Board Message, May 2023

Most of you have now heard that Cantor Fair will no longer be serving Ahavas Israel, and we just wanted to share a few thoughts on his departure.

Our original contract with Temple Emanuel to provide cantorial services gave us Cantor Fair for four hours a week of his time. This equated to about two Shabbat mornings a month plus some additional time on holidays, funerals and for B’nai Mitzvah training. 

The reality of functioning as the Cantor for two congregations and the director of the religious school became too burdensome and Cantor Fair felt that he was unable to perform all his duties to a high level. He has agreed to stay with us until the end of April. 

This is a disappointment to many of us who felt that his youthful energy and his beautiful voice really added to the ruach of our services and celebrations, but we can also understand that being the Cantor of both Reform and Conservative synagogues as well as a school director were really too much for Cantor Fair.

Given this situation we have no alternative but to adapt and to lean into the talents and commitment of the folks among us who have done the lion’s share of leading services for years. We will continue to rely on the talents of a deepening bench of lay leaders to chant services and to do Torah readings.

In the event of a requirement for B’nai Mitzvah training the Religious Life Committee has identified several qualified congregants who would be willing to tutor Torah. We are a small resourceful congregation with committed members who can continue to create the warm Shabbat environment we all seek in the sanctuary.

Ann Berman, President and Allyson Cole-Strauss Vice-President

Dearest Members of Ahavas Israel,
As you may have heard, I will be stepping away from my time with
Ahavas Israel. This decision came with a great deal of thought and
discernment. It was not easy, nor simple to come to this decision.

My decision to step back has been two fold: one is my own personal
observance and the other is a bit more personal.

I’ll start with the personal. The model of having a Cantor serve as a
Director of a medium-sized religious school, the Cantor of a
Conservative Synagogue, and a Reform Temple, is something that’s never
been done. We are talking about three entirely different skill-sets.
If you’ve gotten to know me well, you’ll see that I’m not someone who
can do any job less than 100%. I dedicate myself fully and wholly to
any job I take on. I’ll be frank: I found myself wearing thin. It’s
been too much to take on. Duties were slipping through the cracks.
Also, I haven’t able to take on projects that I had long wanted to
tackle. I found myself continuing to say, “I just don’t have the time
for that.” I couldn’t show up as my best self to any space.

The second reason is rather simple: I am not a Conservative Cantor. I
trained at the Reform seminary as a Reform Cantor. If any of you have
seen me lead a service at Temple Emanuel, you’ve probably seen that I
feel fully in my element. I was trained to be a Reform Cantor and I
love that style of a Reform service. It fits like a glove.  It feels
like “me.” My time dovening at Ahavas Israel has felt inauthentic. I
feel that you all deserve someone who loves the style of Conservative
Judaism.

But fear not, I’m not going anywhere! I will continue to be the
Director of the United Jewish School and you will see me for our
joint-congregational programs.

It has been my distinct honor and pleasure working with Ahavas Israel.
I have learned so much that will benefit me for my entire career. My
last service with Ahavas Israel will be on April 29th. I look forward
to seeing you then.

Yours,
Cantor David Fair