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.