Author Archives: bkanarek

another side of Jewish Rockland

According to the press, the predominant story about Jewish Rockland is East Ramapo Schools.  Of course, there’s a lot more to being Jewish in Rockland than East Ramapo and a lot of it is good– very good.  Which is why the Rockland County Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Federation of Rockland created “Rockland & Jewish”, a social media campaign highlighting our Jewish lives in Rockland.  jTo see an article from the Jewish Standard on Rockland & Jewish, click here.  Or go to the Rockland & Jewish Facebook page by clicking here

Public Space Judaism

Great Chanukah oil tasting event at Fairway Market the other night with the help of Big Tent Judaism. If we want to connect with those outside our buildings, then we need to get outside our buildings. That’s the first step- establish the connection wherever you can find it.  Second step- foster it.  (and continue to foster over and over before even thinking of asking for money). For more info on Big Tent Judaism, go to bigtentjudaism.org

Jewish Federation of Rockland County's photo.

Bar Mitzvah factory vs lifelong journey

While its wonderful that an impending bar or bat mitzvah creates motivation to study, we have turned becoming bar or bat mitzvah into the de-facto goal of Jewish education. Not only is it a low bar (can you imagine if we stopped our secular education at 7th grade?), but turning our religious schools into bar mitzvah factories is a poor strategy for inspiring young people (unless we want them to leave- in that respect, it has worked well).

Religious school gives our youth important tools such as the ability to read Hebrew and familiarity with the service. But our children need much more. Youth group, Jewish summer camp and programs like Birthright are part of the picture that turns being Jewish into a life journey. We need to start that journey earlier so that religious school is complementary- not its replacement. Specifically, we need to create a Jewish fabric at home. And it needs to start with us as adults.

Everyone has different interests, different “hooks”. What are yours? Shabbat meals? Jewish learning? Jewish music? Repairing the world? The possibilities are endless. As adults, we need to explore, find what rocks our boats and take the journey- if for no other reason than to share it with our kids.

Welcome!

Thank you for stopping by.  I created this web site to show you more about myself than you could get from a paper resume.  Nothing fancy here- just lots of pics, recordings and links to my work as a cantor, educator and as Director of the Rockland Jewish Initiative.

I hope you enjoy!