Yesterday, I had my first adventure at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was excited to be there for the first time, even if it was with my bible history class, looking at artifacts from the Assyrian period (would you like to know how exciting our 90 minutes was not?) I had a little while to peruse the museum afterwards, so I went up to the rooftop garden to see the views and the sculptures. There is an exhibit right now featuring a few pieces from contemporary sculptor Jeff Koons. I loved the balloon animals! I'm excited to go back there whenever people come to visit--it will take more than a few visits to see the entire collection and take advantage of all that the museum has to offer.
One of the balloon animal sculptures by Jeff KoonsAfter the Met, I went to a job interview at Temple Shaaray Tefila in Manhattan. On Tuesday afternoon I was telling a new friend who is a 4th year student that I was looking for a teaching job, and he forwarded my name and contact info to the cantor in case she had openings for B'nai Mitzvah tutors. Literally 15 minutes after he sent the email, the cantor called me to ask if I had any interest in teaching a blessings class to B'nai Mitzvah age students. It's not exactly what I had in mind, but it's a job in my field that pays. Anyways, I went to interview with the cantor on Friday, and was given the job on the spot. We're still working out particulars and such, but I'll have a job co-teaching the class with their newest rabbi who was ordained from HUC-NYC last year starting this Thursday. I'll be prepping the students to lead their B'nai Mitzvah services, which is a huge responsibility, but also a huge honor. And it pays well (let's not forget that!) I'm excited to have a job with this large, well-known Reform congregation that isn't too far out of my way after school.
Classes are still going well, and I enjoy several (but not all) of them. My cantorial classes are by far my favorite, especially the ones that focus on repertoire. My traditional nusach class is fantastic, with the wonderful Cantor Faith Steinsnyder. We've been working on traditional melodies of Adolph Katchko, which we're required to perform out of the prayerbook--without music--every week. I also love my Reform workshop, where we study the development of the repertoire in the Reform movement. We are required to sing in that class every time we meet (on Mondays and Wednesdays) and have so far worked on melodies from Helfman (Barechu), Weiner (L'cha Dodi--crazy, but beautiful), and a few "trad" melodies. I love the feedback given to us by our professor Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller in the class, and love talking about the music. The music of the Reform movement--everything from the classical composers to the happy-clappy camp music--really feeds my soul and my love forJewish music. I also really love choir, which is led by the amazing Joyce Rosenzweig, a virtuoso (and I mean virtuoso) pianist and wonderful choir director.
It's exciting to work with these people in such close contact. I love that there are only 5 of us in my class and we have time for lots of personal attention and direction. I love that the older cantorial students have done all of this before and warn us about what's to come and give us helpful hints on how to survive the tough moments. I love that there are 42 cantorial students in the entire building. To give you some comparison, there are 42 rabbinical students just in the 2012 class. It's kind of great to be a part of something small that makes such a huge impact on the Jewish world.
How's that for positives? Lots of them! I'm trying to concentrate on these things, these amazing moments when I remember why I'm living in this crazy city instead of Cincinnati (not that Cincy's a bad place...) I'm trying to focus on the reasons I'm here and how lucky I am to be fulfilling my dreams, even when they come with their fair share of hardships.
It's all worth it. And that's not just lip service. Even though I continue to repeat my mantra on a regular basis...