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Notes from Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

06/06/2023 10:14:46 AM


Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

The Power of Community

06/06/2023 07:55:02 AM


Pirkei Avot teaches us: "Al Tifrosh min hatzibbur", "Do not separate yourself from the community".

The name of our congregation is "Adath Shalom". The Hebrew word "Adath" means community (of). Some synagogue names begin with the word "Beit" or "Beth" meaning house (of). We are more than a "house". We are a community. 

This past shabbat was a demonstration of how joyful it can be to be among community. In fact, for me this...Read more...

October 27, 2018 - Where Were You?

05/29/2023 09:00:57 PM


Where were you on Shabbat morning, October 27, 2018. Once I remind you of the significance of that date, I am sure you will remember where you were as clearly as you remember where you were on the morning of 9/11/2001. October 27, 2018 - 18 Cheshvan 5779 - Parshat Vayera. On that date I officiated at a private bat mitzvah. When I emerged from the hall, I turned on my phone and saw my first alerts about the attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in...Read more...

Torah Trope  - Part  6

05/22/2023 09:00:57 PM


One of the biggest challenges for Torah readers is mastering the reading of the Ten Commandments. If you look at some printed texts of the Torah which include trope symbols (te'amim), you might see what appear to be more than one trope symbol for each word in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments appears in two places in the Torah. One is in the book of Exodus (chapter 20) and then again later in the book of Deuteronomy (chapter 5). I...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 5 

05/12/2023 06:06:48 PM


     In English the word "trop" or "trope" is used to refer to the system of chanting the Torah, however, in Hebrew we refer to the symbols as "Ta'amay Hamikra", or simply "te'amim".   The word actually means "taste". The melodies are referred to as "n'ginot". We are all familiar with the "n'ginot" that the Lithuanian Jews brought with them when they came to America in the 19th century. In fact, the...Read more...

Let's do  this B'yachad!

05/09/2023 11:23:50 AM


     May 7 was the last day of Religious School for this year. There are so many people to thank for our successful year. As I drove to school early in the morning I mentally planned my closing message. The word that continuously came to my mind was "B'yachad" - Together. This year could not have been successful without the guidance and help of so many. Our teachers, madrichim, parents, committee members, Pam in the...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 4  

04/30/2023 04:09:40 PM


     The  system of trope includes  28 symbols which indicate not only melody, but syllabic stress and punctuation as well. The symbols are classified into two groups: one group being separators (disjunctives) and the other group serving as connectors (conjunctives). If  you learn to identify just two of these symbols and understand how they function to break up a pasuk (biblical verse - sentence)...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 3  

04/25/2023 02:52:50 PM


I have been reading Torah for many, many years. For a long time it felt like an exercise in memorization since the vowels and the trope do not appear in the Torah. As you know, one prepares a Torah reading by using a book called a tikkun. The tikkun shows each column in the Torah in two ways: one without vowels and trope markings and one "dressed" with vowels and trope markings. The reader must not only prepare the correct...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 2

04/18/2023 03:10:35 PM


     Who created the system of trope? Ezra the Scribe led a group of Jews back to the land of Israel from Babylonian exile. Ezra found the Jews had neglected the regular study of Torah and he instituted the public readings on Mondays, Thursdays, Shabbat and Festivals that we still follow to this day. Mondays and Thursdays were chosen because they were the days Jews gathered in public squares to buy and sell their wares. This...Read more...

Torah Trope 101

04/09/2023 01:08:10 PM


Guest contributor: Rabbi Allen Darnov

     Adath Shalom can boast a host of Torah readers able to leyen (read) Torah on sabbaths and holidays.  These individuals have not only superb Hebrew skills, they have also mastered the “accents” or ta’amim attached to the Torah’s words which have crucial importance. Look at a line of Hebrew in the Bible: the signs that don’t appear to be vowels are musical...Read more...


04/04/2023 09:42:32 AM


     How can I do a series of Passover articles about seder songs without mentioning everyone's favorite?  Dayeinu! If you use a traditional haggadah, you will see that the Dayeinu song actually consists of15 verses. We commonly explain that the word "dayeinu" which is sung as the chorus and nowadays, even as a standalone song means "it would have been enough for us". Each line describes an action of God for which we...Read more...

