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June 13, 2014
15 Sivan 5774

Dear Fellow Mount Zion Member,
We at Mount Zion are blessed to have extraordinarily skilled cantorial leadership in Cantor Rachel Stock Spilker and Cantor Jennifer Strauss-Klein.  We know that a cantor offers much more than a singing voice, and I am writing to share an update about how our two cantors will be sharing this important clergy role going forward.  Our clergy and lay leaders have put much thought and care into a plan that will best serve Mount Zion and honor both our cantors, their professional strengths, and their relationships with congregants.  While we initially considered "Cantor Emerita" as Cantor Spilker's new title, with further thought we realized that it does not accurately describe the role that she will have in our community.  Our two cantors will continue to work together to serve our congregation, each retaining the professional title of Cantor.  
For the past years, both cantors have been at 60% time. Beginning July 1, Cantor Strauss-Klein will serve as our primary cantor increasing her time to 85%, while Cantor Spilker will transition to a quarter-time position.  Cantor Strauss-Klein will officiate at most Shabbat evening (Friday) services, all Shabbat morning (Saturday) services when our students become B'nei Mitzvah, and all holy day services.  She will oversee our musical liturgy and program and will continue her current duties, adding to them responsibility for coordinating Torah Tones (our adult choir) and the Parents and Tots program.  Cantor Spilker will continue to lead Shir Tzion (our children's choir), and will be the liaison to our growing inclusion efforts and our annual women's retreat, Our Bodies, Our Souls.  She will have an increased focus on pastoral care, supporting our emerging strategic plan which centers on strengthening connections within Mount Zion.
B'nei Mitzvah tutoring will continue as it has for the past five years with each cantor covering half of the students' tutoring time (every student will begin tutoring with Cantor Spilker and finish with Cantor Strauss-Klein).  We are among the few congregations in the country where B'nei Mitzvah students work directly with a cantor throughout their training.
We are certainly fortunate to have such talented cantors at Mount Zion.  As we review their new configuration periodically over the coming year, we will ensure it best serves everyone concerned.  We welcome your reflections as we go forward. Please direct your feedback directly and privately to me or to any of our clergy.  


Ellen B. Rest, President