Q: When did you discover your love of singing?

A: From what I understand, I have always loved to sing. My parents have a photo of me when I was around three years old using the backyard water hose as a microphone and singing my little heart out. 

 

Q: How did your path to the clergy come to be?

A: I went to The Manhattan School of Music for my undergraduate degree as a classical vocal performance major. I realized while I was there that I would likely never love the life as a performer … I had been looking into graduate programs within social work or psychology at Columbia University. I had discussed this with a friend of mine … she was a piano major who accompanied the cantors and their students, across the street at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and she suggested that I look into their cantorial school. 

 

Q: You’re from the United States. What drew you to accept the role of cantor and spiritual leader of a small North York synagogue?

A: I had chosen to come to Toronto for a few months in order to see if I could imagine a life in Toronto. My fiancée is Canadian, although initially from Winnipeg. I had been working as the spiritual counsellor of a private psychiatric hospital (in Connecticut) … I really hadn't any intention of leaving the States, but then, with the outcome of the U.S. election and realizing just how difficult a road it would be for my fiancée should she try to come to the States, I felt I needed to see if living in Toronto would be a possibility. It was actually my fiancée that responded to an ad in the (Canadian Jewish News) search for a spiritual leader. They had described themselves as a “traditional congregation” — what I believed to actually mean “Women need not apply” — but she still sent an email that described the fact that she knew a really good cantor. I was then contacted and subsequently interviewed by the president and treasurer. Things are changing, but as far as acceptance of gay and lesbian clergy, in my opinion is that the conservative movement in the U.S. is well behind Toronto in social justice.

 

Q: What are your goals with your new roles? What can members expect?

A: I am open to trying to meet their needs within a spiritually uplifting and welcoming environment, where music blends with prayer and learning to heal and uplift their soul.

 

Original post can be found here

Cantor Rachel Littman, D.Min, Spiritual Leader

A graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Rachael Littman, who’s believed to be the only female cantor graduate of the New York City seminary in Toronto, has been leading religious services at the Stashover-Slipia Congregation, which focuses on intelligent Judaism, on Sultana Avenue, since winter.

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