What has happened to OUR Tephillah in Shul?

The UAW won their historic strike because the Membership finally overthrew their corrupt Leadership. Cantors Assembly Leadership is also not representative of its Membership but has become a shill for a Rabbinate, with a few notable exceptions, that is actively working towards our collective demise and the marginalization of Interpretive Prayer with clueless Rabbis and an incompetent lay leadership. making believe they are Cantors! I cannot honestly say that this is many less true for the Reform and Orthodox Movements! This is not idle speculation, but the result of extended visitation over the past year and a half, ongoing, to Synagogues in All Branches of Judaism on Shabbat morning, throughout Northern New Jersey; NYC; Westchester, Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk, Duchess, Union, Essex, Passaic ,and Bergen Counties; discovering alarmingly a total disregard for anything resembling heartfelt emotion and Kavannah in the Public Recitation of Prayer. Instead Congregations are being fed pap—a smorgasbord of meaningless drivel more appropriate for a Tiny Tot Service than not! This is only not the case where a real professional Cantor may be present, and even then, most Congregations and Rabbis in the Conservative and Reform Movements have so truncated the Cantor’s role as to render it ALMOST useless! The preponderant majority of Orthodox Congregations throughout Passaic, Bergen, and Nassau Counties have lay people doing the Shabbat Morning SERVICE from Shokhein Ad until Aleinu Leshabeiakh totally meaninglessly! We Jews are facing the greatest existential crisis since the Holocaust, and Public Prayer has become a total parody of its former self throughout ALL the Branches of Judaism.

According to the Khofetz KHayyim in the Mishnah Berurah, every Shul must engage a paid professional Shaliakh Tzibbur before they hire a Rabbi, unless that Rabbi is a leading Torah Scholar.    So if all these Rabbis are in violation of basic Halakha and/or don’t know the Law, how do they get to be the Mara D’Atra of their respective Congregations?

And what of this Crisis of MEANINGLESS Prayer?

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!