For Everything There is a Season

By Cantor Linda R. Semi

During the course of the year, we read from Ecclesiastes that there is “a time for everything under the sun.” We go on to enumerate these things. There is “a time to be born and a time to die, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time to dance and a time to mourn.” So, too, in the life of your cantor at B’nai Emunah, there is a time for everything. There is a time to be on the bimah and a time to be at home, a time to fully participate in all services, and a time to be at only selected services, a time to be the sole overseer of the choir activities and a time to share those activities with others, a time to write PROFILE articles and a time to just read what others have written.

By now, you should all know that I approached the board in February 2011 and asked to decrease my duties, in order to become your true part-time cantor. The board agreed and has given me a contract that reduces my time and duties to about half of what they have been. This contract begins June 1, 2011 and terminates on December 31, 2012.

I will be on the pulpit for 24 Saturday and 14 Friday night services in the first year of my new contract and then somewhat less for the last seven months until December 31, 2012. The rabbi, Batshir Torchio (our rabbinic intern), and I recently met to schedule our times on the bimah to ensure that a member of the clergy is there as often as possible.  Even after that, some people have approached me about services at which they would like me to be on the pulpit with the rabbi. We are flexible enough to be able to accommodate most requests, so let us know as far in advance as possible if you have a special event or service at which you want both the rabbi and cantor. We don’t want to disappoint anyone and will work hard to accommodate your requests.

As far as holiday services go, I will be with you for the majority of them but not always, as with the upcoming Shavuot services, on all days. In addition, I no longer am required to be at the community Pesach seder or the Erev Tisha B’Av service when we read Eicha.

In advance, my thanks go out to Bonnie Lindauer. She will work with the choir for the majority of their summer rehearsals. I will come in for the last few rehearsals and conduct the group during our holiday services, but Bonnie will do the bulk of the preparatory work with the group.

The B’nai Mitzvah preparations that I handle are one of my greatest joys. I always get a special thrill when a student works so hard and accomplishes so much as demonstrated when (s)he conducts parts of the service and chants Torah and Haftarah on his/her special day. Since working with the students has always been outside the terms of my contract with B’nai Emunah, I am still available to tutor for these events. It is a real thrill for me to have a baby, whom I named, come to the bimah as a young adult and assume a more adult role in our congregation!

One of the items the board no longer requires of me is writing articles for our PROFILE. So, this is my “l’hitraot” for submitting PROFILE pieces. As I have told you so many times in the past, it is true music to my ears when you sing and daven with me – when you truly join in! It won’t be any different now, I am sure, even though we will be together less often. However, as the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” so I am guessing that when we are together at services, we will have even more ruach and kavanah than we do now. We will make our time together even more special for all of us.

Have a terrific summer. Best to all of you.

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