Recognizing the expanding role and training of cantors, the Capital District Board of Rabbis, at its June meeting, extended its membership to cantors invested or ordained by major seminaries. Accordingly, the board approved revisions to its by-laws to change the name of the organization to the “Capital District Board of Rabbis and Cantors,” and to establish standards for their acceptance to the organization, paralleling those for rabbis.
Rabbi Beverly W. Magidson, newly elected president of the board, noted that “Cantors are now involved in all aspects of congregational life, including pastoral visits and education of all ages. In many places they are the co-equals of rabbis. Cantors are also professional chaplains in many facilities. Training at the major seminaries has expanded to prepare them for these roles. We want them to be at the table as we discuss common areas of concern to our Capital District Jewish community.”
A second by-laws revision changed the title of secretary to communications coordinator.
New officers were elected at the meeting. The new president is Rabbi Beverly W. Magidson, recently retired community chaplain of Jewish Family Services and Daughters of Sarah. Vice president is Rabbi Rafi Spitzer of Congregation Agudat Achim in Niskayuna. Communications Coordinator is Cantor Sharon Kohn of Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany. Treasurer is Rabbi Debora Gordon of Congregation Berith Sholom in Troy. The immediate past president of the board is Rabbi Chanan Markowitz of Congregation Beth Shalom in Clifton Park.
The board held its annual Kallah (“Study Day”) in two sessions; one on June 9 and the second on June 10. The presenter was Rabbi Stephen Kaye of Or Chadash. Kaye, a board certified chaplain, is an expert in organizational development, team building, and executive coaching for clergy. The presentation contained strategies for clergy mental health and self-care, as well as preparing for members’ needs as synagogues re-open. The Board of Rabbis and Cantors chose this presentation to conclude a year of unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the year, the board met more frequently than in the past, sometimes meeting weekly to support one another during the crisis. The Kallah was partially underwritten by Levine Memorial Chapels.
The Capital District Board of Rabbis and Cantors will resume meetings in early September. It has established a new e-mail account for communications at CDBRCpresident@gmail.com