Sam Josephson

It’s not complicated

I had what I wished might have been an out of body experience this afternoon, while at a meeting of Rabbis sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. Ostensibly, this meeting was called to review a recent trip that Rabbis had made to Israel.  For those who had remained here, we learned firsthand the stories of courage and survival in the wake of the Tragedy of October 7th.  And going forward, we discussed what we might all do to help Israel now!

Of course fundraising always comes to mind.  But what funds and for whom?  A bit of the reality of the importance of our support sunk in with the news that Netivot, a town adopted by Jewish Americans in Philadelphia, went thankfully unscathed on October 7th, because the town, under the leadership of a wise Mayor, had purchased with the donations of their benefactors, surveillance cameras.  Fortunately, the town had only so many entrances.  This Barukh HaShem made it possible to see Hamas Terrorists approaching, and gun them down first, before they could wreak the death and destruction they intended to inflict on innocent civilians!

Now this is where it becomes somewhat surreal for me!  In the go-‘round-the-room of those attending, I offered my name, that I had been leading services for the High Holy Days at one Shul and that fateful Shabbat and Shemini Atzeret, I was then leading Services at another.  Being now not affiliated with any one Congregation, I shared with them how I might contribute to Israel’s recovery effort through Fundraising and Unity Concerts.

When someone suggested Neshama Carlebach later on in the discussion and her price, I said, “I can do it for less!” but there was no reaction to my offer other than laughter!  Admittedly, no one there really has any idea how I sound, but neither did anyone ask or try to find out!

Remember the Maytag Repairman of the TV Commercials? Well, male Cantors these days are far lonelier!   I am right there in the room with my fellow Rabbis (unfortunately no Cantors) and it seems as if anyone else with any name recognition will do!

These days, the least we can do is—write a check!   And when you consider the worthiness of the cause, that you would most likely be writing a check for the same amount anyway, without a wonderful Concert to attend—what could be better than getting the gift of music!

Therefore you don’t need a headliner; really just someone who can deliver the goods, so that once you‘re there, you’re glad you came. It’s not complicated!

About the Author
A son of Concentration Camp Survivors who were originally from Bendzin, Poland, Rabbi Cantor Sam was the only member of his immediate family born in the USA. Originally on a trajectory towards being an Actor, a chance encounter with a Synagogue Choir Member at a Pittsburgh Dinner Theater production of Guys and Dolls, had him studying Voice with a leading Cantor of the day, Moshe Taube, and a love of interpreting the Prayers of our People ensued. A lifelong active Member of the Habonim/DROR Socialist Zionist Youth Movement, a return to Judaism did not take much awakening. Being a keen observer and participant in the life of Our People, motivates him to invite dialogue on where we go from here!