February 20, 2020
The Cantors Assembly has created a multi-part series called #WhatCantorsDo. This first video features Billy Crystal talking with his cantor, Chayim Frankel, about the power of the music in the service.
Billy Crystal sat down with his friend and cantor, Chayim Frenkel to discuss his feelings about Jewish music and cantors.This is the first of a 12-week series of super brief (no more than 30-45 seconds) videos from well-known personalities within the Conservative Jewish world and beyond exploring the often unseen value that cantors bring to their communities.Over the next few months, you'll hear from Rabbis David Wolpe, Bradley Artson, Angela Buchdahl, Daniel Nevins and more.We even got to sit down and talk to Billy Crystal, a committed Jew and lifetime lover of cantorial music. What he says in this video is absolutely correct: music touches the soul in a way the words simply can’t.Check out this video and then let us know in the comments how Jewish music has touched your life.#whatcantorsdo
Posted by Cantors Assembly on Thursday, February 6, 2020
February 13, 2020
All of this snow and moisture makes me think of Psalm 93, the Psalm for Friday, which is the last Psalm in Kabbalat Shabbat. This psalm uses water imagery and the power of water to talk about God’s might.
This setting of Ps. 93:4, below, is by Nava Tehila, a creative musical community based in Israel. Translation of the verse: “Above the voices of many waters, the mighty breakers of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty” (mechon-mamre.org).
February 6, 2020
We are beginning this week in honor of Shabbat Shira -the Shabbat of Song.
This coming week is Tu B’shvat, the Birthday of the Trees.
In honor of this, we are sharing two new takes on Eitz Chayim Hee – It (the Torah) is a Tree of Life, This is part of the liturgy for when we return the Torah to the Ark, at the end of the Torah Service.
Naomi Less and Matt Check with a blue grass feel:
Jon Simon Shabbat Jazz taking a familiar tune and creating something new:
Az Yashir Moseh el B’nai Yisrael: Then Moses sang to the Children of Israel. This is how the Torah records the moment after the splitting of the Sea, and the wondrous sight of our people after their miraculous crossing. Shira, song, has always played a significant role in the life and the history of the Jewish people. In fact, the rabbis point out that the words Az Yashir can also be translated in the future tense, then he will sing; underscoring the idea that the song of the Jewish experience continues in every age. Az Yashir, our song, is rooted in the traditions of the past and ever evolving toward the future. This is our congregation’s Az Yashir moment.
This year, our congregation will begin to look forward as well. We fully appreciate the historic nature of the choice before us, and the seminal importance that Jewish music will play in our synagogue’s future. To ensure the best possible results for our community, we have planned a two-phase project to ensure that Anshe Emet will welcome a new Hazzan for the High Holy Days of 2021.
Phase One: Az Yashir Task Force
Rob Weinberg, who did such a masterful job with our LaAtid Task Force in education, will facilitate the process. The Az Yashir Task Force is made up of a rich and varied cross-section of our synagogue. Members of our community will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions in regard to Jewish music and liturgical presentation to the Task Force through focus groups and other forums. In addition, the task force will look outside of Anshe Emet to explore the landscape and trends in Jewish music heard in synagogues across America. All of the information, along with recommendations, will be gathered in a report that will be made available to the congregation by the Fall of 2020.
Phase Two: Az Yashir Search Committee
Following on the work in Phase One a search committee will be constituted, made up of some of the task force members and adding others to lead the cantorial search process. Guided by the findings in the report, they will bring the leading candidates to the congregation over a series of Shabbatot. Our community will have the opportunity to hear them and share their thoughts with the search team. This phase will conclude with a recommendation of a Hazzan to the Anshe Emet Board of Directors.
Ricardo Rosenkranz, M.D.
Rob Weinberg, Consultant
Christie Chiles Twilie
Ex Officio Members of the Task Force
Rabbi Michael Siegel