Art of Shulmanship is the name given to the series of seminars that, as the name implies, provide knowledge on how to get the best out of attending a synagogue, whether as a leader of prayer or a congregant. The inspiration behind the seminars is EAJL, the European Academy for Jewish Liturgy, and its Founder and Director, Cantor Jacky Chernett. She has worked closely with the Masorti Movement Director, Matt Plen, to create a one-day seminar divided into periods of study with light refreshments and some collective davening along the way.
The two seminars so far have covered a variety of topics from advanced cantorial skills to basic liturgical navigation finding your way around a Siddur. Teachers at the seminars have included Cantors Jacky Chernett, Stephen Cotsen and Norman Cohen Falah, Rabbis Jonathan Wittenberg, Joel Levy and (student Rabbi) Rafi Kaiserblueth, together with Rina Wolfson, Elkan Presman, and Marc Shoffren.
Over 50 people attended the January event at New North London Synagogue. The seminar's value was in the opportunity to study with real experts in their respective fields, and in the chance to meet fellow students of Jewish prayer leadership and share their stories. I already have the third seminar in June in my diary and look forward to hearing what workshops are on offer. For anyone thinking of attending, but cannot decide, all I can say is that there is something there for everyone no matter what singing or Hebrew skills you might have. Give it a try. - Steve Griffiths, EAJL Director of Course Administration