Archive for September, 2008

Wow, 8 days with no posts – I know, pretty unacceptable in the blogging world, but until they manufacture a 25th hour to the day, there has just been no way!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year, and convey my intention for you to bring everything you dream of into your lives this year.  For the first time ever, in my life, I am really living my dream, and so it is more important for me than ever to continue to take inventory of what I have accomplished, succeeded and failed at, and what I want to do better.

I also wanted to stress that we cannot ask for anything at all, if we have not appreciated yet what we have in the present.  I know it may sound hokey, but, it seems that every time I write about my appreciations for what has come into my life, more just comes in!  And it seems that when I focus on what I don’t have that I want, more of what I don’t want comes in its place.  So, once again – keep thanking whoever you want to thank for what you have.  Don’t forget to be thankful for crazy things like tires on your car, and elevators, and hair color in a bottle.  It’s the little things that make our lives interesting!

This year, I am asking God to help me find more ways to be a better, deeper, more productive person.  I can’t expect anything more to come to me, without finding more ways to give.  I’ve written about it before, but I really would like to become more involved in a charity that is meaningful in my life, and that I can make a difference in.  I’m not sure what that is, but I intend to find it this year.

I’m incredibly excited (but a little nervous) about my Family Service at Temple Beth David in WPB.  I’m so lucky to have found this amazing little Conservative synagogue up there with the coolest Rock and Roll Rabbi (Rabbi Michael Singer), the sweetest little Cantor (Cantor Jennifer Kanarek), and the most amazing Education Director (Rose Rosenkrantz) I have ever met.  They are warm, loving, supportive, empowering, and creative.  They have welcomed me into their world, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.  They have been so generous to me already, by offering my family space in the services, and inviting me to dinner on Erev RH.  I can’t wait to celebrate with them, and bring a warm, loving, exciting presence to their Family Service.

So, over the next few days, I will be vocalizing, practicing my guitar and warming up my fingers, meditating and getting focused for the upcoming services.  Of course, I still have a new Sunday School program starting up this weekend, and weddings to write and plan, but, there just won’t be much spare time, so I may not be back until after RH.

In the meantime, L’shanah Tova.  May God inscribe you in the Book of Life.  May you achieve everything you dream of, and may you be blessed with a good year, an abundant year, a year of peace, and a year of blessings.



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Shabbat – The busier I get, the more I crave a Shabbat day to retreat from the world, reflect, meditate, and pray.  I remember sitting at the windmill park next to the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.  A true Shabbat – just me, fresh air, no traffic, no chaos, no radios, phones, or tv’s.  Some days, I just wish I could transport myself back there.

“Not this weekend”, the chilling voice of reality shouts.  SO much to do, and the weekend just got busier.

I had planned a quiet day, but it will now start at 6am with a quick workout, and then a shlep all the way out to Weston Volvo to pick up my car.  (Very thankful that it is still under warranty, by the way)  After that, a newly scheduled 9am call with the daughter of the 91 year old man I am doing a funeral for tomorrow.  I was thankful that it was someone who had lived a full life, but then I learrned that he was the father of 3 daughters, and I immediately thought of my Dad.  I’m so lucky he’s young, and healthy, and that the thought of that kind of sadness in my family is so far off, but, it makes me sad to think about, nonetheless.  But when I spoke with one of his daughters, she was so excited that I would be doing the funeral.  She felt my personality through the phone, and was happy that there would be a woman to eulogize him, and to pray for him.  The theme of strong women in their family was their mantra, and he loved his girls.  I’m proud to be able to be a source of comfort to them in their time of need.

Then, I will have to get busy and finish the wedding ceremony for Saturday, because early Saturday morning, I will attend Mindy’s daughter’s Bat Mitzvah (as a guest) for just long enough to hear Emily chant her Torah & Haftorah portion, because then, I will be in a car headed for Orlando, to do the wedding of Michelle & Brandon.

This is a very cute couple.  Their years are young, but their heads are wise.  They have a very mature relationship.  They work hard to live a proper life, with incredibly strong family values.  I cannot wait to meet them.

Then – with a little luck, I’m going to try to see the kids, somehow, if they have time for their Mom.  I miss them soooo much this week.  We might even go do something fun in Orlando.  Or – they will be too busy, and I’ll just head home to get a head start on more High Holiday prep.

