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.
Co-chairs, Cantor’s Celebrations Committee