On Friday, May 4th, Cantor Hawley celebrated his upcoming ordination by leading Shabbat services and delivering a heartfelt and thoughtful D'Var Torah on the subject of life and death. At the oneg that followed, we all celebrated in a special way, as you can see from the pictures below.
“The ordination of cantors is a significant step in the ongoing professionalization of the American Reform Cantorate,” states Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President.
“This issue has been developing for many years,” explains Cantor Bruce Ruben, Ph.D., Director of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. “Officers of the American Conference of Cantors, Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR faculty, the President of HUC-JIR and I formed a committee to implement this change.”
The reasons for changing from investiture to ordination are multifold:
- The term investiture is not recognized by some states as a means of conferring clergy status. Consequently, there have been cantors barred from visiting congregants in prisons and hospitals or, in some cases, barred from performing weddings.
- Cantors have had great difficulty qualifying to serve in the military chaplaincy.
- Cantors now complete an intensive five-year program, comparable to rabbinical training, including a first year of study in Israel and master’s thesis, and are prepared to serve as co-clergy with rabbis.
The contemporary cantor enjoys an expanded professional role as a full-fledged member of the clergy, educator, pastoral counselor, musical director, and composer of new liturgical music.
History in the making, and we at Adas Emuno are proud to be a part of it! It's not the first time we've been a part of Reform Jewish history, and it won't be the last!