Well, it’s already been a busy musical year and it’s just October! We’ve had two Rock Shabbat events, our High Holidays and begun a new and exciting musical year in our Center for a Jewish Future. This year we plan on having nine more Rock Shabbat services (that’s one per month), other services featuring our volunteer choir Kolot Yafim, two special musical healing services featuring our music teacher Karen Joseph and Rabbi Shira Stern (in November and April) and even a ticketed Rock Concert featuring Sheldon Low coming in March.
With all this excitement, it has come to my attention that people are confused about what it means to sponsor a Rock Shabbat event, and what it costs.
A year and a half ago, when our president Brion Feinberg tasked me with creating this exciting new service, we knew we could only do it with funding. We put aside an $8000 donated grant to help us kick off Rock Shabbat for two years. We knew this would not be enough and planned on having sponsors for each service to help split the cost and encourage ownership of these special services. Sponsorships have been a tremendous success, and I thank all of you who have already committed to sponsoring Rock Shabbat. We couldn’t do this without you. Rock Shabbat services use a combination of volunteers and professionals to make up our band; we also feature different guest artists. Each artist charges a different fee and we, as a band, need to rehearse more or less depending on how much new music we are introducing. Because of these factors, the cost of each service varies, from $800-$1600. We ask our sponsors to contribute $650 to sponsor a Rock Shabbat and we make up the rest of the budget from our originating grant. So if you’ve heard differing numbers of cost, this may be one of the reasons.
We are looking for so much more than sponsors! We are also looking for more volunteer musicians. If you’d like to put your rock skills on show, let me know whether it is for one song or one service; or maybe you would like to become a permanent member of the band. We want to keep expanding, exploring and creating. Every service should continue the experiment. In just a few short months, we’ve created a “tradition” of Rock Shabbat, and have some “traditional tunes” that we use, but we want to keep experimenting. Will this new melody help you connect differently? Can we have a new TRT melody for this prayer? Whether it gets everyone singing or is a great show of talent, Rock Shabbat is a place for pushing our boundaries and experimentation, and we want you to be a part of it. So if you love what we’re doing and want to be part of our future success, consider sponsoring a service. If you love what we’re doing and have the skills to join in, let me know. We’d love to have you.
Thank you for coming on this experiment with me. Thank you for helping make Temple Rodeph Torah a place where we are inspired for the future. Keep an eye out for announcements of all our special services and concerts; every week has the potential to be inspiring. I hope you’ll come on the journey with us.
Cantor Joanna Alexander