In Beny2020 Stories, stories

The Cantor’s Celebrations Committee is inviting the congregation to a very special Selichot on Saturday, September 21, the first event in a year of celebrating the cantor before he assumes his new position as Emeritus.

Selichot is the service that begins the season of reflection and repentance of the High Holy Days. But Selichot this year will be different. It will be devoted to the music of worship – Beny will lead the study session, and teach exciting new tunes that we can all sing at the service following. And we’ll have the chance to toast him with delicious desserts and champagne and start the celebratory year off right.

Beny Maissner has been the cantor at Holy Blossom for 41 years. That’s a longer tenure than any other cantor at this synagogue. He’s had the chance to impact many lives and generations, to shape and change services, and to teach us the profound relationship between the words and music of worship, between tradition and the new.

For the study session, we asked congregants to submit their favourite musical moments from the High Holy Days and the cantor has selected just a few to talk about. He has asked his friend, the great composer and choral director, Stephen Glass, to create new arrangements for the centrepiece prayers of Holy Blossom’s exquisite Selichot service. The cantor will teach us this new music which is not only beautiful but also very easy to learn.  Then we will all join together to sing it for the first time during the haunting and evocative Selichot service after the champagne and dessert reception.

The Cantor’s Celebrations Committee, nine very enthusiastic volunteers, reflected a lot on what Cantor Maissner has meant to the congregation’s spiritual life.

He has had a profound impact on our Jewish identity.  His love of Israel shines out. He has been a leader in using music to create bridges between faiths and communities and has taken courageous stands to promote reconciliation with Germany through music.  He loves to share his deep musical and Jewish knowledge and has exposed us to the wide range of our musical heritage through his programs and commissions. His personal teaching and mentoring have trained a generation of young cantors and many lay leaders.

After Selichot, our next program on November 6, 2019, during Holocaust Education Week will bring together the cantor, young people from the congregation and musicians, to show in music and art the resilience of the human spirit despite soul-destroying circumstances. Watch for more details later.

We are so excited and energized by the way congregants have already come forward to support our efforts. And there will be more opportunities in the year to record your own appreciation of the cantor, to bring out fun photos and films for reminiscence, to chuckle over Beny’isms.

So SAVE THE DATE for our big Tribute event and party on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. Expect something fast-moving, fun, and sophisticated that will bring together the different aspects of the cantor’s contributions to Life at Holy Blossom. To stay up to date on all of the wonderful offerings we have planned for this year of celebration, please visit our Celebrating 41 Years with Cantor Maissner home page.

From Helena Fine and Susan Cohen,

Co-chairs, Cantor’s Celebrations Committee

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  • Michael Greenstein

    Selichot: the glass of champagne will be full to overflowing. A shout-out to Stephen Glass, not-unsung hero, composer, and conductor extraordinaire. A patient and passionate teacher striving for excellence, Maestro Stephen goes over every phrase with gusto and gleeful recipes. Beny, the choir, and everyone at Holy Blossom are honoured to have him present at this special time.

  • Barbara J Ostfeld

    Holy Blossom Temple has SO much to be proud of! The way in which you are honoring Cantor Maissner during 5780 does your congregation honor! Cantors everywhere thank you!

  • Alex Klein

    Cantor Beny and I have been online and convention friends over many years.His contribution to the cantorate through his knowledge,teaching,singing and personality is a testament to who Beny is.
    Over the last few years Beny has become one of our European Cantors Association members contributing to our Conventions with much love and enthusiasm. He has become a good friend and a valuable member of the ECA family. A great ambassador for your synagogue and cantorial music .He has two successful marriages .One with Hope and the other Holy Blossom .None of this would be possible without these ingredients .May he continue to be a wise council to the community and to all his friends around the world .Enjoy, I will see you soon .
    with best wishes from the ECA executive and members Alex (Klein) Convenor of ECA

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