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Ba’al Chazon Award for Cantorial Innovation

For the past two years, the Ba’al Chazon Award for Vision has honored cantors for their work beyond their synagogues. Moving forward, the Ba’al Chazon Award for Cantorial Innovation will recognize creative and successful programming within our synagogues. The core of the cantorial role remains our expertise and execution of sacred music, but our contributions to synagogues now range far beyond these traditional duties, to include work in pastoral care, social justice, community engagement, academia, and more.

Now is the Time for Action

Early this summer, I represented the ACC as part of a URJ delegation of clergy, protesting and bearing witness in McAllen, Texas to the atrocity of child detention centers. Alongside distinguished interfaith clergy from around the country, our intention was to shed a light onto the shame that is occurring and articulate our clear opposition to this misguided and immoral policy. 

We can be proud that The Union for Reform Judaism, as well as numerous other religious institutions of diverse faiths from around the country, came out strongly against this policy. 

Expanding our Reach: The Songs of Social Justice and Tikkun Olam at NFTY

Aldous Huxley taught, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” The most significant moments of our lives have a soundtrack; they have a musical framework that our families, our people, and our society build. During the civil rights movement in America, African American spirituals like Oh Freedom and We Shall Overcome inspired, led, and exclaimed the charge of our fellow citizens looking for justice, for equality.

We remind ourselves to look for the humanity in each other

A few weeks ago, The ACC & GTM held it’s annual convention in Atlanta. While the name and logo attached to the convention was a spin on popular culture: PEACH PERFECT, this year’s convention had less of an emphasis on musical repertoire. Instead, the focus was on how we can use our voices, our positions and our own actions to inspire others to pray with their feet.

Commissioning New Works of Music: Some Notes and Bolts

by Cantor Jonathan Comisar

     One of the most rewarding creative endeavors in my music career has been the composition of new synagogue music, specifically as part of a commission.  It's exciting to collaborate with a cantor and/or synagogue community to create something tailor-made for a celebratory event such as a dedication or anniversary, the honoring of a spiritual or community leader, or to be composing something that will enrich the musical/artistic life of a specific synagogue.

Bringing Home the Beach

Every year, my family and I head “down the shore” (as we say around here) to spend a week relaxing at the beach. As we cross the bridge separating Ocean City from the rest of New Jersey I can feel the tension leave my shoulders, my heart rate slows, and a stupid grin spreads across my face. Maybe it’s the beach kid in me. The tang of salty air just makes me feel like I’m a kid again in San Diego.

Lost & Found: Ashira Ladonai (Sing Unto The Lord), arranged by Erwin Jospe

ERWIN JOSPE is probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think about Jewish music - but his life story and compositional output are more than deserving of our attention and admiration. Born in 1903 in Berlin, Jospe was the editor of Hawa Naschira: Auf! Lasst uns Singen (1935 and reissued in 2001), the last publication of Jewish music in Europe prior to the Holocaust.


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