KIND WORDS FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
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Rabbi Reuven Taff 2022
To Whom It May Concern:
It is a great honor and privilege to submit this letter of reference on behalf of Cantor Ben Rosner. By way of background, I have served with Ben as his colleague and rabbi since he arrived to assume the position of Hazzan of our congregation, nine years ago. In addition, I have a perspective that not many rabbis possess; I myself served as a Hazzan for eighteen years before I began my studies for the rabbinate, the last eleven of those years as Hazzan and Director of Education at Beth El Congregation in Phoenix, Arizona, a synagogue affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. So, I truly understand the importance of the working relationship between rabbi and cantor.
With that background and with the years of working with Cantor Rosner, I can truly state that he is without doubt one of the finest Hazzanim in our profession. He chose the path of Hazzanut because it was his calling.
During Ben’s tenure at our congregation he has fulfilled all his duties and responsibilities with great success. His duties included training Bar and Bat Mitzvah candidates, teaching in our Religious School, coordinating the more than 200 volunteer Torah and Haftarah Readers for Shabbat and Holidays, and teaching in our Continuing Education Program for adults. In addition to his conducting of Shabbat and Holiday services, he also conducted and trained a choir and junior soloists for our High Holyday services and has also trained and conducted the Mosaic Law Band, which has performed at synagogue services on Friday evenings and community events. All these individuals are volunteers who love to sing and perform under his direction. He also assisted me in the pastoral duties of visiting congregants at home, in hospitals and nursing homes and officiating with me at all life cycle events. He possesses a sweet voice which he has developed over these years. Many congregants have commented how his already lovely voice resonates so beautifully, enhancing tremendously our Shabbat and holiday services.
As a member of our staff, Ben has always been a team player. He is blessed with the ability to relate to children and adults of all ages and has a wonderful sense of humor. His outreach and inreach to the members of our synagogue as well as to the community at-large has been exemplary. Since the beginning of COVID-19 when our synagogue closed and re-invented ways to conduct services and programs virtually, Ben has been our “go-to” person, helping to guide the congregation in the use of different platforms to allow our members to remain connected to each other. From his work to establish a new 20-30 group (the purpose to engage younger Jews in our congregation and community), to his ability to master the editing and publishing of user-friendly siddurim, Ben Rosner is, in my humble opinion, a rare jewel who deserves to be at a synagogue which will embrace and appreciate his talent and creativity.
Cantor Rosner is, without question, one of the most compassionate human beings and he is a positive role model to everyone who is fortunate to fall lovingly into his net. Ben possesses a sincere love for Judaism and has the unique ability to nourish people’s Jewish souls. He and I worked together not just as Rabbi and Hazzan, but as two equals whose respect for each other was never questioned. Ben possesses a gift of being a one-of-a-kind creative spirit. He is blessed with aneshama that enwraps you in a warm, loving embrace. His exceptional talents as a musician, cantor, teacher are the essential ingredients to enhancing the prayer experience. He is welcoming, compassionate and authentic. How fortunate I was to have him as my partner in leading our congregation for the last years of my rabbinate.
I pray that if you engage him as your Hazzan— that you will truly appreciate the gem you will have in your midst. I believe that any synagogue would give its eyeteeth to have a professional with the attributes of Cantor Rosner. Whichever synagogue chooses to engage Ben Rosner will be truly blessed. His positive energy and vitality will enhance your congregation and make it the Kehillah Kedusha that we all strive for our synagogues.
Rabbi Reuven H. Taff
Karl Zeff 2022
For Those Concerned,
I am very pleased to be able to provide this letter of reference for Cantor Ben Rosner. I wish to relate my wholehearted endorsement of his character and qualities demonstrating his cantorial excellence and personal appeal.
I have served on the Board of Trustees of Mosaic Law Congregation almost continuously for the past 16 years. Our synagogue in Sacramento, California, is a member of United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism. For most of this time I was also the chairman of the congregation’s Ritual Committee. During the nine years of Cantor Ben’s presence here at Mosaic Law, I have come to know him well personally and am very familiar with his cantorial duties and performance.
