Archive for the ‘Baby Namings’ Category

I just looked at the date, and realized we are halfway through March, and I haven’t even finished blogging about February, yet.  March has already been a very fun month for me, as I just got back from spending a few personal days in Atlanta, and had such a great time.

When I came back from the Puerto Rico wedding, I quickly got ready for Leah’s Bat Mitzvah.  I have a friend who tutors children, and they were looking for someone to officiate the ceremony, so we worked as a team together.  It was really enjoyable, and the family was so much fun to work with.  The Bat Mitzvah was held on a Saturday evening, so we held a Havdalah service, which seems to be super popular these days.  It happens to be my favorite service, because I love including the contemporary Havdalah music and including everyone in the song and ceremony.  What great fun!  Leah did a great job, as did her sister, who also chanted from the Torah.  It was a beautiful night!

Just before the Bat Mitzvah, I spent a few personal days in Orlando as well, and saw my newest favorite musician, Matt Shenk.  He’s so awesome, and his music is at the top of my “most played” list in Itunes.  He is a master guitar player, has an awesome voice, and his words are so relatable!  Check him out at www.mattshenk.com.

Last week, I had the pleasure of officiating the wedding of Micha and Sam.  I don’t have pics yet, so I am saving the blog story, but they were so adorable, I just had to mention them here.  One of the youngest couples I have married, they are also one of the most mature.  I can’t wait for them to get back from their honeymoon, so I can hear how their first week of marriage went!

This weekend, I am performing the wedding for Annie & Greg. Annie is working incredibly hard at pulling off her wedding on a tight budget, and I think she has done an amazing job.  I can’t wait to see the result of her efforts.

I am also performing a Baby Naming for Mason and Emily, Sage and Jonah.  This is the couple I wrote about last week, titled, A Baby Naming, For all the right reasons…I can’t wait for this beautiful event, and to meet these two lucky little boys.

Trevor is home, and in between, I’m going to try to spend as much time as possible with him.  It’s a busy month, and I am so blessed to be so busy!  And I count those blessings, every day…




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I have a rich and varied background that brings me to where I am today. As a child growing up in a Conservative Jewish community, I was mesmerized and transformed by the musical experience of singing in synagogue with my family. Our Jewish holiday celebrations and lifecycle events became the most special moments in my life.
Brought up in a musical home, I followed my passion to sing while growing up, however, never realized how I could combine my love for music with work that would inspire and transform me.

In 1987, I met and married the man I fell in love with, however, much to the chagrin of my family, he was not Jewish. I had no idea how I was going to raise a family, much less an Interfaith family, but I had faith that I knew would carry us through. As our family grew, so did our need for spiritual worship, and as a parent – a JEWISH parent, I felt drawn to the worship experience I grew up with.
I was immediately faced with the harsh reality that Interfaith couples and families are not welcomed with open arms by the traditional houses of worship that exist today. Sure, even the most liberal synagogues open their arms in terms of membership, but when asked to actually facilitate the lifecycle events of the Interfaith family – now THAT was a different story…

I raised my children in our Reform synagogue in Weston, Florida, and served as a faithful congregant for years. But over the years, I have found that almost 80% of South Florida’s Jewish community is unaffiliated, and therefore unable to participate in a Jewish communal experience. They have little or no access to warm, meaningful Jewish lifecycle events. One cannot be Jewish alone, and while many people believe that synagogue life is the best way to be part of a Jewish community, not everyone feels the same way, I hope to serve as a connection for unaffiliated families to their Jewish roots and community.

In 2004, I met Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, the founder of the All Faith Seminary in New York. Rabbi Gelberman is the most amazing man, almost 98 years old, and sharp as a tack. My friend, my mentor, and my inspiration, Jerry Cohn introduced me to Rabbi G. That day, having lunch, in a Chinese Restaurant in Tamarac, Florida, he asked me to chant Debbie Friedman’s “Mishebeirach”. That moment was the most transforming moment of my life, as he asked me to found a Cantorial program with his seminary, and of course, through years of study with him and his staff, I became the first student to achieve a Cantorial S’micha, through the New Seminary.

Now, remember – I am still and will always be a congregant in my own synagogue. My worship needs are completely fulfilled by the Jewish community I am part of. But today’s social environment has created challenges that the Jewish community is unable to provide solutions to. For whatever reasons, 80% of our Jewish population does not, nor will ever, belong to a synagogue. And because of that, it’s possible that unlimited future Jewish generations could be lost forever, unless someone works to help these families maintain their Jewish connection.

So in 2004, I chose to become – Your Personal Cantor. A spiritual leader, a coach, a singer, a cheerleader, and a teacher. All in one. Yes, I believe that to be Jewish, you must be part of a Jewish community, but as our society expands, so does that Jewish community, and if I help you connect to your Jewish roots, then the likelihood of your future connection remains strong. I am committed to helping families, couples, and individuals remain connected to Judaism, in any way possible.

Call me today to find out how I can help you.. B’Shalom. Debbi

Email: Debbi@mypersonalcantor.com or call 954-646-1326

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I can’t believe it has been an entire month since I posted last, and I can’t believe how much has taken place since then as well. The wedding experience in Mexico was amazing, and as soon as I got home, it was time to prepare for Trevor’s 18th birthday on the 22nd. And then, of course, it was time for Christmas, and for the first time in 20 years, I was faced with spending Christmas morning alone. Amazingly, a few days before, my friend and mentor Jerry called me to see if I could do a baby naming for his friend, Janet Shapiro, on Christmas morning. “Absolutely!” I said, and called his friend to begin planning the ceremony. It was a small family gathering for his friend’s son and daughter-in-law, and their two boys. They had been circumcised at birth, but never had their naming, so we created a beautiful service that honored the family, and the history of the boys’ names.

The family was lovely. They welcomed me into their home, and were so grateful that I could accommodate them on such short notice, with such a nice ceremony. Little did they know, I really appreciated them even more than they appreciated me on that day, because being without my kids and the “other side” of my family, whom I had celebrated with for so many years made for somewhat of a sad day.

It was time to break the tradition. Wayne and I have worked hard over the years to save our kids from feeling the effects of a divorced home. We worked hard to carry on traditions without changing how we observed or celebrated, and have always celebrated together. But, being that the kids each turned 18 and 20 this year, and our need for each of us to begin to claim independent lives, it was time to make the break. In the end, I’m glad we did, and I’m looking forward to creating new traditions for myself. In the meantime, having families to celebrate lifecycle events with, like the Shapiro’s, makes me know I am continuing on the right path.

Little did I know at the time that my lifecycle practice was about to diversify…Stay tuned…

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