My Personal Cantor

What to do for High Holidays, 2008?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do this upcoming year for the High Holidays. For the first time in 12 years, I will not be a temple member in Weston any more, as I’m moving out to East Ft. Lauderdale, once Trevor leaves for college. Being a huge believer in putting things out into the universe, I’ve decided to think a bit more – in my blog, to hopefully get a feel for what I should do.

I feel there is a shortage of resources in the NW Dade, SW Broward area, for a warm, spiritual, user-friendly service that people can attend, without feeling intimidated. I have been getting messages that perhaps offering a service that could almost be considered a learning service, for Interfaith families, and families with little Jewish education – and most especially Hebrew. I think there are many lessons we can learn from Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur, and while I feel that Hebrew is a critical component of the service, there is much more I can do in English, to make it friendly for everyone.

But, I am also thinking that perhaps I should find a Rabbi that is doing his or her own service, that needs a Cantor, or a Soloist to accompany them. That way, I could gauge the unaffiliated community, their needs in a service, and have an entire year after that to formulate a plan on my own. I met an old friend for lunch, yesterday, who also sings and songleads in the community, and after the High Holidays, we plan to put together some informal, spiritual and informative services, for the following year. Perhaps that would open the door to a larger community for a High Holiday service.

Sermon – or not? I have ongoing conversations with my Dad about what people are looking for. Of course, he comes from the intellectual, Conservative Judaism side, where of course people come to shul looking for intellectual stimulation – which requires a Rabbinic sermon. I, on the other hand, certainly consider myself to be an intellectual, but I feel that there is a population out there that just wants to be spiritual, and connected to G-d, without all the rhetoric. Being alone, it’s tough to perform all the necessary services, and prepare all the material, so I’m not sure a sermon would fit, if I offered this service alone.

I guess I’d love to hear thoughts about what people want, so if you are reading my blog, and have any opinion at all, I’d love to hear it. Do you go to services outside of a synagogue? Where? What do you love about them? What don’t you love? What would you look for that you cannot find? What part of the Jewish experience are you most longing to connect to in a worship service?

I would love to hear from anyone with any ideas. Most especially, if there are any experienced lay leaders out there who no longer belong to an organized synagogue, I’d love to hear from you too. Perhaps we can work on something together?

Let me know – I’d really love to put something out into the community that people want, and can have access to.


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