March 25, 2019

Communicate the Unknowable

Dov Ben-Shimon Federation CEO

For some time now, our Jewish Federation has been working with community rabbis, as well as synagogue administrators and leaders. We provide educational sessions to improve skill sets like event planning and fundraising, and seminars to explore common interests like dues models and synagogue innovations. We’ve also provided our 82 synagogues with security consultations and collaborated with many of them on services and events.

But we hadn’t really talked to the cantors… until last week.

A dozen of our local cantors, from different streams of Jewish life, gathered for the first meeting at our Federation offices. As they spoke, I realized how much they do on a daily basis that lifts up, lightens, and inspires our community. Not just with the sacred music that makes the heart of our synagogues pump with life, but also with the education, outreach, engagement, care, counseling, and more that they provide. Our community is enriched by their presence and made more complete by their leadership.

Leonard Bernstein wrote that “Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” I love that phrase. It sums up the powerful role cantors fill in bringing each one of us to a deeper, more enriching spiritual place through their voices, yes, but also through their passion, learning, commitment, spirit, and dedication.

I’m deeply impressed by our Greater MetroWest cantors. And I look forward to future meetings where they can continue to share their experiences and ideas, forge collegial relationships, and lift up one another.