Cantor David Lipp wants to showcase Jewish Louisville for his colleagues when they converge on the city next month for the 72nd Cantors Assembly Convention.
Lu Y’hi B’Louisville (Let it be in Louisville) is the theme of the international gathering from May 19 to 23. About 130 cantors are expected to attend the convention, where Lipp will be installed as their next president. He will serve a two-year term.
The Cantors Assembly is the professional organization for the Conservative/Masorti cantorate. It has about 600 members around the world.
The gathering, which will include some of the best-known clerics in the Conservative cantorate, will be treated to some of the best local Jewish talent.
“I wanted to try to pull out things that we do in Louisville that you just can’t get anywhere else,” said Lipp, who is taking a lead role in planning the convention.
Here’s the litany of local Jewish, musicians, writers, clerics and performers:
• Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will deliver a welcoming address;
• Cantor Sharon Hordes will perform a show of Ladino music;
• Michael Fraade will speak about his JOFEE fellowship;
• Rabbi Robert Slosberg will address the challenges of Masorti Judaism in Israel;
• Rob Amchin will teach two education track sessions to explore a Chelm story and the Holocaust poem, I Never Saw Another; Butterfly.
• Jonathan Lippman will read a short story he wrote for the occasion; Bob Sachs also will read one of his pieces;
• Yehuda Husband will teach an education track session on making your own animated film;
• Fred Whittaker will describe his long fight to make Holocaust education mandatory in Kentucky public schools;
• Hordes and her predecessor, Cantor Paula Pepperstone, will perform together;
• Lost Tribe, the local klezmer band, will perform;
• The Voces Novae choir will sing at a concert featuring cantorial students from the Jewish Theological Seminary;
• Seinfeld composer Jonathan Wolf will reflect on his career in Hollywood;
• Rabbi Michael Wolk, the son of a cantor, will talk about his passion for classical cantorial music;
• Celebrities from the Kentucky Homefront public radio show will put on a “Jewgrass” concert; and
• Rabbi David Ariel-Joel will discuss the Maaleh, Israel’s only school for Orthodox filmmakers. (He regularly underwrites screenings of the students’ pictures at the Louisville Jewish Film Festival.) He will show at least two films.
“I wanted to bring to my colleagues something they can get in Louisville that they can’t get anywhere else,” Lipp said.
In a special attraction, portions of an upcoming musical play written by Cantor Steven Stoehr, The Lost Supper, about a Passover seder Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had planned to attend at the home of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, will be performed.
“Heschel had invited Martin Luther King to the seder [in 1968], but he was assassinated before he got there,” Lipp said. “This is what he (Stoehr) imagined that seder might have been.” He added that the story may be apocryphal.
Two local actors will be in the play: Yehuda Husband will play King and Tamika McDonald will play Coretta Scott King.
The shootings at Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha synagogue in Pittsburgh will be remembered at the convention when the rabbi of Tree of Life, Jeffrey Myers, who also is a cantor, will address the gathering.
The highlight of the convention will be the Wednesday Capitvating Cantors Concert at Adath Jeshurun. Some 130 cantors will be the choir for that performance, but, in a twist, the boards of all four progressive congregations and the JCL are being asked to sing backup in a Kululam-inspired performance.
Want to go?
Tickets for the Captivating Cantors Concert are available adathjeshurun.com/CantorsConcert. Day passes for the rest of the convention can be obtained by going to cantors.org/72nd-annual-cantors-assembly-convention-registration/.