, who came from different backgrounds and different experiences. It is a big part of why I became a journalist.

And I have to say, I have never been prouder to do what I do. And I feel so lucky that I've been able to do it for the past five years with the journalists who work here at WEEKEND EDITION. You guys embody the best of what we do. You are endlessly curious. You question your own assumptions. You try to get into someone else's experience. You are rigorous, you are committed and you are just good human beings. I have learned so much from each of you.

Thanks also to all of you out there who have listened each Sunday morning. I'm leaving you in great hands with Lulu Garcia-Navarro. And, of course, you're going to hear me during the week on Morning Edition. And with that, I'm going to offer up my own Thanksgiving tribute to a whole lot of things with a little song by the one and only Neil Diamond. Take care everyone and thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AMERICA")

NEIL DIAMOND: (Singing) On the boats and on the planes, they're coming to America. Never looking back again, they're coming to America. Home, don't it seem so far away? Oh, we're traveling light today in the eye of the storm, in the eye of the storm. Home, to a new and a shiny place. Make our bed and we'll say our grace, freedom's light burning warm, freedom's light burning warm. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.