In framing this description of Cantor Ben, I am using a set of observations that are commonly used to determine the quality of a good physician, but can apply to most professionals including clergy. Frequently referred to as the “Triple A” criteria, it is based on how Available, Affable, and Able they are. Cantor Ben superbly meets all these benchmarks.
I have always known Cantor Ben to be available to answer a question, to hear a suggestion or complaint, or to make time for special assistance for any congregant asking. He has helped train congregants to lead services and has mentored young people who themselves had cantorial aspirations, no doubt inspired by Cantor Ben. He consistently attended almost all congregation board meetings and Ritual Committee meetings. He supervised participation in religious services, musical components of our religious school, and choir performance for High Holidays and other special occasions. He was a driving force in the founding of the congregation’s young adults social organization. He organized synagogue concerts and performed in them, as well as bringing in guest chazzanim both in person, and during services on Zoom during the pandemic. I have always envied what appears to be his limitless capacity to lead and be involved in so many duties and projects enhancing our congregation and the entire Jewish community.
His affability or friendliness is one of his key character traits. Not only is he a “nice guy”, but his equanimity is admirable. He is always willing to accept criticism and make accommodations. I find this quality would be especially necessary for successful cantor and clergy. He demonstrates personal calmness and appeal in meeting the needs of a diverse and sometimes demanding congregational constituency.
Finally, his abilities as a cantor are unmatched. Cantor Ben is an expert in all aspects of Jewish religious observance, especially those pertaining to public worship. His role as a teacher for B’nai Mitzvah students is strongly appreciated. He has also inspired those students to continue leading services and read Torah for many years after their Bar or Bat Mitzvah He remains committed to expanding the musical and prayer leadership within our congregation. His musicianship is undeniably great. He has a deep and broad knowledge of many musical instruments, especially string instruments. His innovative use of these instruments to enhance religious services on Erev Shabbat is particularly appealing. He made Friday night Shabbat services to be a well-attended and joyous experience. His mastery of these many instruments ranks him as one of the most talented cantors in the USA. His vocal skills are likewise very appealing. His voice can draw congregants to sing with him (which he encourages), but can also elicit spirituality and “kavanah” when just listening to him. He utilizes a variety of styles in his prayer leading. These range from classical cantorial pieces to those drawn from Sephardic music, modern Jewish composers, and even popular culture.
Cantor Ben Rosner has brought a depth of knowledge and professional skill that has enhanced our religious life at Mosaic Law. His personal appeal, musicianship, and Jewish leadership is widely appreciated. He would be a tremendous asset to any Jewish congregation.
Karl Zeff, MD
Dr. Irit Winston, Education Director, Mosaic Law Congregation 2013-2022
To Whom it May Concern,
It is with a great pleasure that I am writing my recommendation for my colleague, Cantor Ben Rosner. My name is Dr. Irit Winston and I have been working with Cantor Ben for ten years at Mosaic Law Congregation. I served as the Education Director and has worked closely with Cantor Ben, developing Synagogue programs and school’s curriculum, initiating kids friendly services, communicating with families, teaching B’nai Mitzvah students, and more. Currently I work at the California Department of Education in the position title Educational Program Consultant.
Cantor Ben is an enthusiastic individual who incorporates his musical skills into the cantorial position. His creativity and intellectual are a great combination for Synagogue’s services, life-cycle events, and programs. I am grateful for working with Cantor Ben and think he is an asset to the institution. During the time we worked together, we have developed and implemented various programs to different crowds such as, Tea Party for children and their grandparents, Shabababa for young families, and Sunday school morning services. Cantor Ben’s presence is crucial for the success of the Synagogue’s programs, he leads Tefillot and activities with Kavana (meaning) and charisma which enraptures participants while engaging them with Ruach.