Speaking of which – the plans have changed for High Holidays – I’ve decided to work exclusively this year with Temple Beth David in West Palm Beach.  I fell in love with the Rabbi & Cantor, and I hope I have found a new little home there, because I just love the energy they bring to their work.  I’ll write more next week about the decision, but I know in my heart it was the right one.

Now, off to prepare for a very busy weekend.  Shabbat Shalom.  (Truly – may you have peace)

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I was sitting here, thinking of all the overdue posts I have to write about, and all the organizing and task lists that need to be handled, and I realized that before I did one more thing, I wanted to reflect on what has made this month incredibly amazing.  Because, without the events of this past month, next month, and the months after just wouldn’t be possible. I think it’s soooo important to say thanks – even for the small things, like someone stopping by and saying hello on my blog.

First, my Mom had surgery last Thursday on her back, and I’m happy to say she came through with flying colors.  It’s been a long time (Thank You, G-d) since anyone in my family has had any health concern at all, so this one was scary, but she’s on the road to recovery.  I’m so thankful that I have both of my parents, and they are in great health.  The alternative is unthinkable, so I’d like to keep this status quo for a LONG time.

Second, I think Lauren and Trevor are beginning to settle in to this year, so I’d like to say THANKS to them both, for being great grown up children, and spreading their wings.

I have some great new weddings that I am planning – and I am so thankful that the calendar is filling up daily!  I looked at my spreadsheet yesterday, and every month is just jam packed with weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and lots of other great events.  I’m co-officiating a Jewish/Catholic wedding in Gainesville in May, a 2nd wedding for a lovely couple right here at home, the wedding of a good friend’s son, and lots of upcoming events in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and The Bahamas.  (Doesn’t anyone want to hire a Cantor on the Amalfi Coast in Italy????)

On the Bar Mitzvah front, I’m going to do the Bar Mitzvah for my friend Jacey’s brother in law in Chicago, a Bar Mitzvah on a yacht, and then, of course, there is Andrew’s(Spencer’s brother) Bar Mitzvah next year, on the Majesty of the Seas.  I recently began working with 2 new families in Boca, and I’m alternating their tutoring sessions with live & video chat formats.  So, I’m really thankful for web technology that lets me do this, from my office.

Along the way, I’ve met many incredible people out here on the internet, and I’m also incredibly thankful for them, and wish them the best of luck.  The top few are Roz, from http://www.sayitwithecards.com.  She makes beautiful e-cards for Jewish holidays.  Then, there’s Alex Klein (Are you out there Alex??) who I feel very connected to through our writings, in the gulf coast.  I hope he has made his way online after Hurricane Ike, and I have been thinking about him daily.  Tomorrow, I  am meeting Lisa, from Torah Tunes, who just happens to be in South Florida visiting from the North.  Today, I heard from 2 new friends – Audrey & Rob.  Audrey just dropped by and said hello, and I can’t believe how happy that made me.  Just to hear from someone, who took the time to make me feel special.  THANKS.  And Rob – with his very cool Mitzvah Art.  I sent a link to his website around to my most special contacts, and I think I made him feel special too.  OH – And then there is Jenni – She was soooo funny when she sent me an email the other day, pleading with me to book a date for her (sight unseen) and telling me that I fit right in to her family so well, I was going to become a member!  I cannot wait for that wedding!!! (Mexico, May 09)  I actually DO feel like part of the family already!

I’m so thankful for all the great contacts I’ve made, the word of mouth referrals that so many of my past clients have offered, and the work I get to do with close friends, because – that is the greatest compliment of all.  Thanks to everyone who supports me, who has been my greatest champions and cheerleaders, and for those who love me the most.  Those of us whose job it is to give from our hearts, cannot possibly continue to give without the love and support of those around us, and I am so lucky to receive so much love from my closest friends and family.  I am so excited about the coming months, and the opportunities ahead of me.  I am so thankful for my new clients, and my new friends, and I am so amazed at how the universe brings us just the right things, and just the right time, when we have faith it is so.


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I’m cruisin!

Hi everyone!

I’m so excited to say that we already have reservations for High Holidays!  WOOHOO!

