More music from Cantor Emeritus Beny Maissner
A Message from Avra Rosen, Holy Blossom Board President & Rabbi Yael Splansky, Senior Rabbi
Dear Holy Blossom Community,
It is our pleasure and privilege to announce that we have made a shiduch (a match) with Cantor David Rosen!
On and off the bimah, a Cantor plays many roles in the spiritual life of the congregation. We’ve been on a quest to find a Mensch, a Maestro, and a Mover. One of North America’s most esteemed cantors, Cantor Rosen is certainly all three.
As a Mensch, Cantor Rosen has amazed us with his ability to connect with young and old and everyone in between. He will be an excellent partner for our Clergy Team. And it won’t be long before he is recognized as a sought-after leader of the Toronto Jewish Community and beyond.
As a Maestro, Cantor Rosen is as masterful with a full choir and instrumentalists as he is with a circle of students in our Early Childhood Centre. His voice is both commanding and engaging. His expansive repertoire draws from a wide range of Jewish musical genres to uplift any occasion.
As a Mover, Cantor Rosen will both move us in prayer and move our congregation from strength to strength with creativity, curiosity, and confidence. Cantor Rosen is full of energy and ideas which will build bridges from our current time of pride and joy to our future which is brimming with possibilities and promise.
We thank our Pulpit Committee, chaired by Lisa Taylor and our Search Committee, so ably co-chaired by Jeff Denaburg and Rachel Malach, for successfully bringing us to this exciting moment in the life of Holy Blossom Temple. The search process has been thorough and thoughtful. We thank the hundreds of congregants who participated in our Listening Campaign, which informed our search and shaped the Committee’s outlook.
We look forward to officially welcoming Cantor Rosen and his family on July 1, 2020, when Cantor Maissner will become our Cantor Emeritus. Please mark your calendars for the many musical moments planned for the spring, culminating in a celebratory, never-to-be-forgotten tribute to Cantor Beny Maissner on June 10, 2020.
With gratitude and anticipation,
President Avra Rosen and Rabbi Yael Splansky
A Message from Cantor David Rosen, Incoming Senior Cantor
Dear Congregants and Friends,
I am honoured and humbled to join you as Senior Cantor at Holy Blossom Temple this coming July. My wife Ilyse, our son Joel and our shih-tzu, Molly are all eager to meet you. We have already felt the warmth and friendly embrace of this community in our brief encounters thus far and we look forward to deepening those relationships and creating new ones with all of you.
Music has been, and will continue to be, at the heart of this sacred community. Under the leadership and guidance of world-renowned Cantor Benjamin Maissner these past four decades, Holy Blossom has become a model of Jewish Music and worship in Toronto and beyond. I plan to continue the legacy that Cantor Maissner brought to this congregation and I look forward to expanding upon it while continuing to nurture your souls and spirit with song. I’m greatly looking forward to working with the incredible choirs and musicians who are a vital part of worship at Holy Blossom.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with an incredible clergy team led by Rabbi Splansky along with a talented and dedicated Senior staff. I look forward to connecting with multiple generations from singing songs and telling stories with our Early childhood students, to celebrating B’nei Mitzvah and Confirmation with our teens, to rejoicing in a milestone birthday of one of our centenarians.
Holy Blossom is also guided by a strong cadre of lay leadership and volunteers who work tirelessly to make Holy Blossom a warm and welcoming community to all who enter its doors.
I would like to take a moment to extend a huge thank you to the entire Cantorial Search Committee led by co-chairs Rachel Malach and Jeff Denaburg.
As Holy Blossom’s next Senior Cantor, please know that my door is always open and it is my hope that you will visit often!
This synagogue holds such prominence within Canada and is internationally known as one of the leading congregations in the Reform Movement; I will always aspire to honour that distinction.
May this kehilla kedosha (holy community) continue to go from strength to strength for generations to come and may we all work together to embrace our past, celebrate our present, and envision our future.
A Message from Cantor Maissner
What a bright future!
My dear beloved congregation. It is with open arms and overwhelming delight that I personally welcome our new Senior Cantor David Rosen.
It is hard to believe that forty-one blessed years have passed so quickly, as I was privileged to serve you as Cantor. Now the time has come for us to look towards a glorious future with the bright, young, energetic, talented Cantor as David Rosen is.
I have known David for over twenty-five years. He was my student and I considered him to be my Star Student! I have seen Cantor Rosen grow into a skilful, mature Hazzan. I have witnessed how he excels in every aspect as a true SHLIACH TZIBUR, a compassionate and sensitive Emissary of the Jewish People.
I know David will succeed and will be beloved by all. I am more than excited to welcome David personally into our congregation. I am also so grateful for and impressed by the members of the Search Committee for their depth and clarity in making this incredible choice.
Let us cheer and wholeheartedly welcome Cantor David Rosen into our midst!
