TSS Congregation excited, hopeful with new cantor

 


Cantor Kim Singer’s first d’var Torah at Temple Shir Shalom of Oviedo was, perhaps presciently, about arrivals and new beginnings. The message was uplifting as well as timely.

Chukkat, the Torah portion for the week of June 26, discusses the arrival of the children of Israel to the Jordan River. On the other side is the Promised Land. Following a challenging period of leadership and rebellion, they are once again moving forward with one purpose, full of hope and looking forward in awe.

This metaphorical new beginning served as a rather appropriate backdrop for Singer’s official beginning as the new spiritual leader of Temple Shir Shalom. The tight-knit group turned out bearing much more than potluck Oneg and a welcome cake, but also their hopes and prayers, and voices ready to lift in a new song—or songs.

Barely moved into her new home in an Oviedo neighborhood—in fact without many of her belongings yet to arrive from Massachusetts, Singer sent a joyful spirit of Shabbat into the congregation with many of her thoughts connecting this ancient portion to a modern Jew’s life.


The beginning words of the portion were thought-provoking: They arrived, the Children of Israel, all the community, at the wilderness of Tzin in the first month.

Singer immediately focused on this togetherness with the disarray following the uprising of Korach. “The children of Israel are finally ‘all on the same page,’ as it were...moving together, functioning as a single community,” she said, speaking in her d’var Torah.

In Chukkat, she pointed out, leadership is changing since both Miriam and Aaron pass away; their duties and responsibilities move onto the shoulders of other members of the wider Israelite community. So, too, is Temple Shir Shalom changing and renewing itself. Singer pointed out change isn’t losing but gaining, too. “Even if I were trying to keep everything exactly the same—which I’m not—things would still be different.”

Gathering around for their first motzi together, creating a great chain of connection, TSS congregants saw great things to come.

Rheda Epstein felt, “Kim connected the Torah portion and her sermon to TSS. With passing of Aaron & Miriam, the Israelites experienced transition and change” and she saw this as a great positive. “Her music brought new as well as familiar melodies - another new transition for TSS.”

Membership committee chair Jennifer Hall said, “It was a wonderful first service and we are so thankful.”

Adults weren’t the only ones thankful and happy. Board member Holly Lesnick said her children, Anna and Aiden, “were excited to see she was singing many familiar tunes they look forward to.”

The next summer service for Temple Shir Shalom is July 10, at 7:30 pm. For complete details of Temple Shir Shalom’s programs and services, visit the congregation’s website: http://www.templeshirshalom.org.

 

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