Temple Jeremiah

 

Thank You from Cantor Adam Kahan

My friends, I am so grateful that I get to call you exactly that…my friends. Over the last four years of my tenure at Temple Jeremiah, I have been the recipient of so many kindnesses, so many beautiful conversations and exchanges…so many endearing shared experiences, and navigations through the inevitably challenging times in our lives. I will surely miss your company, your smile, and your generosity, but I will carry with me the mark you have left on me, and whom I have become in my time here at Temple Jeremiah.

I first arrived in this pulpit as I embarked on the journey to officially becoming a cantor. I originally entered school with the naive assumption that I was going to learn some music and get a piece of paper that made me all “official.” I hadn’t a full appreciation for the level of transformation I would get to, and have to, undergo.

Becoming a clergy member, whether it be rabbi or cantor, requires so very much more of someone, in scholarly, spiritual, and emotional contexts, than simply learning things like sacred music or Torah. Regardless of the scholarly material absorbed, you are being asked to be a partner and advocate for the community in a very special way. That partnership inherently requires two parties, and I am so blessed to have had you as my mentors, and as my partners willing to receive what I hoped to share.

I came to Temple Jeremiah with a beautiful son and my beloved wife. During my time here we have been blessed to have our daughter join our crew and to have you so warmly love and support us. There are few greater joys, in my life, than seeing my children come bounding through these halls, happily loving their life in such a beautiful Jewish context. A quick shout-out to my sister’s family, who are also members here at TJ, and whom I delight in seeing on Sunday mornings. It is wonderful to see my temple family merged together with my biological family…so much love in one place. I have adored those Sunday mornings. The music created with our students has been amazing…simply amazing. They sing with such vigor, and joy. I love it.

I am so proud of all that we have accomplished in our exploration over these four years. That is purely a product of our whole team here. I am excited to see what is created in the years to come. Rabbi Cohen and Rabbi Heaps bring such wisdom and guidance, and with the addition of Cantor Friedman as a partner in that trio, there is clearly good times ahead.

Dr. Lidsky will undoubtedly continue to lead her team in bringing wonderfully educational, fun, and loving Judaic experiences to our students. Danny Glassman and the amazing staff here will do all the unsung work that keeps this place in its magnificence. Few have a full glimpse of the operations here, or else all would stand in awe and amazement of the accomplishments from this team. I think about my coworkers, my team, and I am so humbled in the thought of the kindnesses they have shed on me through this journey. For your friendship, your lent hand of support, I will forever be grateful.

I’m so proud of our Adult Choir. I’m so proud of our Junior Choir. Your expression through music is gorgeous…your smiles, addictive. I am honored to have had such a gracious and knowledgeable partner in David Lornson. Beyond his musicianship, his commitment to making things “work” is unending and simply a gift.

I am so very proud of each and every B’nai Mitzvah student with whom I studied. You taught me, and I am beyond honored that I had the good fortune of being with you at such a momentous time in your life. That may be the thing that fills me with the most pride. I am beyond grateful for each tutor who guided those students with such gentleness and support. Early on I declared that our program was going to be one where students felt love, warmth, support, and coaching as they navigated the transformative experience of becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. We were to eliminate the triggers for feelings of “pressure” or “performance” and replace them with strengthening reassurances that they can grow through the successes and setbacks inherent in any process. Each of our tutors perfectly executed our mission, and I am so happy that our young adults came to the Torah, so powerfully, in this context. To that end, I will forever be appreciating the partnership of SaraBeth Salzman, who brilliantly constructed the role of B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator for this temple, through her real-time discoveries. She has been a gift to the community, and especially to me.

I was thinking, the other day, on how we celebrate beginnings so much, and we generally approach endings as if they are something at which we should avert our eyes. There are exceptions, certainly, as we herald graduations and treat some funerals as celebrations of life. As I thought about the ending of my time here at Temple Jeremiah, I realized how much of a celebration it ought to be…a graduation, indeed. We can easily look back at the last four years and view all that we have experienced together, all the shared love, warmth, generosity, and growth. I keep using the words “honored” and “grateful,” but they are just so apt. You have touched my life. You have given to my soul. You have crafted me to whom I have become. I am grateful. I am honored. I thank you.

To many more wonderful moments ahead in each of our lives.

With love,
Cantor Adam Kahan

Adam Kahan

About Adam Kahan

Adam Kahan joins Temple Jeremiah as its Cantorial Soloist while pursuing his Cantorial Certification through the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. He has spent the last 20 years honing his craft in communal music and singing with several North Shore synagogues, dedicated to leaving people touched, moved, and inspired by their shared experiences. As the leader of his band, Kavanah, and as a teacher in classrooms and music programs, Adam strove to bring others to new discoveries that reinvigorated one’s experience of life. Having been a camper, counselor, and songleader at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, the Reform Movement camp in Wisconsin, Adam focuses on bringing the lasting messages of camp home to our community. Namely, he has a commitment that, children and adults alike, are left with a sense of belonging, connection, and excitement about what is possible from their Judaic world, and beyond. Adam grew up as part of a loving and vibrant family in Highland Park, and as a member of Am Shalom in Glencoe. Watching his father serve as temple president under Rabbi Harold Kudan, and learning from the Religious Educator, Sharon Morton, Adam learned that we all matter, each of us can make a difference, and it is our responsibility to actually make that difference. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Adam turned his focus to connecting with congregations, rather than audiences, engaging students in a conversation rather than a stale lecture. His contagious enthusiasm and energy invites you to jump in and be a part of the discovery. Adam proudly considers himself a member of the Hava Nashira Songleading Community. Combining his training from the Hebrew Union College and Hava Nashira, Adam looks to share the music newly emerging in our movement, and celebrate the traditions that have enriched and established the path along which we traveled. Adam and his wife, Michelle, live in Evanston with their children, Alexander and Talia, and are thrilled to be so warmly welcomed into the Temple Jeremiah community.

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