My Personal Cantor

Celebrating 7 Years

Shema Koleinu – 7 Magical Years

celebrating Shema Koleinu's seven magical years


The number 7 carries tremendous significance  in both the Bible and in numerology.  7 represents completion, rest, and an opportunity to review that which we created.

Today, my heart soars as I celebrate #7 with my Shema Koleinu unaffiliated Jewish community in South Florida, with my father, Rabbi Steve, and while I don’t quite feel restful, perhaps that will be in store for me – soon.

In 2011, I had a vision, and after reaching a point in my practice where I had served enough unaffiliated Jewish families to warrant a gathering – I decided to put my own gathering together.  Of course – in Cantor Debbi Ballard style – this couldn’t be just a simple gathering – this had to be AWESOME and AMAZING – in year 1!

I went in search of a physical space to hold this gathering, and saw many auditoriums and social halls that would hold the number of people I envisioned – and in my search, I found Miramar Cultural Center in South Florida.  It was regal, majestic, and the moment I stepped in to the auditorium, I could see the entire service – and my dad and I on stage – and many many people – adults, seniors and children filling the audience.

Tonight, I will step onto that stage for the 7th year, and I am filled with so many feelings as I prepare my mind and body for this incredible job of leading my unaffiliated Jewish community in services.

I’ve accomplished A LOT in 7 years.  2011 was the beginning of my most dramatic growth, personally and professionally.  I have watched many Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah students continue on through high school and college, and in my 12 year tenure, have now had the opportunity to perform a few Jewish-Interfaith weddings for some of those students.  I have performed over 300 Bar Mitzvahs since that time (500 in total) and brought over 300 couples to the chuppah.  I’ve welcomed over 100 babies into the world, and helped over 100 unaffiliated Jewish families say goodbye to precious loved ones.

The significance of #7

In the Torah, in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Five Books of Moses, we are taught about the creation; specifically – the 7 days of creation.

On each of the days. God created something specific, like the earth, the planets, the trees, the animals, the waters and the heavens.  On day 6, God created man.  And on day 7 – God rested, but it wasn’t just about rest.

The most important thing God did – as he did with everything he created is that he paused, looked back and reflected, and he said – “This is good”.  It may not have been perfect, but it sure was good, and it was the vision God had, manifested into physical space, and sometimes, the manifestation of a vision is enough.  Sometimes, it’s even perfectly imperfect.

What #7 means to me

Today, I look back at what I have created. Along with my dad, and even the help of my kids and some VERY significant congregants, I am so proud to say…
This.  Is.  Good.

Perhaps not perfect, but what good is perfection?  Imperfect keeps me striving.  Imperfect makes me feel alive – to greet another year – to keep going – to change things – to adapt. Imperfect encourages me to set new goals, and find new ways of doing what God has called me to do, and new ways of expressing myself in this awesome and amazing life.

7 – Looking forward


This year has been turned a bit on its head with hurricanes, earthquakes, and political strife.  But, we do the best we can, we look back and find better ways of being, and just for now – we rest, admire, and breathe.

I wish for all of you a year where you can look at your perfect imperfection – and breathe. Love what you have created.  Feel the Divinity.  Know it is yours.  Make plans.  Make changes.  Thank you, #7.

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