This Year, I Am Different
As we began to reopen this spring, I noticed a visceral, unusual response to everyday activities. Getting together with friends felt different. Going out to eat at restaurants felt different. Dropping off the kids at school felt different. It was a sense of catharsis and elation to be able to return to a sense of normalcy.
Since the summer surge, we find ourselves once again restricted and cautious. Anxiously awaiting the news when our children can get a COVID vaccine and get the same protection we enjoy.
When entering this sacred month of Elul, I am now considering the little freedoms we took for granted even more. Using the mussar traits of gratitude and hakarat hatov, recognizing the good, I wonder how I can look at the sweetness of Rosh Hashanah differently. How can I acknowledge that I GET to do something instead of belaboring the effort it takes.
I also think about how I am modeling for my kids. What do they notice (and surely later mimic) about my reactions to different types of news? How can I subtly teach and ask them to respond after some thought and consideration of all sides?
Finally, I am eager to see the faces of our community back at Temple Chai for the High Holy Days. Even if I only get to see your eyes, it will mean the world to be together in prayer and song.
Wishing you a shanah tovah um’tukah. May sweetness and goodness follow where ever you go in 5782.
Cantor Ross Wolman
Cantor Ross Wolman is blessed to serve Temple Chai in Phoenix, Arizona.
Originally from Lancaster, PA, Cantor Wolman grew up in Congregation Shaarai Shomayim’s youth choir and led religious school services beginning after his bar mitzvah. He studied Music Education at Temple University in Philadelphia and upon graduation, entered the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College to pursue ordination as a Cantor. He was fortunate to have spent two years of his cantorial studies in Israel, serving Kehillat Bavat Ayin in Rosh Ha’ayin as student cantor. Cantor Wolman has been an active leader and organizer of the Riding4Reform cycling fundraiser, which benefits the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism.
In May 2007, he was ordained as Cantor from Hebrew Union College and is a proud member of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC). Cantor Wolman has previously served Congregation Sukkat Shalom in Wilmette, IL and Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim (BJBE) in Deerfield, IL.
Cantor Wolman has spent a summer in chaplaincy at Jeanes Hospital in Philadelphia, summers on staff at the URJ’s Kutz Camp, OSRUI, NFTY in Israel as well as six summers on faculty at OSRUI and five summers on faculty at URJ Camp Newman. He is past president of the Reform Cantors of Chicago and has proudly served the American Conference of Cantors and HUC’s Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Alumni Association.
Cantor Wolman has performed throughout North America, Israel, France, Russia, and Ukraine.
Along with his passion for music, Cantor Wolman has a strong love for film, the outdoors, education, Israel, and the Hebrew language. He lives in Scottsdale with his wife Malka, their three children, and cats Giuseppe & Jürgen.
Cantor Wolman can be reached at email@example.com.