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September 21, 1990 - Image 91

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-09-21

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they overlook the built-in
drawbacks, such as hearing
sermons from someone un-
familiar with the congrega-
tion.
"The congregations used
• to having students are very
c open- minded," said 25-year-
old Paula Feldstein, who did
her first High Holiday ser-
vices last year in
Southington, Conn.
1
But it is easy to make
small blunders when coming
into a community, such - as
when she preached to the
Southington congregation
about the need to help the
homeless, not knowing that
they were formally involved
, in a soup kitchen project.
II In a previous year, she
said, "a rabbi gave a sermon
1 on AIDS, and they thought it
was not appropriate because
of the children."
Raphael Kanter, 31, a stu-
dent at the Jewish Theologi-
cal Seminary, said that ex-
perience as a High Holidays
rabbi in small communities
has taught him that it is best
- not to 'preach at" a con-
gregation, whose only con-
tact with organized Judaism
1 1 may be the High Holiday
services he is leading.
"It shouldn't be so much
trying to push people as it is
I transmitting to them your
--- feeling about the tradition
and trying to give them
some of that excitement," he
said.
A less philosophical but no
less important issue for the
student rabbis is the extent
of their temporary congrega-
tion's level of Hebrew lit-
eracy and which tunes they
L know for chanting the
prayers.
Efrat Zarren, a 26-year-old
HUC student who has serv-
• ed High Holiday congrega-
tions in Redding, Calif., and
Battle Creek, Mich., said she
opts for the most traditional
tunes, figuring that the
greatest number of people
will know them.
• "Sometimes, I hum over
• the phone to the president of
the congregation and ask if
the tune sounds familiar,"
she said.
1 While rabbis in larger
congregations can rely on
cantors for singing support,
most of the rabbinic students
have little choice but to
manage musically as best
they can.
"Almost every rabbinic
student doing this will be
forced to sing," said Mr.
Zarren. "Anyone who
doesn't have a very good

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

91

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