Temple Shalom Welcomes Ze’evi Tovlev As Our New Cantor

Dear Temple Shalom Family,

Please join me in welcoming Ze’evi Tovlev (they/them) as Temple Shalom’s new cantor as of July 1, 2023.

Following a comprehensive search that identified many talented and inspiring candidates from around North America, the Music Leadership Search Committee recommended that the Board of Trustees extend an offer to Erev Cantor Ze’evi Tovlev to be Temple Shalom’s new cantor (Erev means soon-to-be). I am delighted to report that the Board adopted the Search Committee’s recommendation and that Erev Cantor Tovlev will soon join our clergy team. In presenting the recommendation, the Search Committee felt Erev Cantor Tovlev to be beshert (meant-to-be) for our congregation.

Erev Cantor Tovlev is originally from Newton, Massachusetts. They earned their Bachelor of Arts in Music from Bennington College, a Master in Jewish Education (the first cantorial student to do so) from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), and a Master in Sacred Music from HUC-JIR’s Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. Erev Cantor Tovlev will be ordained in the spring at which time they will officially take on the title of “cantor.”

Erev Cantor Tovlev has held student cantor and cantorial intern positions at congregations in New York and Los Angeles, as well as other music and education positions. They have written their own music and have been deeply involved with efforts to develop gender non-binary liturgy in Hebrew. Their commitment to create a sense of belonging is central to the vision of their cantorate. One of Erev Cantor Tovlev’s references described them as among the gedolei hador (the greatest of their generation). Through deep warmth, musicality, and intellect, Erev Cantor Tovlev drew in members of the Search Committee and our community, supporting this glowing recommendation.

As the Search Committee considered the needs for our congregation and we moved through the hiring process, it became clear that the desire to give even greater strength to our entire music program, provide for the pastoral needs of our community, and strengthen our educational offerings would benefit from choosing an ordained cantor. As our new cantor, Erev Cantor Tovlev will strengthen our entire music program, partner with Rabbi Rachel Ackerman to provide pastoral care, offer more educational programs, lead services, officiate at lifecycle events, lead our choirs, and much more. I am thrilled for Erev Cantor Tovlev and their spouse, Erev Rabbi Ariel Tovlev (he/him or they/them) to join our congregation. They in turn look forward to being part of the Temple Shalom community. For more information about Erev Cantor Tovlev and to listen to their prayer leadership, I encourage you to visit Erev Cantor Tovlev’s website.

Please join me in thanking all of those who participated in the search process, especially our Search Committee led by co-chairs Debbie Szyfer and Michelle Windmueller, and committee members Jeanne Goldberg, Jack Lowe, Andy Mark, Karen Miller, Megan Parker, Michael Schwartz, Cheryl Terwillger, and Rabbi Ackerman.

As a show of gratitude to the Search Committee for their exceptional work and to celebrate the addition of Erev Cantor Tovlev as the newest member of our clergy team, please join my family in making a celebratory donation to the Temple by clicking on Temple Shalom Donate and selecting Member Donations and “General Fund” in the drop down menu. Your contribution will enable us to continue to thrive and meet the needs of the Temple community.

This is an exciting and transformational moment for our congregation. We are fortunate that Erev Cantor Tovlev will allow our congregation to flourish with their voice and spiritual presence. I hope that you will join me in providing a very warm welcome to them in the near future.

L’Shalom (In Peace),

Jeff Steger (he/him)

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