2020 Virtual Celebration Journal Journal 2020 Final - Page 18

P R E S ENTING L UI S C ATTAN AS R A B B I AN D TEACHER I N I S R AEL L U I S C AT TA N hsugc hvk-tk vrnzt ; hhjc wvk vrhat wvc jnat hfbt ; hjha uhkg crgh Let me sing to the Lord while I live, Let me hymn to my God while I breathe. Presented by Rabbi Edwin Farber I have had the privilege, for several decades now, of both watching Luis’s career develop in America, and of sharing the Bima with him for a number of years at Beth Torah. He brings a level of devotion, love, skill, and commitment to his work that is very impressive. Match that with a sweetness and sincerity of personality and you have what we like to call “the whole package.” When people hear him, they are led into the Tefillah because they sense his genuine love of the words and the melodies. With Luis you get a singing congregation, and the enthusiasm and joy permeates the entire room. Beyond even his love of davening is his desire to teach so that people really understand Jewish prayer and Jewish tradition. He often taught classes in the adult education program which gave people a totally new and deeper appreciation of Jewish liturgy. His knowledge of the Sephardic customs and melodies enriches the Tefillah experience for all. Luis is also a great role model in how he is always learning and growing. People see how he continues to study Torah and raise his knowledge of Judaica to greater heights. We always tell people that a Jew never stops learning. The Rabbis tell us that the best way to teach is: 1) by example; 2) by example; 3) by example. That is the way Luis teaches. He sets the example as a Jewish professional and people take it to heart. His love of all Jewish learning led him to AJR to expand his understanding of Torah. When Luis told me about his studies at AJR, I was thrilled. I know him as a person who is never satisfied with the status quo. He always wants to learn more, do more, and be challenged. He always believes there are new things to learn to enhance himself as a Jew and to strengthen his work with his congregation and its members. Through his studies at AJR, he adds the title of Rabbi and Teacher to his impressive resume, and his synagogue and our Jewish community will be better and stronger because of it. Kol HaKavod and Mazal Tov to my colleague and friend. BEIT DIN Rabbi Jeff Hoffman - Somekh Rabbi Matthew Goldstone Rabbi Len Levin 16 AJR 2020 ~ Psalms 104:33-34 I always say that I didn’t choose to be a cantor. The cantorate chose me. However, in becoming a rabbi, the story is different. Ever since the seed was planted, back when I was an assistant cantor in Montevideo, Uruguay, my home town, I always sought to increase my Jewish knowledge and, unfortunately, it always became more difficult to achieve. It wasn’t until AJR created the Cantors to Rabbis program that I found the opportunity to fulfill that goal in my life. AJR not only provided me with a path towards that goal, but also with the inspiration and knowledge to better serve my calling. I fondly treasure the learning done at my Jewish day school: “Instituto Ariel Hebreo- Uruguayo” (“Ariel” Hebrew-Uruguayan institute). It was my second home from ages 3 to 17. My Judaic studies in Uruguay (Nativ), in Israel (Machon L’madrichei Chul), and at the Latin American Rabbinical Seminar “Marshal T. Meyer” of Buenos Aires completed what can be considered an eclectic, broad, and all-encompassing education, not only academically, but also socially. I served as Cantor of the NCI (New Israelite Congregation), the main Conservative Congregation in Montevideo for over 15 years. I was also their Youth Director and Religious School Director. During this time, I was a co-founder of Masorti Uruguay which eventually led to my role as one of the five International Vice-Presidents of Masorti Olami (the Zionist branch of the Conservative Movement). My college studies are in the field of social communication, particularly in advertising and marketing, from the Catholic University of Montevideo, where I became the first Jewish student to be appointed as a delegate. That experience inspired my passion for interfaith dialogue and pluralism. While an assistant cantor, I also dedicated myself to my other passion in the advertising corporate world for over a decade. Upon arriving in the United States with my family, my wife Silvia and our children Maia, Uri, Mili, and Ilai (who was born here in the U.S.), I became involved with the Cantor’s Assembly, the largest body of cantors in the world. After completing the intensive and comprehensive process of becoming a CICA graduate of the Cantors Assembly, I increased my involvement with the organization and eventually became the Vice-President of the Cantors Assembly — my way of giving back to the organization that opened its arms and welcomed me as an immigrant cantor. The welcoming spirit of AJR also became an important factor in this journey of becoming a rabbi. The faculty and the students are part of a sacred community where theory and practice are reflected in the compassion and solidarity that inpire the actions of each and every one of the AJR family members. Without their support, and the support and encouragement of my family, this amazing journey wouldn’t have been possible. AJR 2020 17