“Why am I here? It has to do with my love for Jewish culture and language. I had my initial theological training at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho, Nigeria. I studied at the University of Birmingham in England and graduated with a M.Ed. degree. With all my years of training and teaching within theological education, I knew very little about Jewish culture. When I came to the United States, I… Read Article →
“In Berlin, the conversation about what we remember, what we believe in and how we represent that to each other is not only about talking, it is about acting. Nothing could be more powerful than to be standing under a huge menorah on Hanukkah, erected right beneath the Brandenburg Gate in what was once East Berlin. Judaism is the model for this kind of moving and difficult conversation – one… Read Article →
“Although HUC – JIR did not ordain women until the late 1970s, I was fortunate to hear a woman singing in a distinctly cantorial style in 1983. A year later, I became Bat Mitzvah, and sang from the pulpit on several occasions as a newly recognized, Jewish adult. Each Sabbath or holiday during which I led worship, I knew that to communicate G-d’s word through song was a great privilege…. Read Article →
“Dance has played a significant part in my life since the age of six. And like so many other dancers, that meant my Decembers were consumed by ‘The Nutcracker.’ It was a tradition I looked forward to every year. Sure, it’s a ballet associated with Christmas; but that never seemed to compromise my Jewish identity. There weren’t too many other Jewish students in my ballet school, so I loved teaching… Read Article →
“It feels true to me that the cantorate chose me, and not the reverse. I have been propelled forward with great momentum by this calling, beginning with a childhood home imbued with music and the mandate to serve humanity, particularly people in distress.” (Cantor Risa Wallach ’15, Hazzan at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Walnut Creek, Calif.) Learn more about The School of Jewish Music at Hebrew College.
“I’ve played music all my life, but got into the world of fiddling in the 1970s, particularly Scottish music, never tiring of its variety and challenge. I’ve performed and taught throughout the USA, Canada and Scotland, for listening and for many forms of Scottish dancing, including Highland, country, ceilidh, Cape Breton step, and new dances, since my wife is a Highland dancer and choreographer. My music column in Scottish Life magazine… Read Article →
“I had in mind a couple of years ago to have a Friday night service at my temple with the experience of a Sephardic Shabbat. We were seven musicians on the stage in a synagogue on a Friday night—Jews, Muslims and Christians from different parts of the world—some of them are the biggest enemies of Israel. We performed traditional Jewish music that came from the Arab countries together. I never… Read Article →
“This is the second year that I’ve led High Holy Day services at Shir Hadash, a small, liberal congregation which is part of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. It was created in 2003 and serves the non-Orthodox Jewish community of Florence, Italy. It’s just a few blocks from the Great Synagogue where Jinny and I standing. In addition to delivering my sermons in Italian, I incorporate musical selections from… Read Article →