Monday, October 04, 2010

Odd occurrences at our local synagogue

I can understand why the president, seeking to relieve my husband (who was already "booked" for P'sukei D'Zimrah/Introductory Psalms and Prayers and Minchah/Afternoon Service), hired Cantor J. for Shacharit/Morning Service on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur--she used to be a member of our congregation before she earned her cantorial degree, so even our traditional-minded congregants don't mind that she's a she. Besides, she's between jobs, like half the cantorial world, so it was a nice thing to do.

How a good friend of hers (and ours--we know her from Israeli folk dancing), also a female cantor who's between jobs, got hired to liven up Sukkot in our absence is somewhat more difficult to figure out. We were also surprised that Cantor J. was hired to lead Musaf (including some nice English readings about our Mothers and their connection to water, interspersed among the traditional Hebrew, in Tefillat Geshem/Prayer for Rain), and that Cantor S. was hired for Simchat Torah and for Shacharit and a D'var Torah/Torah discussion on Shabbat B'reishit.

I asked my husband why he thought that the same anti-egalitarians who'd been refusing to allow women to have aliyot (except on Simchat Torah) for longer than the roughly 25 years that we've been members have no problem with female cantors, all of a sudden. He replied that he thinks the congregants respect the female cantors' professionalism, but don't wish to accord similar privileges to us ordinary Janes. That's as good (or bad) an explanation as any.


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