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Showing posts from July, 2009

The Hazon of a Hazzan

I handed my credit card to the cashier at the nail salon a few months ago. “Cantor Audrey M. Kessler,” she read out loud. There was silence. “Cantor?” she questioned. “I thought your name was Penny.” “Um, no,” I responded, “Penny is who I am [ed. note: "Audrey" is my legal name], Cantor is what I do.” She politely nodded, an unmistakable visual sign that she had NO idea what “cantor” meant. She’s not alone.

When I am asked “what I do,” I often find myself tongue-tied, Moses-like, tripping over my words as I explain the difference between my work and that of a rabbi’s. I have tried humor, as in, “the synagogue clergy equivalent of Ginger Rogers, who did everything Fred Astaire did but in heels and backwards.” I have explained carefully that I am the Jewish clergy who specializes in Jewish music and prayer. I have read dictionary definitions Periodically I am told of the many virtues of someone’s church cantor, a musician – not a clergy person – who leads a church choir. And ev…

Kol Sarah

I'm going on record here: while I dislike her politics, values and philosophies as presented during her 2008 bid for Vice President, I dislike equally - if not more - the ugly language that's swirling around some parts of the liberal blogosphere in reaction to Sarah Palin's recent as-yet unexplained resignation as Governor of Alaska.

The language is very ugly and not worthy of repetition. Too many posters/commentators sound positively obscenely delighted to rip her - and her family - apart. Change Sarah to Barack, Bibi or Hillary and you end up with hideous and repulsive racism, anti-Semitic and misogynistic swill. It's sickening to read and does nothing more than sink to the level of the spewers of filth on the extreme right wing of American political media spectrum.

Last week we read about lashon hara and its consequences. In a little over a month we will observe tisha b'Av and note the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, brought about - the rabbis teach - by …