The Journey Song by Debbie Friedman 

03/26/2023 08:22:58 PM


    In the mid 1990's, I served a congregation in Westchester, NY. In those years the ground breaking Jewish singer/songwriter Debbie Friedman was leading Passover seders for women. These sedarim inspired many communities to create their own womens sedarim (seders). Haggadot were compiled incorporating women's themes. In 2000, the first edition of  "The Journey Continues"  Haggadah   was published by...Read more...

06/05/2023 10:31:33 PM


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06/05/2023 10:20:02 PM


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Ma Nishtana? 

03/19/2023 07:49:13 PM


     Last week I wrote about the end of the seder, but today I want to write about the beginning. Probably the best known part of the seder is the singing of the 4 questions. For generations one rite of passage for a Jewish child was the recitation of this text. I was the youngest of four children and I remember the thrill of being able to take my turn to lead the four questions. I still remember the voice of the boy soprano...Read more...

Pesach -  A musically rich festival 

03/12/2023 03:39:01 PM


     While most people will look forward to the food of Passover:  the matzah ball soup, the brisket and the desserts, I look forward and backward to the music. I say "backward" because Pesach is filled with memories of seders past, especially those of my childhood. My husband has little patience for my insistence on singing every stanza of the long songs that end the seder. And, it is true that my father too...Read more...

 Haynt is Purim Brider! 

03/07/2023 01:47:34 PM


     I am writing this on Purim day, but you will probably not read this until Shushan Purim. Those of us who live in walled cities get to continue our celebration on Shushan Purim. What is Shushan Purim? Shushan was a walled city and according to the megillah, the fighting in Shushan which was a walled city continued through Adar 14th, so they celebrated the following day, the 15th of Adar. Do you live in a walled...Read more...

The Tastes and Sounds of Purim 

02/26/2023 06:36:42 PM


     Purim is definitely in the air at Adath Shalom! It didn't just creep in quietly,  it announced itself with cheers, joy and song. As I write this we are still 8 days away from Purim, but we have already started celebrating.  Of course, a favorite theme of Purim songs is the food we eat.  After all, singing about traditional foods is almost as fun as eating them. One of my favorite...Read more...

Rejoice!  Adar is Here!!

02/19/2023 08:23:04 PM


For myself and my husband, Allen, the phrase "Mishenichnas Adar marbin b'simchah" (When Adar begins, our joy increases) has special meaning. Our first born son is named Adar. Although we didn't know if we would be planning a bris or simchat bat, the baby's arrival...Read more...

Baruch - Who /What is being blessed? 

02/14/2023 02:37:21 PM


     One of the common misunderstandings I have encountered is the confusion about who or what is being "blessed" when we utter a b'rachah. When we recite  the  blessing before lighting candles, are we blessing the candles? When we recite the kiddush  are we blessing the wine? The simple answer is no. The word "barukh" is followed by "atah Ado---ai". The word "baruch" is modifying God. So, what...Read more...

What is a B'rakhah? 

02/05/2023 08:15:21 PM


     The Talmud instructs us that Jews should recite 100 blessings a day. We begin our day with many blessings as part of our daily liturgy. B'rakhot are a device to focus our awareness of the miracles great and small in our lives. When we pause to acknowledge the miracle of a morsel of food or the ability of our body to function, we bring holiness to the moment. So, what is a b'rakhah? Yes, I am sure you can recite many...Read more...

Shabbat Shirah

01/29/2023 04:59:57 PM


     This coming shabbat will be a very special one at Adath Shalom. It is Shabbat Shirah, "The Sabbath of Song". Shabbat Shirah gets its name from the torah portion which features the poem sung by  Moses, Miriam  and the Israelites in celebration of   the miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea. This poem is actually a part of our daily liturgy. It is recited in its entirely in the preliminary...Read more...

