Yom Shlishi, 30 Av 5777
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Cantor Clissold Welcomes YOU!

Twenty-two years ago I came to Monmouth Reform Temple as a substitute cantor immediately before I began my formal studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion from which I was invested (and now ordained) in 1998. I stood on the bima and I felt like my hair was blown back by the active participation of the congregation. On that Shabbat I met Rabbi Priesand (now Rabbi Emerita) and lay people who are still active in our temple. The genuine warmth and active style of worship at MRT really stands out in my memory.

When I joined the temple clergy team in 2002, I was delighted to find that the warmth I had experienced so many years earlier was still here – and so was the eagerness people had to learn more about Jewish music and its many eclectic styles. I cherish the freedom given me by the temple to introduce new music and programs, utilizing the best of traditional and contemporary Jewish composers, technology and to create Shabbat experiences that are unique and joyful. I also appreciate the willingness of the congregation to participate with enthusiasm, and when appropriate, just to listen and be touched by the beauty of our music.

I am extremely proud of the programs I have helped develop and oversee. Here are some highlights and ways for you to be part of us:

  • Our volunteer Shir Chadash Band-now ten years strong!
  • Our Mitzvah Academy-our 7th, 8th and 9th grade program-in our fifth year!
  • Our strong participation at Camp Harlam, Six Points Sports, Sci Tech Academy, Kutz, Olin Sang Ruby and Eisner, coupled with two weeks I serve on faculty at Harlam.
    LIVE 92nd Street Y Broadcasts
  • Seeds of Spirituality (visual worship Shabbat)
  • Our volunteer Torah and Haftarah readers and service leaders
  • Our vibrant junior and senior Youth Groups, Skittles and Smarty
  • Launching in February of 2016-Live Streaming of Shabbat Worship!

In addition, our musical program is enhanced by the participation of our volunteer choir made up of temple members who like to sing. It is always a joy for me to work with them and have them join me on the bima on special Shabbatot, High Holy Days and Thanksgiving throughout the year. If you are interested in joining the choir or band we are eager to welcome you!

Children at our temple meet me in religious school and at services. I teach all ages and am involved in every aspect of religious school. I love to lead t'filah on Wednesday afternoons with our religious school students I particularly enjoy working one on one with our sixth and seventh grade students as they prepare to become b'nai mitzvah. Teaching is one of the most thrilling and satisfying parts of my work at MRT because I get to know each child and adult on a very personal level. All of our students do an amazing job, many stay on for confirmation and later come back to chant Torah and haftarah at services. I take great pride in their accomplishments and always look forward to their continued participation in our choir, band, youth group and Torah and Haftarah reading.

As part of our clergy team I share in the pastoral care of our temple. Life is a delicate balance with many highs and lows. Being there for you and your loved ones as we walk through this life is very precious. Please know how much we care.

When you join our congregation, you will become part of an amazing jewel in Monmouth County. As I embark on my fourteenth year as your Cantor I feel fortunate to be part of this community and grateful that my entire family is part of our temple. Indeed, we consider the temple to be our extended family – and I am sure you will too! Please stop in, drop me a message or email me, I would love to meet you and hear your story.