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Upcoming Changes to Music at Temple Shalom and Next Steps

Dear Temple Shalom Families and Friends,

Our Cantorial Soloist Emily Howard Meyer recently informed us that she intends to step down from her current role of Cantorial Soloist and Music Educator at Temple Shalom as of June 30, 2022. As Emily shares, she and her family “are not leaving the congregation. Temple Shalom is our family’s spiritual home and we hope to continue to be active participants in the lifecycle of this community.” Since she shared with us her decision to step down, we have talked with Emily and started planning for a smooth transition. Emily has agreed to stay in her current role until June 30 or until we find a replacement—whichever comes sooner (see below for a discussion of our next steps).

As our Cantorial Soloist and Music Educator, Emily’s voice, energy, and enthusiasm for Judaism and the Temple Shalom community are ever present. In addition to her role in our worship, Emily has been the conductor of Temple Shalom’s three choral groups: Youth Choir, Teen Choir and Shir Shalom Adult Choir. She also has been a religious school music and Hebrew School teacher, one of our B’not/B’nai/Simchat Mitzvah tutors, has created incredible holiday programs for our members and weaving chugim (electives) for our youth, and has been sharing her musical talents with our Early Learning Center students. Through all of these roles, Emily has been a critical part of the Temple Shalom leadership over the past 10 years, and has helped us navigate through several transitions and the pandemic. For this we offer her a profound sense of gratitude for the endless hours, music, creativity, and spiritual presence that she provided.

Emily moves into her next chapter, carrying so much of the experience and support that Temple Shalom has given her. She is on the board of the Women Cantors’ Network, an organization which promotes women clergy and women’s music in Judaism. In addition, Emily is continuing her studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York with the hopes of entering their rabbinic program this Spring, which will culminate with an ordination of Rabbi. She is recording an album and recently became the owner of oySongs.com, a global distributor of Jewish digital audio and sheet music. She also is in the process of starting a small boutique music publishing company called Composer Girl Publications which will launch in a few months. We are fortunate that Emily and her family will remain a part of our community, and we offer Emily our most heartfelt wishes as she continues her professional Jewish journey.

Music Search Committee

Since learning of Emily’s decision, we have had discussions with the Executive Committee, the Board, and Temple member Debbie Szyfer, who has had a vital role in leading efforts to envision music at Temple Shalom and execute our plans, including leadership in the hiring of Student Cantors Lianna Mendelson and Sarina Elenbogen-Siegel.

With Emily’s pending departure, we have started preliminary planning for the future of music at Temple Shalom. A Music Search Committee is being created to lead the process. Debbie Szyfer will serve as Chairperson of the committee.

Subcommittees will have specific tasks, including conducting searches:

  • in the near term, for an interim musical team (for example, Student Cantor, part-time Cantorial Soloist/Music Leader) for July 2022 through June 2023; and
  • in a longer time frame, for a Cantorial Soloist/Worship Leader for July 2023 forward.

In the next few months, the search subcommittees will participate in the Hebrew Union College’s process for Student Cantors for next year. The committee will conduct a search for an interim part time Cantorial Soloist/Music Leader for next year. In the longer term, the committee will be focused on a search for a Cantorial Soloist/Worship Leader to perform numerous duties, such as leading services including the High Holy Days and B’not/B’nai/Simchat Mitzvah, serving as choir director, and working in the religious school.

We look forward to successful searches, a smooth transition, and a continued vibrant and spiritual future for Temple Shalom. We will continue to keep you up to date on the processes of the search committee as we have additional information we can share.

L’Shalom (In Peace),

Jeff Steger, President

Rabbi Rachel Ackerman,Senior Rabbi

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