Cantorial Search Update

Our cantorial search committee has been hard at work!  In our initial meeting we began by thinking about the characteristics that our congregation is looking for in an ideal candidate:

We need a wonderful cantor who can provide visionary leadership in all aspects of the life of our congregation. We are looking for someone to be involved in the planning, intentionality and spiritual leadership of our prayer services,  as well as the visioning and strategic planning of the entire congregation.

We seek a cantor who will be a musical and spiritual leader who is deeply and holistically connected with the life of our community in every area of congregational life, including teaching adults and children and B’nai Mitzvah, conducting life-cycle events, pastoral counseling and participating in social action efforts.

We hope to find someone who is visionary, personable, caring and compassionate in working with congregants and in teamwork with fellow clergy.

Finally, our ideal cantor is someone who is highly skilled, with a voice strong enough to fill our Sanctuary yet humble enough to help facilitate participatory song and worship, so that congregants will feel a part of their own prayer experience.

Professional dancer, Liz Lerman teaches:  “Rehearsal is a period of time that is set aside for exploration, testing, learning and repetitive practice.  Rehearsals give us a place to make mistakes.  I imagine the experience of prayer in just that way.  I am rehearsing a set of ideas.  I allow myself to go into it with all my attention, recognizing that I can step back, reflect, and rethink – and in the spirit of the best rehearsals, report to myself what I have learned.”

If prayer is a rehearsal for the dance of life, then prayer experience and prayer leadership cannot be limited to the moments we share in the sanctuary.  Prayer is our community’s time to contemplate what matters to us and to move ourselves to live in a way that reflects our highest ideals.  During prayer, we bring the gratitude and struggles of our everyday lives and begin to work through them spiritually.  We weigh ethical dilemmas, we cultivate compassion, we confront our tempers, our transgressions and our potential downfalls.  We set priorities and we experiment with ideas.

May the leaders who guide us through prayer guide us not only through the rehearsal, but also through our very lives.

5 Responses to Cantorial Search Update

  1. S. Ben-Salem says:

    I don’t see the connection between spirituality and the cantorial search. However, I do find it difficult on many occasions to focus on my own spirituality while there are children flipping around in the isles of the sanctuary. Perhaps something should be done about the lack of parental control of these children.

  2. lyn linker says:

    Stephanie-I totally agree with you about the lack of parental control of some children(and unfortunately it is not just at Rodeph Shalom but also in the outside world). That is one reason I do not go to Alternative Services, Bar/Bat Mitzvah services, and other services where there are apt to be a lot of children. You cannot say anything to the parents-it will just cause more trouble. That is one reason I enjoy Saturday morning services if there is no Bar/Bat Mitzvah-there are few if any children. Ron brought his grandson once or twice and the boy was an absolute delight. Too bad there aren’t more children like him.

  3. Denise Bayer says:

    It would be a great help to those of us who wonder why change this now if we had some initial names, qualifications and the committee’s first impressions about candidates. Rather than feel like a select few are going to tell us who is best for us to lead us in song and prayer, we need to know on some level this has congregational input pursant to the messages we have been receiving all along that this will be beneficial to the congregants. If so, then let the congregants have input.

  4. Hello!
    I can only relate to spirituality through song since I have always been in touch with my inner self through prayer, words and most of all – music. The reform movement has given me a structure in which to meld both the spirituality of the past with the structure of the present. With emergence of great composition has come the appearance of great music – i. e. Mozart’s ‘Coronation Mass’, Beehoven’s Ninth, Handel’s ‘Messiah and Bloch’s ‘Sacred Service’

    Cantor David Montefiore

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