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Reform Cantors Conference Installs First Openly Gay President

July 10, 2013

SCHAUMBURG, IL:  The American Conference of Cantors (ACC), a non-profit organization dedicated to the professional growth and development of cantors in the Reform Movement, has installed an openly gay cantor as the next president of the Conference. Cantor Mark C. Goldman of Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El in Plantation, Florida, has begun his term as of his installation on July 3, 2013, at the ACC’s annual convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“I'm proud to represent cantorial clergy of Reform Judaism. More than any other movement, the URJ has welcomed people of all faiths, lifestyles, ethnicities and beliefs. Our diversity, inclusiveness, and willingness to always think forward and be truly progressive is key to our strength and integrity,” commented Goldman.

From his July 4 installation remarks, Goldman said, "...I skate to where the puck is going not where it’s been…My goal is for the American Conference of Cantors to double our sphere of influence by the second half of this decade so that we can positively impact the lives of those who choose to be part of our progressive community.

“In a time where there are a plethora of musicians who touch the lives of those they serve through Jewish music, we have a singular opportunity to unite and lead as clergy committed to the highest ideals of Judaism and Jewish music. In the backdrop of a Movement which is experiencing challenges in the areas of affiliation, support, and engagement, we have an exciting and extraordinary opportunity to be on the cutting edge of progressive Jewish life. The 21st century cantor…clergy, musician, teacher, program coordinator, artist, counselor, communal figurehead, ambassador, and the list goes on and on, multi faceted and talented, involved in every aspect of modern communal life. Indeed, the center of our Jewish community.

“This is our opportunity to jump ahead of the wave. This is our opportunity to unite and lead as Jewish progressive clergy dedicated to contemporary Judaism, Jewish music, and Jewish life.”

Goldman, a native of London, England, is a descendant of generations of cantors. He pursued Cantorial studies as well as a B.A. degree in Judaic Studies at the London School of Jewish Studies (formally “Jews College”). He is the youngest ever recipient of certification by the Chief Rabbi of The United Kingdom. Prior to moving to South Florida, where he has been serving Kol Ami Emanu-El since 1995, Goldman served Temple Beth El of Rochester, New York. While in Rochester, Goldman attended the Eastman School of Music. He earned a Masters degree in Music, Performance and Literature.

Goldman has served as the ACC representative to the URJ's Southeast region since 2001. He established F.O.C.A.S. (Florida Association of Cantors & Soloists) in 2002. He has served as a member of the ACC's Placement Advisory Group since 2005, and launched the ACC's Hadracha-Mentorship program in 2006.

“Cantors are blessed with a unique ability to connect to members of our communities and those outside of our tent through music as well as spiritual and covenantal values,” said Goldman. “I look forward to partnering with our rabbinical colleagues and lay leadership in creating this dynamic and engaged community.”

Goldman has been a member of the ACC Executive Board since 2006 and a vice president of the Conference overseeing various portfolios including: Placement, Conventions, and Continuing Professional Education, Internal Policy and Administration.