I’ve just spent a week at the American Conference of Cantors Convention in Dallas, TX learning and praying with my colleagues and teachers in the place where it all began for me. As a freshly minted Ordinee of the Cantorial program of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion DF SSM, I had desperately wanted to get back to California to begin my career. Sadly, there were no jobs open at that time and Dallas was as close as I could get! Having been born and raised in Bakersfield, CA a.k.a. Nashville West, the twang and the western vibe was already in my D.N.A. It proved to be a wonderful match, me with my interfaith composing of Jewish Gospel and the community with it’s deeply diverse ground for connection. I felt like a true pioneer in my field, being the first Cantor in Dallas and one of two women Cantors in all of Texas. It was an amazing period of my life filled with learning, growth and discovery as I stepped into my Cantorial shoes and began to build a program and presence which still exists today. Soon after I arrived, I met Andy, my partner of 27 years, and we were married in the Temple Shalom sanctuary. Emily and Louis came along soon after we are all still proud of those Texas roots.
During the conference there was a gala concert at Temple Emanuel and members of my choir and former congregation were there to greet me and extend their well wishes on my accomplishments. It was a warm way to come full circle and to see what the seeds of my work had produced: a beautiful legacy and three women cantors in Dallas! I also had time to connect with old friends and family who still mean so much to me. At the end of the conference I was invited to perform my well known “Texas Hodu” inspired by that old twang I came to love. Coming full circle feels great and it’s always good to know that my heart is still deep in the heart of Texas!
The next stop in my filling up my heart is the Aleph Kallah 2018 at Umass, Amherst! If you’re in the Boston or Hartford areas, please get tickets for evening programming with these links. It’s going to be unforgettable!