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236 Kane Street / Brooklyn, NY 11231 / 718 875-1550

Chazan Search Process FAQ

New Musical Leader Position at Kane Street Synagogue:
Frequently Asked Questions — March 2019

We already have a Music Director. How does this new position differ from that one?

This is an expanded part-time position that will retain many responsibilities of the current Music Director (prayer leader, coach for the lay leaders) and add many others. Recognizing that our synagogue has a unique lay-led tradition, this new position will work with our congregation towards a service that is more engaging and spirited. This leader will lead Friday evening and Saturday morning services about twice a month in order to model best practices for prayer engagement, teach and reinforce inspiring new melodies, and establish consistency and predictable timing. The goal of this increased consistency is to make the service more accessible for those less familiar with it.

Judith Berkson (our current Music Director) has applied for the new position, and we are introducing the congregation to other applicants as part of the process.

How will the new position enhance the experience of the children in our community and the curriculum in the Hebrew School?

In collaboration with Rabbi Val Lieber, our Director of Education and Family Programming, this musical leader will supervise the liturgical music program of the Hebrew School and advise our Shabbat youth services, creating more synergy between Youth and Main Sanctuary services. This position will connect with children and their parents, from Kane Street Kids to Hebrew School and day school through post-B’nei Mitzvah teenagers, to create more integration, unite our community, and smooth the transition into our Main Sanctuary service.

Why are we considering this expansion now?

We’re at a critical moment in our synagogue’s history, with a large and vibrant Hebrew school and a big influx of new Jewish families into the local area, and we need to evolve to meet the needs of our community today. During recent community-wide conversations about ritual engagement, members have talked about their desire to build bridges between different communities within our shul, especially when it comes to Shabbat services. We need to actively work to integrate the various groups to ensure the health and growth of our community.

But we’ve always had prayer learning opportunities, such as Learner’s Services, Hebrew classes, and knowledgeable members willing to guide newcomers. Isn’t that enough?

These educational opportunities are very important, and we will continue to offer them. But they don’t address the desire, which many members have expressed, to have a Sanctuary service that is more inclusive and engaging. By hiring a new leader, we aspire to retain the aspects of our service that we cherish as a community while making it more accessible to people of many different backgrounds and levels of prayer literacy.

How will this new leader interact with the lay prayer leadership? Who will lead services and when?

This new position will strengthen, not replace, our lay leadership, by continuing to provide expert guidance to our lay prayer leaders, both in group and individual training sessions. About half of the Friday night and Shabbat morning services will be led by the professional leader and about half by lay leaders. This new leader will lead the same parts of the High Holiday services that have traditionally been led by professionals in our shul.

Do you have other questions? Please contact [email protected] and a committee member will contact you.

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