Hiring Cantor Ben to your institution will enrich your work environment with kindness, diligence, and excellence.
Dr. Irit Winston
Educational Program Consultant
Analysis, Measurement, Accountability, and Reporting Division
California Department of Education
Cantor Ilana Wolpert 2022
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to highly recommend my friend and colleague, Cantor Ben Rosner. I have come to know Ben since my retirement from B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville, MD, where I served as Associate Cantor/RItual Director from 2010-2019, when I moved to Sacramento and joined Mosaic Law Congregation upon my arrival.
As soon as Ben learned I was a cantor, he began offering me opportunities to participate in services in all kinds of ways. I mention this because it points directly at his generous, warm spirit and his openness to congregational participation. Ben is the kind of cantor who takes great pleasure in enabling congregants to take ownership of the service. Devoid of any egotism, incredibly hard-working, and eager to create opportunities for synagogue members to find their place musically and spiritually, Ben has instituted and encouraged all kinds of programming that allows experienced congregants to lead parts of the service, and to encourage and teach those would like to learn more about how to daven or read Torah to do so.
Another area in which Ben shows outstanding skill is in his mastery of many musical instruments. In addition to singing beautifully, he can accompany himself on guitar or piano, and can also play bouzouki, mandolin, recorder, harmonica, hand percussion, and a variety of other instruments. Along with this competence comes a desire on his part to enlighten the congregation musically, providing special Friday night services that showcase Jewish liturgical music from different parts of the world. Possessing the uncanny ability to locate and befriend musicians both inside and outside of the congregation who are happy to participate in these special Shabbat services, he has treated Mosaic Law Congregation to Sephardic style services, as well as worship that is traditional and contemporary.
Somewhat relatedly, Ben instated a once a month Friday evening Shabbat experience called Shababababa, a musical service aimed at young families which is followed by a communal dinner. He is also responsible for leading Shabbat Under the Stars, a summertime outdoor worship experience that features musicians from both the congregation and the greater community.
Ben’s kind, warm presence has worked well for him when it comes to Bar and Bat Mitzvah preparation. Not only does he work successfully with the youngsters before their B’nai Mitzvah and during the Shabbat celebration itself, instilling in them confidence and teaching them poise, he also has had much success in bringing them back to the bima in the years following their B’nai Mitzvah to lead services and read Torah and Haftarah.
As I write this, Ben is seeking new positions and adventures, having served Mosaic Law so very effectively for nine years. As he embarks on the search process, however, he is still working on some exciting new ideas for our congregation. One of these is a Shabbat service featuring Jewish liturgical music from around the world, a service in which he is hoping to involve members of the congregation who have come to this country from different countries or whose background reflects something other than the usual American Jewish experience. These members will be asked to contribute briefly during the service, telling stories that will enlighten the congregation further about practicing Judaism in different parts of the world.
Ben is a talented, creative, and energetic person, committed to the cantorial arts with all his heart and soul, and a cantor who will lead and inspire any congregation through his davening, his teaching, and his profound knowledge of Judaism in its many facets.
Cantor Ilana Wolpert
Jonathan Lightman (Past President of MLC) and Janis Lightman (Sisterhood President) 2022
Janis and Jonathan Lightman Carmichael, California
December 5, 2022
Re: Cantor Ben Rosner
We have known Cantor Ben Rosner since he applied at Mosaic Law Congregation in 2012 and want to provide our personal reference for him. Specifically, we want to highlight three areas of talent which exemplify his strengths:
1) Musicality: Ben Rosner not only sings but plays many instruments and is a master of guitar. His work at our synagogue elevated the music in many different genres, including, but not limited to, Yiddish, Sephardic, traditional, modern, and Afro-Judaic, and before a diverse set of ages and audiences. From his personal rendition of Kermit the Frog—a hit with young children—to his flawless Ne’ilah, Ben’s musical range reflects incredible talent and joy in his work.
