The Best Of All Worlds

I am one of those fortunate people that enjoys my job.  Why?

Depending on the day, I get to work with people of all ages from Early Childhood through Seniors.  For example, I wake up on Friday mornings, co-conduct Tot Shabbat at Temple Beth Orr; go to Cambridge Preschool and teach two Jewish Tradition classes which includes Tot Shabbats; go to Harbor Chase Memory Care Facility and conduct a mini musical Shabbat Service; twice a month, go to Five Star Premier Residences of Pompano Beach (I condcuted High Ho++liday Services there as well); then I go to the Court At Palm Aire.  I was there two Friday nights a month and holidays.  I will now be there every Friday night.  I am so excited about the new opportunities that have come my way. 

On Tuesdays, I get to work with Early Childhood at Temple Beth Orr and then go to Temple Beth Torah for Religious School working with Primary grades through Tweens and Teens. 

I love it!  I get to sing, play instruments, teach, play, and more!  I get to celebrate Shabbat and holidays with people of all ages!  It keeps me on my toes!

This Sunday I will be at Religious School at Temple Beth Torah, working with the kids, then co-conduct a Sukkot program for people from 21 through 40.  Teaching, singing and story telling.  I was honored I was asked.

I learn from everyone.  When talking about Rosh Hashana with my 4/5 year olds, I asked what are some of the things we do during the holiday which celebrates the birthday of the world?  One of the students said that we give presents to God.  How beautiful!  Then we spoke about what kind of presents we can give like good behavior, performing mitzvot, etc., because God created the world for us.  It became an awesome discussion, with ECC students!  Yes, it is possible!  These little people really do think about things.

I have written about Harbor Chases Memory Care Facility a couple of times, but the longer I am there, the more I see very positive results.  The residents that come to my service are singing more and more.  Sometimes I also have family that may be visiting a parent or other relation coming to the service.  I conducted a Rosh Hashana/Shabbat Service and a mother and her daughter came.  The daughter seemed very upset due to an incident that took place.  I always invite people to clap, tap their feet, even get up and dance.  That day, the mother asked her mother to dance with her.  The daughter broke down in tears while dancing.  It was beautiful!  Those are moments that will forever be a picture in the daughter’s mind.  It will forever be in my mind.  The daughter was singing as well with us and when I blew Shofar…  she was elated as well as the residences.  I still have the husband and wife coming to the service.  They very much look forward to it, especially the husband.  We always say the caregivers, which can include children and spouses, need assistance and attention with the “long goodbye,” alzheimers.  I will be speaking to Harbor Chase about possibly opening up the services to the families of the residences.  It seems to be healing especially at the end when I sing Debbie Friedman’s M’sheberach and another piece called, “Guide My Steps.”  Those are wonderful songs/prayers that assist with healing and asking to feel God’s shelter of peace.  The latter always helps me to picture God’s arms wrapped around me and guide me to where I am suppose to go and what I should be doing, or just feel God’s presence.  The daughter that attended the service had her eyes closed and taking in the words to the music.  Yes it was good for her.  I could not have been there at a better time.  I felt good that I was of some comfort that day.

Last night I did a Sukkot program for Early Childhood and Primary Grades that included a little teaching, singing, shaking, story telling, and then of course sitting and eating in the Sukkah.  It was awesome.  Even the parents and staff participated!  We had fun and that is the way it should be!

My seven year old grandson, Ethan went to services with me at the Court At Palm Aire.  He sat on the Bima and helped me lead doing the Sh’ma, Kidish and Motzei.  Everybody loved him and Ethan asked to go back, so tomorrow night, he is going with me again. 

Well, this is my life and a good one it is! 







About cantorrisa

I am a Cantor, Judaic Studies, and music teacher. I enjoy sharing my knowledge, and help people from young to old love being Jewish. I teach and sing in several synagogues and schools in the area. I officiate all life cycle events and teach students, children and adults, privately for their b'nai mitzvah ceremonies. I also enjoy studying Bible with all faiths either individually or in small groups (chevruta). I conduct Shabbat and High Holiday Services at K'hilat Bayt Shira and Senior Communities in the area. In my spare time, I teach key board and guitar. I am married to a wonderful man, have two children and six grandchildren. My hobbies are writing, playing and listening to music, learning, reading, crocheting and knitting.
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