Morning Blessings

01/23/2023 07:10:42 PM


If you are an early arriver to shabbat morning services, then you might catch the string of 15 blessings known as "Birchot Hashachar" (The morning blessings). They are recited quickly, maybe too quickly to completely process the message of each one. These blessings, which originated in the Talmud corresponded with the actions we all do in the morning. There is a blessing for opening our eyes, for getting dressed, putting a kippah on our...Read more...


01/15/2023 06:11:17 PM


Communal tefillah  (prayer) is about responding to  and interacting with whoever is leading the tefillot (Prayers).The person who leads the tefillah is called "sh'liach tzibbur" - the messenger of the congregation. (A female is called a "shlichat tzibbur"). I know, it is a bit of a mouthful, but you can also use the shortened contraction "SHATZ". What is the idea of a sh'liach tzibbur or messenger of the congregation? In...Read more...

Start Your Day with ADON OLAM!

01/10/2023 12:38:34 PM


Adon Olam is everyone's favorite prayer, right? It signals the end of the service and the next activity which is the Oneg or Kiddush! It is usually sung to a bouncy, happy tune or a melody stolen from pop music and hardly reflects the spiritual essence of this poem. Adon Olam has been ascribed to the poet Solomon Ibn Gabirol who lived in the 11th century. It might shock you to learn that in most traditional siddurim, including...Read more...


12/30/2022 01:04:55 PM


     How many of you have ever followed a diet? There seem to be a few core habits that make diets work: consistency and flexibility. On the one hand, we have to commit to a daily regiment of eating or avoiding certain foods. On the other hand, we are encouraged to "change it up" and add new foods so we don't get bored . I would say the same concepts apply to prayer. The two main ingredients of Jewish prayer are "Kevah"...Read more...


12/19/2022 02:43:19 PM


Last week I challenged you to "go on a hunt for Chanukah music that moves you either emotionally or spiritually". Every holiday provides so many opportunities for us to express our Judaism. There are rituals, there is food, there are sights, but for me, I don't feel I have fully taken in the holiday unless I have fully saturated my ears with the music. The sounds go straight from my ears to my heart. Yes, the Adam Sandler song is fun......Read more...


12/13/2022 12:48:16 PM


     I have often heard that Chanukah music is not nearly as beautiful as Christmas music. Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel is fun... but it is not glorious or soul lifting. To those of you who are of the opinion that Christmas music is much more beautiful than anything we have have to offer... I humbly suggest that maybe you are not aware of the amazing repertoire that is out there. Yes, there are a lot of children's ditties, and,...Read more...

Practicing or a practice? 

12/04/2022 07:21:46 PM


     Recently, I was trying to encourage a student to come to services in the months leading up to their becoming a bar/bat mitzvah. The student said "why do I have to come to services, I already learned all the prayers in religious school". Yes, indeed, if one  were to wander through the halls  and overhear our vav and zayin students "practice" their tefillot (prayers) with Morah Nurit, you might be pretty...Read more...


11/28/2022 09:06:36 AM


SHABBAT! A gift to yourself! Shabbat is a restful pause where we hold our hands up to the outside world, saying "give me some space to breathe... I will get back to you on that to do item on Sunday."  My week has always centered around SHABBAT. A Jew is always moving in time towards or away from Shabbat. My husband and I used to joke that on Sunday we already start planning for the next Shabbat! I have always been sad that so...Read more...


11/16/2022 06:26:13 PM


Gratitude is a main theme of Jewish prayer. In fact, Jewish prayer has often been summed up by the words: Thank you, WOW and Please. Upon waking up we begin our day by thanking God for our souls, our bodies and our Judaism. One of the first prayers taught to Jewish children was always the prayer "Modeh Ani". "I am grateful to You, living and enduring Sovereign, for restoring my soul to me in compassion. You are faithful beyond measure. The...Read more...


11/07/2022 02:29:28 PM


     ALL IN ONE WEEKEND AT ADATH SHALOM! On Thursday, there was an FBI alert requiring us to strengthen our security measures. Maybe some communities would have shut down, but we did not do anything of the sort. We strengthened our security and police presence and carried on.  We had so many amazing and rewarding activities all in one weekend. So mnay vounteers were involved in organizing each activity. We kicked off...Read more...

