On the Occasion of Cantor Maissner’s Retirement
April, May and June were to be filled with celebrations. This was to be the capstone season after forty-one years of devoted service, after forty-one years of devotional services. We wish it were otherwise. Like so many Simchas – b’nei mitzvah, graduations, weddings – this milestone in the life of our congregation has to be recreated for life in the time of Coronavirus. Only a global pandemic would keep us from the gala celebration we had planned for Cantor Maissner and his family.
The extraordinary teams of volunteers and professionals have swiftly pivoted to plan what promises to be a meaningful and memorable online tribute. Please join Adam and me in making a contribution to Holy Blossom in honour of Cantor Maissner. We know he is one of a kind. We know he has poured his heart and his talents into our congregation. We know he has taught us to be a singing congregation. We know he has been with generations of families at the chuppah, at the Torah, at the bedside, and at the graveside. Now it is time to say thank you and to wish Cantor Maissner a Mazel Tov on his retirement.
We intend to have an in-person gathering of some kind down the road when it is safe to do so, but in the meantime, you can visit his open office hours. This will give everyone an opportunity to informally and personally express gratitude and share some memories.
Counting our Blessings
It’s hard to believe it was already three years ago that Cantor Maissner announced his plans for retirement.
It’s hard to believe that it was already three months ago that we announced our successful match with Holy Blossom’s next Senior Cantor, David Rosen.
Transitions aren’t easy, but they can be made beautiful, even in the midst of a pandemic. That’s just what we intend to do – to celebrate and sanctify how we are going from strength to strength – with grace and gratitude.
“He pours out all he has done”
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote in an essay entitled, “The Vocation of the Cantor”: There is a story about the Ba’al Shem who was once listening most intently to a musician. When his disciples asked him why he was so absorbed in what he heard, the Ba’al Shem replied: When a musician plays he pours out all he has done. Indeed, a Cantor standing before the Ark reveals all his soul, utters all his secrets. The art of being a Cantor involves the depth, richness and integrity of personal existence.
These are the blessings we have witnessed over four decades of Cantor Maissner’s leadership at Holy Blossom Temple. Indeed, every time he has taken his place on our bimah, he has “poured out all he has done.” He has poured his prayerful melodies into us and our lives are fuller because of it. On June 10th we will pour a glass for him and raise it to toast Cantor Maissner and say: “L’Chayim! To Life!”
1 – When Rabbi Splansky became Senior Rabbi, Cantor Maissner surprised her with a black tie and champagne.
2 – Last week for Cantor Maissner’s birthday, Rabbi Splansky and Cantorial Soloist Lindi Rivers surprised him by singing Yom Huledet Sameach on his front lawn.