Wednesday, June 17, 2009


First of all, thanks for sticking by me despite my lack of posting as of's been nice to take a little hiatus from blogging and adjust back to life as a normal person in a normal city. God I love St Louis...and no, I don't miss NYC one bit. School and people, yes. NYC, not one single tiny little minuscule bit.

A month ago (holy cow, it was a month ago!) my congregation in South Bend threw a lovely going away concert/benefit/reception in my honor. I was the "star" performer, along with congregant Dr. Steve Gerber on piano, and put on a concert of some of the Jewish music I've learned this year along with some favorites from the world of musical theater. The concert was a smashing success, with a great audience--including my mom and brother, who drove all the way from St Louis to surprise me! It was a wonderful way to say thank you to this congregation that's held me so lovingly all year long, and to say "L'hitraot"--not an official goodbye, but more like a "see you soon."

Towards the end of the concert, Rabbi Siroka presented me with a beautiful gift from the congregation and bestowed t'filat haderech, the traveler's prayer, upon me. After the concert the amazing Jewish mama's of the congregation threw a beautiful reception, complete with cake, flowers and punch, in my honor. It was the sweetest way to say goodbye to so many of my South Bend friends and family.

Huge thanks to those who worked so hard to plan such a lovely evening. I will remember it, and my time as Student Cantor at Temple Beth-El, for a very long time.

As excited as I am to be moving on and trying something new for the coming school year, I have to admit that I'm a little sad that I won't be returning to this congregation. I learned so many invaluable lessons on gimilut chasadim (deeds of kindness) and hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests) that I will carry with me throughout my career and my life as a Jew. I have loved hearing this congregation as they've sung and prayed with me, and I will miss their beautiful voices and sweet spirit for a long time to come. Thank you all for welcoming me so lovingly, and for allowing me to pray with you. It was truly an honor and a pleasure to serve as Student Cantor.

I leave you with pictures and the promise of a real post about my summer break thus far in the near future.

My wonderful accompanist, Steve, and I. Check out the flowers on the piano...did we coordinate that well or what?!

My friend and mentor, Rabbi Eric Siroka

My South Bend "Mama" extraordinare, Posi

My family, right after they surprised me. When I saw them walking through the door, I literally screamed...I was completely surprised!

Eric bestowing T'filat Haderech upon me.

The delicious cake made for the an amazingly talented congregant, no less!