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Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills Blog

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Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills and Greater Los Angeles

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills and Greater Los Angeles

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills is one of Southern California's premier Reform Jewish congregations. We are a proud synagogue serving West and Greater Los Angeles. Our temple community consists of multi-cultural, traditional, and non-traditional families; as well as single, interfaith, gay, and single-parent members.

A Message from Student Cantor Lizzie Weiss

From Burton Way to the Music of Heaven

Over ten years ago, I led High Holy Day services for the New Emanuel Minyan. It was the summer after I started college, and I had spent the entire summer preparing. I was so honored that Cantor Yonah Kliger considered me worthy of this opportunity. As I raised up my voice, I remember thinking, “Wow, I feel truly at home.” I didn’t feel nervous.  It felt authentic and real.  Although I continued to pursue my dream of “Broadway stardom,” this feeling of “home” didn’t repeat itself along that road. For the road to discovering that I wanted to be a Cantor had been well-paved. I had spent years in the Emanuel family choir. I was a junior cantor. I sang in Emanuel’s esteemed High Holy Day professional choir. The melodies of my Emanuel-infused childhood ran through my veins.

After a wonderful three years on the road in the Broadway National Tour of Disney’s High School Musical, I knew that it was time to return to the path of becoming a Cantor. With the encouragement of my mentor, Cantor Kliger, and the guidance from my voice coach and mentor, Cantor Perryne Anker, I began Cantorial school at the Academy for Jewish Religion California.

These past years of graduate study have been filled with Jewish history, in-depth liturgical study, and exposure to wonderful Jewish music, both old and new! I know that the knowledge I have obtained and the mastery I have honed will serve me throughout my entire career. In addition to the academic study leading to my ordination as a Cantor, I have been learning what it means to “be” a Cantor, hands-on. For the first three years of study at AJRCA, I worked with another precious mentor of mine, Rabbi Stephen Einstein at Congregation B’nai Tzedek, as their student Cantor.  I served this wonderful congregation with the full responsibility of a Cantor. Again, I found that the training, love, and support I received from Emanuel along the way prepared me to serve B’nai Tzedek. 

In this final year of Cantorial School, I have had the privilege to serve Temple Emanuel as your Student Cantor.  The invitation to do so, and the experience itself, has been, and continues to feel as if, this path was divinely inspired.  I am so very humbled each and every day as I walk through these doors.  Whether tutoring B’nai Mitzvah students, leading Shabbat Morning @Emanuel services or sitting alongside Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Jonathan Aaron, Rabbi Sarah Bassin and Cantor Yonah Kliger at the Simply Shabbat, Shabbat Spark, and the Roven Family Shabbat Unplugged services, I never cease to appreciate it all.

With just about two months until my ordination, I have been busy planning my Master’s recital, which is being hosted by Temple Emanuel.  I have been overwhelmed by the support of my Emanuel Community and Jewish Professionals in Los Angeles. Along with presenting many melodies composed over the last 75 years, I will have the privilege of debuting three new musical pieces by Julie Silver, Cantor Marsha Attie, and Daniel Leanse. I cannot wait to share the bima with these three professionals and friends.  My concert, entitled “The Music of Heaven,” seeks to present music that illuminates the mystical vision of the presence of angels in heaven and the ability for the gates of heaven to open to each one of us through song.  Not only will I be in the company of the above-mentioned wonderful composers, I also cannot wait to perform with a wonderful choir and soloists from the AJRCA.  I am also thrilled to be performing with our very own Cantor Kliger and our mentor Cantor Perryne Anker. And, of course, no concert would be complete without a musical number performed with my triplet siblings, soon to be Cantor Sara Hass and Ryan Weiss.  

I hope to see many of the members of this wonderful community at this concert and I can’t wait to introduce my AJRCA community to the “Magic” of Temple Emanuel!

--Lizzie Weiss

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Bat Mitzvah: Brianna Farahmand

We are very excited to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of Brianna Farahmand on Saturday, March 28th. Brianna has worked very hard for this day, and we would like to share what she has written about herself and her Bat Mitzvah project below:

"I am in 7th grade at Hawthorne School. My hobbies are paying soccer, painting, and being with my friends. My parents are Homan and Kathy, and I have a younger sister named Charlize.

As my mitzvah project, I made a Persian cookbook. All of the proceeds that I collect selling these cookbooks will be donated to SOVA. SOVA is an organization that helps people by providing free groceries and lots of supportive services to over 12,000 people in need. I would like to thank Rabbi Bassin, Cantor Kliger, Student Cantor Lizzie Weiss, and Lynn Franklin for helping me prepare for my Bat Mitzvah."

Temple Emanuel and the Religious School are very proud of you and all of your hard work Brianna. Mazal Tov on your special day!

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Matt-Planting-a-Tree-at-Temple.jpgWe are very excited to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of Matthew Kassorla this Saturday, February 28th. Matthew has worked very hard for this day and we would like to share what he has written about himself and his Bar Mitzvah project below:

"I am in 7th grade at El Rodeo School in Beverly Hills. I play volleyball, tennis, and the clarinet in my school band. I enjoy being with my friends. I love to travel, watch movies and spend time at the beach.

I’m having my Bar Mitzvah in February and I’m very excited to share this special ceremony with my friends and family. For my Mitzvah project I am volunteering for and donating to an organization called The Tree People, which plants trees in Los Angeles and encourages people to take care of the environment. This is an area I feel passionate about. I have been involved in planting and environmental conservation my whole life, assisting my mom, conducting green gardening programs for kids here at Temple and at my school. The simple act of planting a tree can have a significant impact on helping the environment.

I’d like to thank my parents, Fred and Jackie, who have been incredibly loving and supportive throughout my entire life. A special thanks also to my extended family including my grandparents, Irene and Norman. It’s especially exciting for me to have my Bar Mitzvah at Temple Emanuel because my grandmother was actually in the second confirmation class here!

I also want to thank Rabbi Geller, who has been my mentor, and guided me through this whole process. Thanks too, to Cantor Kliger and Lizzie Weiss for helping me prepare the prayers and Torah reading for my Bar Mitzvah service."

Temple Emanuel and the Religious School are very proud of you and all of your hard work Matthew, Mazal Tov on your special day!

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Our very own Rabbi Jonathan Aaron was quoted in the Los Angeles Daily News for his kind words during the Beverly Hills memorial for Rick Orlov, a former City Hall reporter for the publication. When speaking about Mr. Orlov, Rabbi Aaron said, "This is a nice man, this is a gentle man. This is a good person, never mean-spirited. Thoughtful, understanding, caring. This guy was a mensch — the kind of person you’d want to be around and know." To read the article in its entirety, click here

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 (Photo by Dean Musgrove / Los Angeles Daily News)

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