Issue # 274
Issue #274 – 26 July 2007 / 11 Av 5767
IN THIS ISSUE:
CANTORIAL INSTITUTE TO BE STARTED IN GERMANY
Germany’s Leo Baeck Foundation, in partnership with the Breslauer families of California and Texas, recently initiated the formation of the Jewish Institute of Cantorial Arts, a new training facility for cantors and Jewish educators in Europe. The Leo Baeck Foundation is already the funding arm of Abraham Geiger College, Germany’s first and only post-war Progressive rabbinic seminary and an affiliate of the World Union. The five-year grant to establish the institute will come from California's Breslauer-Soref Foundation, and the Soref-Breslauer Texas Foundation, led by
"Over the years," says Rabbi Professor
Danny Maseng, a popular composer of modern liturgical and synagogue music (and artist-in-residence at the World Union's recent international conference), has agreed to serve the Jewish Institute of Cantorial Arts as Patron Artist. There are also plans for close cooperation with HUC-JIR's School of Sacred Music in Jerusalem and the U.S.; cantorial students will be expected to spend their first year in Israel at HUC.
Students who complete their Bachelor of Jewish Studies degree at the University of Potsdam after three years will continue their vocational training at JICA for an overall duration of four years, after which the candidates will receive their cantorial diploma.
Indications are that the federal German government and the Central Council of Jews in Germany are both likely to provide the Jewish Institute of Cantorial Arts with regular financial support beginning in 2008.
Backers of Germany’s future cantorial training institute (l-r):
SALTZ CENTER TEAMS WITH ISRAELI CONGREGATION
The World Union's Anita Saltz International Education Center recently held a 10-day Summer Institute on Prayer and Spirituality in conjunction with Kol HaNeshama, a congregation in Jerusalem affiliated with the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. The congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, a recognized authority on Jewish spirituality, led many of the sessions.
The participants explored prayer, its origin, melodies and tradition through experiential and traditional learning. The focus of the seminar was on prayer and individual renewal; text, music, silence and meditation; and Shabbat as a community experience. Participants also went on study tours throughout Jerusalem, visited the Western Wall, hiked and prayed in the desert and visited mosques and churches.
The Saltz Education Center offers a wide choice of seminars and programs in Israel as well as abroad. It has now added two activities geared primarily to tourists already in Israel: the Jerusalem Shabbat Seminar and Sunday night Jewish studies.
"We have found that Shabbat is the perfect niche for Reform groups here on an organized tour," the Saltz Center director, Rabbi Rich Kirschen, said of the Jerusalem Shabbat Seminar. Recent participants have come from Solel Congregation of Mississauga, Ontario (Rabbi Larry Englander); Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills (Rabbi Laura Geller); Temple Gates of Prayerin Metairie, Louisiana (Rabbi Bob Lowey); and Gates of Heaven in Schenectady, New York (Rabbi Matt Cuttler). The Sunday night study sessions, Kirschen says, are designed for tourists already in Jerusalem seeking to study Jewish texts “from a Progressive perspective with local rabbis, educators and personalities.”
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TWINNED CONGREGATIONS CELEBRATE SHABBATON IN POLTAVA
The Progressive movement in Ukraine recently held a shabbaton for Beth Am, its affiliated congregation in the city of Poltava. The weekend, attended by 40 people, included lectures and workshops that focused on the meaning of Shabbat and Torah, and was highlighted by a b'nei mitzvah ceremony and the reception of a newly donated Torah.
According to Rabbi Mikhail Kapustin, one of the two World Union rabbis in Ukraine, the family-oriented shabbaton included, in some cases, three generations. The newly-elected chairman of the congregation, Anatoliy Muchnik, was there with his grandson.
Founded primarily by college and high school students seeking a meaningful and egalitarian way to express their Judaism,
During services on Friday evening, the congregation received a new Torah donated by Project Kesher, the largest Jewish women's organization in the FSU. Says Kapustin, "The scroll was brought into the room and symbolically passed from Rima Novikova, who represents Project Kesher in Poltava, to Anatoliy Muchnik, who passed the scroll to me. I then passed it to Alla Magus. Each of us expressed our gratitude to Project Kesher and the hope that the scroll would help the community in the future.”
The next morning, five young people became b'nei mitzvah while wearing tallitot donated by Congregation Beth Am in Los Alto Hills, California, with which Poltava's
"The shabbaton was very successful," says Kapustin. "I'd like to thank Alla Magus and her team of madrichim for their hard work and enthusiasm. I'd also like to express my gratitude to Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, and to Cherie Half, chairperson of the congregation's twinning committee, for enabling us to develop Jewish life in Poltava."
October 18-22, 2007 – Biennial conference of the Union for Progressive Judaism (UPJ), Hobart, Tasmania
December 12-16, 2007 – URJ Biennial - Union for Reform Judaism, San Diego, California
December 13, 2007 – World Union Luncheon & Concert at the URJ Biennial, San Diego, California
January 29-February 3, 2008 – Annual conference of the Union of Jewish Congregations of Latin America and the Caribbean (UJCL), Kingston, Jamaica
February 27-March 20, 2008 – “Shalom India: Seeing India through Jewish Eyes” tour, led by Rabbi