Shalom, Shalom!

Posted on May 5, 2019 by Rabbi Arnold S. Gluck

Shalom, Cantor Emily!

As we come to the end of another wonderful year of sharing our Jewish journeys together at TBE, we must anticipate the poignant moment of saying farewell to our beloved Cantor Emily Pincus. We have had a truly wonderful eight years together, for which we have every reason to be grateful.

Cantor Pincus has touched our lives in so many ways, from the bimah on Shabbat and holy days, where her magnificent voice and soulful spirit have lifted us in prayer; to bedsides and gravesides, where she has been a loving, caring, and consoling pastoral presence; to joyful lifecycle celebrations of welcoming new life at britot and naming ceremonies; to consecrating new love under the chuppah. We have laughed together at Purimspiels, been moved to tears at cantorial concerts and soulful ritual moments, and have shared so many meaningful personal moments along the way.

Under Cantor Pincus’ guidance and through her vision, musical expression has flourished at TBE, from our growing adult choir, which adds so much to shabbatot, holy days, and special occasions, to our spirited youth choir, Soufganiyot, which makes family Shabbat services so joyful and uplifting, to our talented tefillah band that rocks the house at Shabbat b’Shir, Shabbat Under the Stars, Simchat Torah, and so many other special events. Cantor Pincus is the spirit behind all of this, and for that we are grateful.

During the years she has been with us, Cantor Pincus has been a wonderful member of our professional staff and a creative partner in our efforts to revolutionize the bar and bat mitzvah experience. She has been a dedicated, devoted, and effective teacher of b’nei mitzvah, to both our young people and adults, who have come to celebrate this rite of passage. And, most notably, she has turned our aspiration to have our b’nei mitzvah students return to read Torah on multiple occasions into our successful and dynamic yad chazakah program. Last year alone, we had more than 50 different post-b’nei mitzvah Torah readers!

We are sad to see Cantor Pincus leave us. None of us foresaw this turn of events. But we all want what is best for her and her family, so we are hopeful that she will find happiness with her new congregation in Forest Hills, Queens, and that they will value her as much as we have.

There are many more praises to be offered for all of Cantor Pincus’ many ccomplishments here at TBE, more than can be covered in this space. So, we invite you to join us at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17, when we will say an official shalom to Cantor Pincus and thank her for all that she has done and meant to us at TBE.

Shalom, Student Cantor Emily!

During the summer, we will welcome Student Cantor Emily Simkin to TBE. While she will be in her final year of cantorial school at HUC-JIR and will be serving us in a part-time capacity, Student Cantor Emily will be an integral part of our staff and clergy team and will join me in leading our congregation in all our Shabbat and Holy Day worship. Among her other duties will be guiding our b’nei mitzvah, in partnership with our talented tutors, working with our choirs and band, and much more.

Emily Simkin comes to us with a very strong Jewish and musical background. Growing up, she was active with her family in her home synagogue, is an alumna of Camp Harlam, where she also served on staff as a unit head, is an alumna of the Akiva Academy Jewish Day School, a graduate of the Berklee School of Music, and has extensive experience as a teacher and student cantor in a variety of synagogue settings. All the members of TBE who have met and interacted with Student Cantor Emily have been impressed by her knowledge, commitment, and spirit, and believe that she is a great match for the spirit and values of TBE.

During the coming weeks we will be finalizing the details of her service for the coming year, including when our community will have the opportunity to meet and welcome her. In the meantime, we wish her and her fiancé, Adam Halpern, a hearty mazal tov on their upcoming wedding celebration in early July. Shalom, Student Cantor Emily! We look forward to having you as part of our TBE family!

Thank You, Jay Lavroff!

At our congregational meeting on June 10, Jay Lavroff will conclude his two years of exemplary service as the president of our congregation, when he passes the gavel to his successor, Leigh Miller, who heads an outstanding slate of officers and trustees that will be presented for congregational approval. These two years have been a time of growth and strength for our congregation, due in significant measure to Jay’s strong leadership, depth of vision, love for our community and its members, commitment to a vibrant Jewish life, and much hard work. Every temple president faces challenges, and Jay encountered his share, but, like those who came before him, he met them with wisdom and thoughtfulness, navigating them in strong partnership with our professional staff and his outstanding team of lay leaders.

Personally, it has been a joy to serve with Jay. He has been an unfailingly supportive partner and a great friend to me, our staff and lay leaders. Jewish values and personal integrity are his North Star, ever guiding him to do what is right in ways that are kind and caring. How fortunate are we to have been led by Jay over these last two years!

Going forward, there is no question that Jay will continue to be a strong presence and valued leader of our congregation, as he was for years before becoming president. So, when we say shalom to Jay as he completes his term as president, it means neither “hello” nor “goodbye,” but expresses our hope and prayer that he be blessed with peace and fulfillment in all things. Thank you, Jay, from the bottom of our hearts, for all that you have done (and will yet do) for TBE and the Jewish people. May you go from strength to strength, and may God bless you and your family.

Please join us on May 17 as we say shalom to Cantor Pincus, and on June 10 as we express our gratitude to Jay and elect Leigh Miller as the next president of TBE


Rabbi Arnold S. Gluck