“ASHIRA LA’ADONAY B’CHAYAI AZAMRAH L’ELOHAI B’ODI”
I will sing to God while I am alive
I will sing praises to my God throughout my life
Dear Congregants and friends
For the past 37 years I have been privileged to serve Holy Blossom Temple as Cantor and Musical Director. During these years I have worked with many wonderful Rabbinic partners, Cantors, talented singers, musicians and countless dedicated volunteers. Together we have grown and shaped the worship, musical life and taste of the congregation. Throughout these years Hope, my children and I have been blessed with tremendous support, kindness and love.
I consider myself lucky to have shared my passion for Jewish music with our congregation by teaching the values of Judaism through music.
For some years now I have expressed the dream to reach my 40th anniversary at Holy Blossom and to then step down from active, daily responsibilities.
With the help of Temple President, Joan Garson, and Senior Rabbi, Yael Splansky, aided by a team of people who are all committed to making my dream become a reality, I am pleased to announce that effective July 1, 2020, I will become Holy Blossom’s first Cantor Emeritus.
It is difficult to find the words of gratitude which express our joy with the entire process, the warmth in which it was handled and to tell everyone how happy we are with the way things worked out. For the next three years it is business as usual.
I will continue to serve our congregation with dignity and renewed energy.
I look forward to seeing you all at Temple and greeting you personally.
Cantor Benjamin Z. Maissner
Now, therefore, write this song for yourself, and teach it to the Children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me and the People Israel. (Deuteronomy.31.19)
Cantor Benjamin Z. Maissner has been Holy Blossom Temple’s beloved chazan for nearly forty years. Composer, choirmaster, prayer-guide and interpreter, Cantor Maissner has shaped the worship experience at for our congregation since 1979. As commanded in our Torah, he has “written the songs” of our congregation, “placed them in our mouths,” and taught us to give voice to our own prayers.
Cantor Maissner opens the Gates of Heaven when he leads us “b’chol l’vavcha, uv’chol nafshecha, uv’chol meodecha”— with all his heart-wisdom, with all his soul, with all his God-given talent. That is what it takes to uplift and unite a congregation as large and diverse as ours. And that is what Cantor Maissner has given us – year after year, season after season, Shabbat after Shabbat, Shehechiyanu after Shehechiyanu.
Whether under the chuppah, at the bedside or at the graveside, Cantor Maissner brings knowledge, skill, and intuition to make each ritual unique. He has enriched our lives by seamlessly weaving together the range of Jewish sounds into a single service and by bringing the world’s finest Jewish musicians and artists to perform for us at Holy Blossom Temple. Out of his devotion to Klal Yisrael, Cantor Maissner has brought hundreds of congregants to explore world-music in Israel, Germany, Spain, Poland, and even China.
Holy Blossom Temple is known to be a unique congregation, in large part because Cantor Benjamin Z. Maissner is unique among the world’s cantors. Perhaps the finest evidence that Beny Maissner is a leading figure among the North American Cantorate is the fact that he has raised up scores of disciples.
On a personal note, it has been Rabbi Splansky’s great honour to stand by him – shoulder to shoulder – on Holy Blossom’s bimah. Chazzan Maissner has been her professional partner in serving and leading this esteemed congregation since her arrival nearly twenty years ago.
And so, it is with both pride and humility that we announce to the congregation that Cantor Maissner will become Holy Blossom Temple’s first Cantor Emeritus, beginning July 1, 2020. At his initiative, this plan was designed in order to allow plenty of time for Cantor Maissner to develop the next stage of his cantorate, and for the congregation to thoughtfully search out his worthy and fortunate successor. We are confident that the future is bright.
In time, we will prepare to celebrate and praise Cantor Maissner’s many accomplishments. For now, however, Temple life carries on with a busy spring season ahead. Come enjoy Cantor Maissner’s leadership on Shabbat, Yom Tov, and upcoming concerts.
With much gratitude,
Rabbi Yael Splansky, Senior Rabbi
Joan Garson, President