2) Helpfulness: Ben Rosner has helped in every aspect of the synagogue and was particularly essential when we transitioned to remote services, education, and programs during the pandemic. At that time, the senior rabbi was on sabbatical and both staff and volunteers were scrambling to address the new reality. Ben Rosner stepped in without hesitation to help guide this effort. We can expand upon countless examples where Ben was always there for every individual, organization, and segment of our community and offered help even when he was busy with other projects.
3) Menschlichkeit: There is no better word to describe Ben Rosner than as a friend and leader. Just as the Talmud instructs us to choose a rabbi and make a friend, so too would it apply to Ben as a talented chazzan and synagogue clergy. From pastoral care to program producer to musical director, Ben always conducts himself with the utmost of graciousness and in the spirit of friendship. He is a genuine mensch in all aspects of his life which has been a tremendous gift to our congregation and community.
Please give Ben Rosner your highest consideration in your employment search. You will be landing a highly talented cantor and extremely caring friend.
Jonathan Lightman Dr. Janis Lightman
Ryan Pessah MLC Board of Trustees 2022
Cantor Ben Rosner has been an integral part of the Sacramento community for more than 10 years. Since coming to Mosaic Law Congregation (MLC), he has brought many great musical aspects to our prayer services. His connection with other musicians and his passion for music is uplifting. While Cantor’s ability to lead services and bring more spirituality to MLC is a true strength, I was even more inspired by his social entrepreneurship.
Cantor was instrumental in the development of MLC’s LGBTQ committee and the 20s/30s group. Prior to those groups being formed Cantor helped facilitate an informal non-affiliated group of individuals in the Sacramento area once a month for Shabbat Services. This informal group brought many young members into our synagogue, and a few joined the synagogue as members.
The LGBTQ committee started from the Cantor applying for a Keshet grant to make MLC more inclusive of LGBTQ Jews in our community. The group hosted many successful events that demonstrate we have far more similarities than differences. The LGBTQ committee has become an essential part of our community. Another successful social develop that Cantor initiated was the 20s/30s group. About six years ago the Cantor asked me if I would be interested bringing together a group of individuals in my age group. Shortly thereafter he gave me a list of names and phone numbers of people I was not aware of and asked me to set up a social activity. While the group started out small, it has tripled in size and has already funneled leadership positions on the Board of Trustees.
The Sacramento community will not be the same without Cantor Rosner. He has made an everlasting impact on our community that will continue to have a positive impact on future generations. I look forward to seeing the blossoming of the Cantor’s success.
MLC Board of Trustees
Holly and Michael Fahn 2022
To Whom It May Concern,
Cantor Ben Rosner has been an integral part of Mosaic Law Congregation for the past ten years. He has led weekly services, tutored students for their B’Nai Mitzvahs, offered Shivas and consoled those who experienced losses, celebrated holidays and simchas, and so much more!
In our personal experience, Cantor Ben has tutored all three of our daughters for their Bat Mitzvahs, in addition to our niece, nephew, and many cousins! He has such a great attitude and always tries very hard to connect with his students. To begin each meeting, he spends time to just catch up, before getting right to work which makes it more comfortable. He is positive, patient, and has a great attitude.
When our second daughter Danielle was preparing for her Bat Mitzvah, COVID hit and everything changed. Even though we continued studying, we didn’t know how we were going to be able to have her lead the congregation from home! As everyone got more proficient with Zoom, we realized this would be the only option if we were going to keep the date. Cantor Ben helped our daughter not only prepare, but prepare to be the first online B’Nai Mitzvah for Mosaic Law. This was new for everyone, but he was able to help lead us through a very difficult time. He even had some really creative ideas to make it really special, which it was!
Cantor Ben has a love of music and musical instruments, especially string instruments. He has quite a collection and likes to share his knowledge and musical abilities. We’ve enjoyed listening to him during Shabbat Under the Stars and even in congregational music circles.
