To promote, develop, and nurture cantorial skills in post B’nai Mitzvah students, supporting the idea that learning and community service is a lifelong endeavor. These skills will include chanting of Torah and Haftarot, as well as leading prayer services.
The Magen and Yad Programs allow members to achieve additional status by earning a Magen David every time they ‘multiply’ their membership requirements, or a Yad every time they ‘multiply’ their Tikkun Olam requirements past the original requirements for the year.
Lifelong Learner’s Award
This award is bestowed upon any Cantorial Corps Member who learns an additional cantorial skill after their B’nai Mitzvah. The awarding of this honor is displayed on a plaque in the synagogue lobby and special mention in the SOJC Newsletter.
Cantorial Corps Trips
Every year and a half, Cantor Ramsay takes those qualifying Members on a Cantorial Corps Trip. Qualification for inclusion on Cantorial Corps Trips requires a Chazzan qualification (plus 1 service, 1 reading, and 1 Tikkun Olam Point).
As a member of the Cantorial Corps you belong to a proud Jewish community of your peers. You, along with every other member, have accepted the responsibility of the commandments by virtue of your Bar or Bat Mitzvah. The Cantorial Corps program and requirements are designed to make your participation challenging, rewarding, educational, fun, thought provoking and social. Because you represent a segment of the congregation that is the future of Judaism, there are some basic responsibilities that go along with performing the requirements of the Cantorial Corps. They are as follows:
- In order for a reading of the Torah or Haftarah or for leading a Service to apply toward your requirements, you must be present and in the Sanctuary (except for short bathroom break) till the end of service. The greater congregation appreciates your involvement in communal prayer and leaving after your direct participation cheapens the spirit of your participation in that community. Take the time to fully appreciate the mitzvah you are performing and give the congregation an opportunity to express their gratitude.
- Support other CC members. This is your own personal Jewish Community. Support their efforts and you will receive support in return. The Cantorial Corps has never been about competition, it’s about community.
- Participate in CC Fundraisers as often as you possibly can. They’re fun, essential to the health of the program and they keep your parents from footing the whole bill. Remember, the CC does not receive funds from the Congregation General Fund, although congregation members donate freely to the Corps.
- The requirements are a minimum to enable any Bar or Bat Mitzvah who is willing to participate. If you are capable of more than the minimum, you are encouraged to participate to a higher degree. Remember, however, that there is no pressure past the minimum. Your participation level is entirely voluntary.
- Aspire to the true spirit of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) with volunteer work in a community service that is fulfilling for you. Tikkun Olam is a responsibility, a commandment, for every Jew. If you choose a volunteer activity that is fulfilling, you will be more likely to carry on that work more often. You will be making a bigger difference. The Tikkun Olam requirement is really there to get you started toward a habit of community involvement and action to help those in need.
Cantorial Corps Fund-raisers
Throughout the year there will be fundraisers planned to help cover some of the costs associated with the Cantorial Corps trip and program costs. These fundraisers are fun, social events that also provide a service or entertainment to the community. Participation in these fundraisers is expected of CC and Members alike.
There are several levels of involvement for the Cantorial Corps. When you become Bar/Bat Mitzvah, you are automatically eligible as a Cantorial Corps Candidate.
By virtue of having become B’nai Mitzvah, a teen between the ages of 12 and 18 may participate in theCantorial Corps and work towards full membership by fulfilling the following requirements.
Full membership can be achieved by attaining either of the following titles:
- Must be a member of USY or Kadima
- Attain 3 Tikkun Olam Points (see Tikkun Olam section below).
- Chant either 3 Torah portions (one aliyah counts as a portion)
- Chant 3 Haftarot in the course of a year or any combination of the two (1 Haftarah + 2 Torah portions or 2 Haftarot + 1 Torah portion)
A candidate may attain the title of Chazzan by meeting the requirements of both Shaliach Tzibur and Ba’al Koreh in the same membership year (although the candidate only needs to maintain one USY or Kadima membership and attain 3 Tikkun Olam points). As an extra incentive, only the Chazzanim are eligible for the semi-annual Cantorial Corps Trip.
Every member is required to perform 3 Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) points. Points are awarded as follows:
- 1 point = participation in performing 4 hours of community service OR attending one Shivah Minyan (not of a relative).
Why Should I Join?
So this looks like it might involve some work, right? Why would I want that? Good question, and not one to be ignored.
You worked hard to learn the skills you needed for your B’nai Mitzvah. And you were relieved when it was over. But don’t lie to yourself, you were also very proud. You accomplished something that seemed like a daunting task. You did it so you could prove to God, your family and your People that you are ready to take on the responsibility of the Commandments.
But that was only the beginning. You have a responsibility to yourself, your People and yes, to God to maintain those skills you fought so hard to learn. The ONLY way to do that is to use that knowledge periodically. The more you lead services and prepare for readings the easier (and more pleasurable) it gets.
To join the Cantorial Corps program please fill out this contact form to request more information. You are emailing Cantor Doug Ramsay directly.