HAZZAN ALISA POMERANTZ-BORO
I spend my life listening to voices. I listen for your voices when we daven. I hear the voices of those who came before me and I am inspired by the history and passion of their prayers. I listen to every Torah reader. I listen to B’nai Mitzvah students. One of the highlights of my week is singing with our Early Childhood Center before Shabbat. I love singing with our special needs population. I listen to your insight when we study together. I hear you when you come to me to pour out your heart. I love hearing your stories and your Jewish journeys and learning about how you met your partner and fell in love. I listen with a full heart as you share remembrances of your family members who have passed. I listen when you laugh and I listen when you cry. I relish the sound of growing confidence as you challenge yourselves. I admire the dedicated voices of our choirs. I believe that Gd’s presence infuses our world when every voice is heard.
The theme of my Presidency, and perhaps, of my life, is Every Voice. I have always felt that my voice mattered. I feel extraordinarily grateful that I was raised in a loving, Jewish home; embraced by my caring community. As the daughter of a rabbi and a Jewish educator, I was given the opportunity to speak, to question and to lead. I learned that everyone’s voice deserves attention. To make a difference in the world, each of us has to find our own voice. The personal triumphs and tragedies we each face modulate our voice. When I became a mother to my very special and miraculous daughter, Rebecca, that message was brought home in a very real way. My responsibility, both as a mother and as a Hazzan, is to enable every voice to be recognized for the blessings that it brings. For the insecure or shy student, for the nonverbal who uses a device to communicate, for the grandmother reading Torah for the first time, for the Russian immigrant celebrating in freedom, for the battered and the broken; every voice deserves attention.
Our world is filled with wonderful voices. Our voices signal the strength of our community. They give us courage and faith and only sound perfect when we are all singing together. Each voice is distinctive, yet can weave in and out of the collective sound. We can use our voices for song, for prayer, for gratitude, for healing and for peace. When we raise our voices together in song with others, we allow the power of music to express the deepest hopes and prayers for all people, for every voice.
Hazzan Alisa Pomerantz-Boro