Monday, April 21, 2014
For more than a decade, Beth El has been on a journey toward prayer that is joyous, authentic and invigorating. It is the kind of prayer that allows each of us to suspend our theological uncertainties, to jettison our inhibitions and open ourselves up to one another; to ourselves and to a God we may not fully comprehend. In doing so, we have become pace setters, much like the congregations described in this important feature story in this month's Hadassah Magazine.
We have been fortunate to have some wonderful cantors over the years and we have learned something new from each of them. Our four years with Cantor Mordecai have propelled us to a place we wouldn't have dared imagine just a few years before. Our services have become a model for others to emulate. Joined this year by Beth Styles, along with David Daniel Klipper and guest musicians, and supported by a grant from a most generous donor, we've reached new musical heights on Friday nights and have begun to explore new ways that our musical vision can spread a message of joy, inclusiveness and love throughout the community and beyond.
Our cantorial search committee has been working hard for the past few months and this Friday night will be presenting a prime candidate, Magda Fishman, to the congregation. I encourage you to attend. Know that any candidate that the committee presents to the congregation must be someone that we feel can take us to the next level, musically and spiritually and must be a "mensch," who can build relationships and really cares about people of all ages; in short, someone who can help us all to sing a new song.
The committee has made it clear from the outset that we will not settle. And fortunately, our community is one that can attract superb candidates, people who are looking to further our efforts at revitalizing synagogue life. With our resources, our growing city, our vibrant and caring congregation and our reputation for experimentation and musicality (including the liberal usage of instruments), we are the ideal match for someone like Magda - and indeed we were brought together by professionals in the field who know us, know her and see the potential of an excellent match. By attending next week, and by responding afterward, you can help us determine our new course as we begin the next stage in our spiritual journey.
Meanwhile, I invite you to do your own research on the candidate by reading this profile, checking her cantorial website, listening to her music (more here, some classic Israeli songs here, YouTube videos here) and don't miss this Huff Post column. Please feel free to let me and our committee members know what you are feeling, as we begin this next stage of our spiritual journey together.