Your loyal Beny
My dear congregation,
I just came back from the most incredible experience in Hannover, Germany. The European Cantorial Association, hosted at the magnificent Villa Seligmann, the House of Jewish Music, the Hannover Orthodox Synagogue, and by the Jewish Communities of Lower Saxony. Cantors of all denominations participated in the high-level programs of Academic nature, reflections, and performances. I had the privilege to present two lectures and sing in three concerts. It was an honour to be welcomed with open arms by the community, both Jewish and local, politicians, and church leaders.
We marked International Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27, 2020) with the most incredible Symphonic concert, “THE NIGHT PROJECT.” This astounding concert, attended by 3500 people, featured the music (of the greatest Cantor ever-living) LEIB GLANZ, orchestrated by our ingenious Cantor, Cantor Joseph Ness, and included a dramatic reading from Elie Wiesel’s book, Night by the most celebrated German Actor, Sebastian Koch.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, and were called back to a cheering audience for a full ten minutes!
During the convention, I was interviewed by NDR the TV of lower Saxony and told the story and fate of my family. We spoke and visited the sight of the glorious Synagogue built in 1876 and burnt in Kristallnacht, November 1938. This broadcast reaches around 40 million people!
Please enjoy a few links from my experience in Germany.
Musical Heritage Concert Series 2020
Dear Friends and Congregants,
I hope this note finds you well. As I have done for the past 41 years, I am writing to inform you about our upcoming Musical Heritage Concert Series.
This year is a very emotional time for me, as it will be my last year as your Senior Cantor. My retirement in June 2020 is fast approaching. Thereafter, I look forward to being your Cantor Emeritus.
But that day is not today, and the Musical Heritage Committee and I have prepared for you an extraordinary musical program. Over many years, we have presented a wide variety of Jewish musical styles in order to enrich our awareness of our Jewish heritage. Indeed, our mission to widen the horizons of Jewish music for all to enjoy has been met time and time again.
As a token of our appreciation for your support, it is our pleasure to present this series of three wonderful concerts in 2020. Please note that the concerts on Saturday, January 18th and Shabbat Shira, February 7th are free admission, but there is a fee for the accompanying dinners.
The last concert, on Sunday, May 24, 2020, is unique in character and message. It is very meaningful to me because it was the first concert that I presented after my arrival at Holy Blossom Temple in 1979. With the support of Rabbi Harvey Fieldsz’l, we performed The Sacred Service by Ernest Bloch. It is in this spirit that I want to finish this year’s concert series with the same composition that I performed at the start of my tenure as Senior Cantor of this prestigious congregation.
Kindly save these dates:
Journey of Klezmer to Jazz, Saturday, January 18, 2020, 7:30 PM (Mincha Service at 5:00 PM)
Shabbat Shira, Friday, February 7, 2020, 6 PM and Saturday, February 8, 2020, 10:30 AM
In Song and Praise, Final Concert, Sunday, May 24, 2020, 7:30 PM
I am looking forward to seeing you throughout my final season. I am confident that you will be moved by the sounds of these magnificent masterpieces.
With warm greetings and blessings for another awesome musical season.
Harmoniously, your Cantor,
Cantor Benjamin Z. Maissner
Geiger College: Berlin, June 2019
Cantor Beny Maissner: My Cantorial Summer Residence
I was privileged and honoured to be invited to join the faculty of the Rabbinical / Cantorial for this last Summer semester. What a great and rewarding experience it was to share, teach, mentor, and guide a new generation of promising Cantors.
I met some fabulous serious students who are seeking in-depth Judaic Hebraic and cantorial tradition from Est and west Europe. My task was not easy for the priorities and needs of the slowly awakening Jewish communities in Europe are so different from our style and practice. The heavy load of the hours and material to cover was enormous but all the students were seriously engaged and eager to learn in-depth.
The Focus was Yom Kippur repertoire and its delivery.
I met eight students of various levels and coached them individually, as well as in the master Classes I conducted. The aim was to prepare the students for a closing summer recital of what they absorbed in the short time I spent with them.
The results were rewarding and satisfactory to the teaching faculty and I was so proud of all the students.
I waved the FLAG OF HOLY BLOSSOM TEMPLE and exposed them to what our musical tradition has risen to over the years.
The most important achievement was my personal bonding with the students and guiding them onto the right path of Modernity mixed with the rich European tradition going back to Medieval times.
Both the administration and the faculty were so kind and appreciative. I was happy to meet and spend time with my new friend, Cantor Isidoro Abramowitz, a graduate of the college, now the dean of the Cantorial program. Isidoro is a talented and magnificent Singer and Cantor serving a very unique musical congregation, which only and elusively sing and pray the great musical tradition of Louis Lewandowski the celebrated German Jewish composer.
The Geiger college is a recognized part of the prestigious Potsdam university. In fact, the college will be residing in Potsdam within a year or so.
I have already been invited back in the not too long future and am extremely proud of it.
It was an amazing experience for me to share with others what is so passionate and close to my heart.