I’m also getting on a cruise ship, and will be pretty out of touch.  I’m kind of freaking out about being unplugged, but I’ll do my best.  I will be back on Monday – so please don’t panic if you don’t hear from me.

Everyone on the East Coast – prayers for you and I hope you avoid all hurricanes & tropical storms.

Prayers for my Mom – who just had surgery and is in the hospital until Monday.  Love you Mom!

Prayers for all for the upcoming New Year – Prayers for traveling angels, and Prayers for peace and love.

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Jackie Olenick, Leon’s wife (and my all time favorite Judaic artist on earth) put this beautiful invitation together.  Seats can be reserved with your $72 donation through Paypal – to debbi@mypersonalcantor.com
Please call me at 954-646-1326 if you have questions.
High Holiday Invite

High Holiday Invite

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Tonight, Leon & Jackie and I joined Karen Modell from The Friends Meeting House in Lake Worth for dinner, and a tour of the house.  It is a quaint house right off 10th Ave N & I-95, and it is the perfect space for our High Holiday service.

We are going to hold a full service, including Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah morning, Erev Yom Kippur, Yom Kippur, N’Eilah, and a light break fast – all for the amazingly reasonable price of $72 per person, not including donations.  Leon is a wonderful Rabbi who cuts through all of the ego stuff, and gets right down to the meaning of worship.  Have you grown tired of condescending Rabbis who yell at you on the pulpit?  Are you over the fashion show that makes you feel like you’re wearing last years sale items?  Have you felt like your worship experience is parallel to a used car sales pitch?

We won’t have any of that.  Not if we can help it.  We don’t care what you wear.  We don’t care what you have (or don’t have)  We really mean that.  The only thing that is limited is space, so it’s first come first serve.  We do have to pay for the house, for advertising, and for the food items for break-fast, so of course, donations are gratefully accepted, but not required.  If you want a loving, warm, and spiritual place to pray, this is it!  We don’t even care if you speak Hebrew.  Come and sit for an hour – and just contemplate the year you left behind, and the year you wish to have for yourself.  That’s all that is required.

I’m so excited to do something with meaning.  Yes, I loved the experience of standing in front of my congregation in years past, especially my solos and my 20 seconds of fame, but this is so much more worthwhile.  Even if there are 20 people in our congregation, if those 20 people are praying their kishkes out, then it was worth the trip!

So, I’m putting it out there, and I have full intention of filling the room with passionate, spiritual folks like me, who just want to get a little closer to Hashem this month.  Won’t you join me?

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Well, it looks like we are getting closer to a plan, and while tomorrow should finalize the plans, I am so excited, I wanted to put out the word right away.  Hopefully, I won’t jinx anything!

Rabbi Leon Olenick and I are going to offer a free High Holiday service in Lake Worth.  We both agree that today’s unaffiliated community wants something that is unrestrictive, open, welcoming, warm, and friendly.   We have decided to create a space that matches that exact description.  This is NOT your grandfather’s High Holiday service!  Be prepared!  We want to bring the unaffiliated community in Palm Beach County an opportunity to worship, daven, reflect, and pray without feeling judged, compared, or measured in any way.  (Hmmm, sounds kind of good to me – I have yet to find that anywhere down here, so I’m pretty excited!)

I recently put a survey out on the internet, asking people “Do you consider yourself to lean towards being more religious – or spiritual in your worship practices”.  Do you know that so far, I am up to 120 responses, and 98% of them say they are more spiritual than they are religious.  I take this to mean that we want more of a connection, and a pathway to communicating with G-d, rather than a dogmatic approach to fearing him.  Wouldn’t we all want more of a relationship with G-d, if we could imagine having a mutually rewarding experience?  Well, this is what I intend to create in my service.  G-d should be SO easy to reach, and sometimes, I feel our Jewish religious services make people feel less and less connected, rather than more.  If G-d were easily accessible, we would all be latching on!

Well, please consider joining me, for our High Holiday service.  I believe we are going to be holding our service at the Friends Meeting House, at 823 N. A Street, in Lake Worth.  We only have 85 spots total, and several people have already committed, so please let me know if you are interested in attending.  I promise, it will be worth the price!  🙂

Shalom, and L’shanah Tovah,

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