SILVER SPRING, Md., July 1 MD-Jewish-music-chrch
“Song of the Soul” Embraces Music, Social Action to Inspire Worship, Learning
SILVER SPRING, Md., July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Rabbi Gerry Serotta and Cantor Ramon Tasat have agreed to become the religious leaders of Shirat HaNefesh (Song of the Soul), an emerging Jewish congregation in southern Montgomery County, MD that seeks to express its faith through music, prayer, lifelong learning, and repairing the world (tikkun olam).
Serotta and Tasat will lead Shirat HaNefesh’s religious services and work with the community to provide a full range of lifelong Jewish learning opportunities, including b’nai mitzvah training, to members and their children.
Founded in May 2008, Shirat HaNefesh is an unaffiliated community that draws from all Jewish traditions and denominations. Shirat HaNefesh members include traditional and non-traditional families, Jews by choice and birth, and non-Jews who seek the Jewish spiritual experience Shirat HaNefesh offers.
“We are very excited that Rabbi Serotta and Cantor Tasat have agreed to lead our new community and bring their energy, imagination and inspiration to Shirat HaNefesh,” says steering committee member Heidi Coleman. “Rabbi Serotta’s learning and focus on social action plus Cantor Tasat’s skills as an operatic tenor and teacher of liturgical music will help make Shirat HaNefesh a home for those seeking a joyous expression of their faith.”
Serotta says he sees his role at Shirat HaNefesh as teacher, community organizer and facilitator of Jewish spiritual growth, both personal and communal. “Today virtually all American Jews are in some ways ‘Jews by choice,'” Serotta says. “Shirat HaNefesh recognizes and builds on this restless diversity by striving to offer something new.”
Before joining Shirat HaNefesh, Serotta worked as the associate rabbi at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, MD. Previously, he was Hillel director at The George Washington University and earlier at Rutgers, Vassar and CCNY. Serotta has also been the Senior Rabbinic Scholar-in-Residence at the Religious Action Center. He is the current co-chair of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America (http://www.rhr-na.org).
Tasat: “bringing a rich musical tradition”
Tasat says music will play an important role at Shirat HaNefesh. “My goal is to bring a rich musical tradition that inspires both joy and contemplation,” said Tasat. He plans to use a choir and instrumentalists to enhance the spirituality and communal participation of different religious services.
One of the most celebrated cantors locally and internationally, Tasat is also the director of Cantorial Studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion, musical advisor of the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Music Festival, president of Shalshelet: The Foundation for New Jewish Liturgical Music. Tasat recently worked at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, MD and has made numerous recordings of Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jewish music.
For more information about Shirat HaNefesh, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.shirathanefesh.org/” www.shirathanefesh.org.