u ng a! buv Aq s
a e Otam.
formation of a Boca-based Kidz
Klez Band, under the direction of
"The kids here have learned
so much',' Cantor Dubov said.
"Jewish music has gone into
their souls and their futures. And
that's part of what being a cantor
"It is part of what I have loved
during my 10 years' being a spiri-
tual leader in this community. I
have loved everything at Chaye
Olam and am leaving with no
Chaye Olam closes its doors
with departure of Cantor Dubov.
Shelli Liebman Dorfman
fter four years' of
building a new con-
the announced departure of
Congregation Chaye Olam's
Cantor Stephen Dubov spurred
members to close the doors of
their Bloomfield Township syna-
gogue and move on.
"My wish was for them to
continue on together," said
Cantor Dubov, who will begin
July 1 as cantor of Temple Beth
El, a Reform synagogue in Boca
Raton, Fla. "But I understand
how difficult that would be."
The cantor was Chaye Olam's
sole clergy person.
Following a June 22 vote to
dissolve the congregation, the
cantor said, "Most will now seek
a spiritual home in other syna-
gogues, but some may want to
maintain a chavurah group to
stay together socially?'
For active synagogue mem-
bers Ginger and Bob Penfil of
Farmington Hills, that is a pos-
sibility."But we will not join
another synagogue," said Ginger,
a past executive board member.
"Chaye Olam, Cantor Dubov and
(his wife) Christine gave us a
spiritual and religious involve-
ment we never had before. We
love them dearly and are thrilled
for them to have found a wonder-
ful place for their family. But for
us, their leaving is a spiritual and
religious loss. Our total commit-
ment was to the Dubovs."
Even before finalizing his con-
tract in Florida, Cantor Dubov
met with area Reform rabbis to
help members find new spiritual
homes. Many of them also helped
out when Chaye Olam was begin-
"(Temple) Shir Shalom came
through with our first Torah
when we first opened and (the
Conservative Congregation) Beth
Shalom also loaned us one until
we got our own," Cantor Dubov
said. "Now, there have been many
welcoming offers from syna-
gogues including Temple Beth
El, Temple Israel and Temple Kol
Ami. Congregation Shir Tikvah
even offered us a rabbi if the
congregation needed one to keep
"Our members have been
invited to services at other
synagogues, have been offered a
matching dues schedule, and life-
time members have been offered
incentives, like joining without
paying a building fee."
Chaye Olam's Bloomfield
Township synagogue building,
which is owned by the congrega-
tion, is up for sale. "The sacred
items, like the Torahs are assets
of the congregation and will be
donated to other synagogues or
schools," Cantor Dubov said.
The Penfils hope the hand-
made wooden ark and eternal
light Bob was involved in creat-
ing — and that they donated to
Chaye Olam — will go to Hillel
Day School or the Frankel Jewish
Academy of Metropolitan Detroit.
Past And Future
In the four years since the
Dubovs founded Chaye Olam,
the congregation's membership
has grown to 100 families, many
of whom participated in a June
9 farewell Shabbat service at the
"It has come to be the best four
years of my life," Cantor Dubov
said. "And what the congregation
has gained in being together,
learning and praying, they will
take with them?'
The cantor's contract includes
time provisions for him to be
available to officiate at the two
b'nai mitzvah of Chaye Olam
members scheduled in the next
year: one in a non-synagogue
setting, the other for a member
who will come to Florida for him
Cantor Dubov will return here
to perform in concert, includ-
ing a benefit for the Fellowship
of Israel and Black America in
"But I was born and raised in
Florida:' he said. "My parents and
my brother and sister and their
families are all in Boca.
"This was an opportunity I
could not turn down; to work
with an established 1,500-family
congregation, where I will be able
to give more value, with unlim-
ited resources, be able to use my
talents fully in the area of music
and being a cantor. There I won't
be doing all of the jobs; I will
strictly be a cantor?'
Before founding Chaye Olam,
Cantor Dubov was the cantor at
Temple Beth El in Bloomfield
Township for six years.
During his 10 years in the
Detroit area, he directed the Kidz
Klez Band of Michigan, which he
Attending the farewell service are the cantor's son, Ariel Dubov,
18, Victoria Zegler, 16, of Bloomfield Hills, the cantor's daughter,
Aleksandra Dubov, 21, his wife, Christine Dubov, parents, David and
Joan Dubov of Boca Raton and Al Lichtman of Cocoa Beach, Fla.
founded for preteen and teenage
musicians to play and perform
Even with the cantor's depar-
ture, Kidz Klez dad, Bill Barnett
of Farmington Hills, said, "The
band isn't going anywhere. There
is a group of parents who will
carry it on."
The volunteer organizer of that
group is Barnett's wife, Lisa, a
music therapist. The band will
continue under the direction of
Rick May and Shel Belenson of
the Schmaltz Klezmer Band.
The hope is for the 25 mem-
bers,.including the. Barnetts'
son, Mitch, 15, to continue on
together. "The cantor's goal is
for the band to be community
based, with kids involved coming
from all different synagogues:'
said Lisa Barnett whose family
belongs to Temple Israel.
The band is already booked
to play in Florida in February,
with performances in Boca and
at Disney World in Orlando.
And plans are under way for the
regrets. I enjoyed working with
my wife as our religious school
director and I will miss that very
much. We hope the kids who
participated in our arts-based
curriculum will walk away with a
lot of new strength.
"Christine and I were thrilled
with our opportunities in Detroit
— working with families and
youth. I have learned and grown
to be a better cantor and spiri-
tual leader and truly have made
lasting friendships that will con-
Musicians in grades 7
through college age, who
play instruments including
clarinet, saxophone, violin,
piano and accordion, may
arrange for an audition
for the Kidz Klez Band by
contacting Lisa Barnett at:
Kidz Klez CDs ($18) are also
available through Barnett.
Juiy 6. 2006