Parshat Noah PET BLESSING: 

11/02/2022 01:06:41 PM


Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

It was a glorious, sunny fall day!

Our pets, including about 15 dogs, 1 cat and 1 bird, assembled to be 

appreciated and celebrated for the special gifts they  give to us. 

Dr. Ron Bucher, a holistic veterinarian spoke to us about holistic animal care, 

a blessing was recited and doggie-goody bags were distributed. 

Donations were also collected for the 11th hour...


10/25/2022 01:42:06 PM


The Hebrew month of Cheshvan begins Wednesday, Oct. 26 and you will hear the sigh of relief from Jewish professionals around the world. The actual name of the month is Marcheshvan. Some say the prefix "mar" which means "bitter" in Hebrew refers to the fact that no Jewish holidays occur during this month, so therefore it is bitter.   However, the true etymology is that the name Marcheshvan is actually Akkadian. The original...Read more...


10/19/2022 04:18:53 PM


Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

When I was trying to think of a Jewish inspirational  quote for my article, I was reminded of something that I heard from Sheila Adler. Sheila Adler was one of the most successful  Jewish educators I have been privileged to work with.  She received her Masters Degree of Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1986 and served as the President of the Jewish Educators Assembly. She was the Religious School...Read more...


10/12/2022 04:58:48 PM


Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

The Grand Finale to the month long chain of holidays is upon us. The seriousness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur gives way to the joy of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. At the same time, we are treated to the spectacle of the leaves as they change color, are released from the branches of the trees and float down to the ground. I grew up in Massachusetts and I never tire of the very slow moving fireworks display  of the Fall....Read more...


10/06/2022 08:46:42 AM



     The first mitzvah after Yom Kippur is to build the Sukkah to prepare for the festival of Sukkot which is only 5 days after Yom Kippur. I now realize that my penchant of over scheduling myself may have roots in my Judaism... but I digress... Sukkot is a multi sensory holiday... a feast for the eyes, ears and I would argue it is the best smelling holiday.If you want to know more about sukkot please click on...Read more...


09/28/2022 04:46:11 PM


Some of you may know that I am a weaver. I have dabbled a bit in knitting and crochet as well. I once read the following in a book about crochet: "Ripping out in crochet is a way of undoing something that's been done incorrectly, a technique I would find very useful in life." 

I typed out this quote and keep on a bulletin board. Anyone who has sewn, knitted or crocheted, or woven knows that ripping out and redoing a section is...Read more...


09/19/2022 11:58:07 AM


Each year, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel, Federation brings a delegation of emissaries to Greater MetroWest to educate children, teens, and adults through the community about Israel, its people, and its culture. The   "Rishonim" are a cohort of teens  who are in their gap year between high school and army service. They are partnered with  synagogues and schools  such as ours to...Read more...


09/13/2022 06:34:07 PM


My father always said: "All Beginnings are Difficult". Of course he said it in Hebrew, "Kol Hatchalot Kashot".  I always hear that statement as advice reminding me to keep stepping forward even when I am forging a new path of some kind. This summer I had a new beginning as the Cantor and Director of the Religious School at Adath Shalom. I am sure many of you are being challenged by your own "new beginnings". This month the sound of...Read more...


08/31/2022 05:33:53 PM


THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER METROWEST: What an amazing resource!! I am still getting to know the strengths of this community. This week I had the pleasure of participating in a meeting of Religious School Directors hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest. I had the opportunity to hear about all the programs  being offered in support of  our Jewish community. As I listened to the many presentations of...Read more...


08/23/2022 03:20:37 PM


     My husband and I have been slowly purging some of the possessions we have accumulated over the years. We started almost a year ago and have continued to work through the clutter in fits and spurts. I have found that the constant decision making is exhausting, but once I decide to rid myself of an object and do whatever has to be done to remove the object from my home, I feel a great sense of relief. I realize I...Read more...

Sat, June 10 2023 21 Sivan 5783