ACC News

American Conference of Cantors-Guild of Temple Musicians Mission to Israel Begins July 1

June 27, 2024

[Schaumburg, IL] - The American Conference of Cantors (ACC), along with their affiliate the Guild of Temple Musicians (GTM), announce its upcoming delegation of over 60 ordained or certified cantors and synagogue musicians traveling on a mission to Israel beginning Monday, July 1, 2024. 

This mission marks a significant opportunity for cantors to engage in a series of important discussions and collaborative efforts aimed at strengthening ties between the North American and Israeli communities. This is the second time the ACC and GTM have visited Israel in an official capacity since October 7. The first solidarity mission was in December 2023. The mission begins in Haifa and moves on to both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. 

Co-chaired by Cantor Andrea Rae Markowicz of Am Shalom in Glencoe, IL, and Cantor Leslie Niren of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, TX, with support from the ACC officer team vice president, Cantor Rebecca Moses of Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange, NJ, the ACC team has worked with Via Sabra, an Israel-based tour provider. After October 7, the itinerary shifted from one of celebrating the arts, music, and foods of Israel to bearing witness and support of the communities the ACC and GTM touch. 

The mission will bring together members of both worldwide organizations to meet with and learn from scholars, musicians, and officials from Israeli organizations such as Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), Israeli Religious Action Center (IRAC), and Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). 

Events of note in Tel Aviv include a visit to Rimon School of Music, engaging with Polyphony, an organization bridging the divide between Arab and Jewish communities in Israel through music, and celebrating Shabbat services with Beit Tefilah Israeli (BTI) who are celebrating their 20th Anniversary. 

In Jerusalem, the delegation will celebrate Rosh Chodesh Tammuz with Women of the Wall (WOW) on Sunday, July 7. WOW is the organization advocating for equality in worship at the Kotel. After Rosh Chodesh services, participants will join a special day of learning at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem. The culminating event of the day is a special release party of “Mizmor L’Eli: The Eliyahu Schleifer Anthology” published by Transcontinental Music Publications. 

Participants will also meet with families and survivors of the horrific October 7 attacks including Jacqui and Yaron Vital, cousins to GTM Member and Holy Blossom Temple Cantorial Soloist, Lindi Rivers. They are the parents of Adi Vidal-Kaploun who was murdered on October 7, and Yaron is a survivor from Kibbutz Holit.

The mission's agenda will focus on key topics such as how regular people have stepped into the roles of healers and supporter of society since October 7, how music and art have changed and healed communities, and how Jewish leaders can spend time in Israel learning and conveying messages of solidarity and exploring avenues for cooperation between North American and Israeli officials. The delegation looks forward to engaging in meaningful dialogue, sharing resources, and building lasting connections during their time in Israel.

Updates and reports from the mission will be shared on various ACC and GTM social media channels including Facebook and Instagram. 

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Rachel Roth, ACC COO at or 847-744-5412.

The ACC, through its support for and cultivation of excellence among cantors, strengthens Reform Jewish life in North America. ACC cantors are equipped to be attentive to the joys and challenges that members within a congregation face over the course of their lives, using both their unique calling to music and prayer and their shared responsibilities for offering spiritual leadership to congregations. ACC members also can help lead their congregations and by extension, the Reform Jewish movement in North America, to a bright future.

The ACC maintains rigorous standards for ordination/certification, offers deep support for the professional needs of cantors, advocates with passion for the evolving role of the cantorial vocation, and cultivates ever-increasing professional excellence among its members. The Guild of Temple Musicians is an affiliate of the ACC.

Committed. Sacred. Strong. Beautiful. Forward-Facing.