Cantor Ben will be missed by many as he leaves Mosaic Law. He has always worked incredibly hard and made this shul a priority in his life. He will be leaving a lasting legacy, and we wish him the best in his future.
Holly and Michael Fahn
Taliah Sarah Berger, Director of KOH Library and Cultural Center 2020
December 6, 2020
My ongoing collaboration and partnership with Cantor Ben Rosner has been a pleasure and an endless source of creative inspiration. Together we have envisioned and developed countless educational and cultural enrichment programs over the years for Mosaic Law Congregation, the Kashenberg Ostrow Hayward Library and Cultural Center, and the greater Sacramento community. Cantor Ben has a gift for blending musical styles and traditions to create fresh new sounds that tell unique stories of shared journeys in a way that moves minds and hearts. He draws out the artist and musician in each person he touches with his infectious love of music, humanity, and Judaism.
I am continually looking for opportunities to work with Cantor Ben because he brings so much value to each project. With each experience, we have found ways to learn and grow as educators and community leaders. With an exacting standard for bringing excellence to everything he touches, his musical brilliance, exceptional technical savvy, proactive teamwork mentality, and thirst for personal and community growth Cantor Ben is a joy to know and work with. I feel honored to be able to call him a colleague and a friend.
Taliah Sarah Berger
Steven Polansky, Past President MLC 2022
I have known Cantor Ben Rosner for the last 9 years in his role as Cantor of Mosaic Law Congregation, the only conservative synagogue in the greater Sacramento California area. I am a Past President of our shul and also consider myself to be a friend of Cantor Ben.
Ben brings many gifts to our shul which include his incredible musical talents, his wonderful davening, his sweet approach to our synagogue youth and his kind, approachable personality.
Ben has been responsible for initiating multiple programs within the shul, including our 20/30s Program, our “Shababababa” Shabbat Program for very young kids and a three part series on Death and Dying (Jewish traditions). He was also responsible for creating during our warmer months a Friday night service entitled Shabbat Under The Stars where he mixed his musical talents with that of several congregants to create a wonderful, unique and spiritual Shabbat experience. He has worked extremely well with our Rabbis and as I intimated before, he is a skilled, humble and sweet young man with incredible talent.
Julian Elbing and Harvey Robins, Past Presidents of Beth Shalom, Pittsburgh 2012
November 9th, 2012
As past Presidents of the Congregation it is incumbent that we acknowledge in writing our deep appreciation, and express to the public what a wonderful and fine young professional Cantor Benjamin Rosner has exemplified while serving our Congregation since June of 2011.
We personally believe that our Congregation, by not extending Cantor Rosner’s contract, will sustain a deep loss and will be a great and esteemed benefit to any new Congregation that he chooses to serve.
As past Presidents of our Congregation we have been privileged to participate in numerous Congregational services and events over the last several years and can attest to his accomplishments. We have personally been present when members of the Congregation and public without being asked, have given him great accolades for his services, studies and life cycle events that he has performed. We were both pleased in the way he was accepted and served the Jewish Community both the upcoming as well as the established generations, both at our Congregation and in our Jewish Commtmity of the Greater Pittsburgh area.
There are many professionals who serve our Religious needs and the obvious strengths of Cantor Rosner, are his integrity, heartfelt Jewish values and willingness be available to undertake both new frontiers as well as follow established traditions. Very few professionals in our Jewish faith can be found to have this great ability both professionally and morally. Cantor Rosner’s musical ability was a bright spot in his services that he brought to the Congregation. Many new innovations joined wi~ old traditions were a “Beacon” to our Beacon Street Congregation and the Jewish community at large. We want it to be well known that anyone may call us if they wish to aid in Cantor Ben Rosner’s bright professional future.
Julian Elbing & Harvey Robins, Past Presidents of Beth Shalom
Cantor Ilan Mamber (Z’L’), Temple Beth Rishon 2010
Jan 25th, 2010
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Ilan Mamber, and I am the Cantor at Temple Beth Rishon of Northwest Bergen County in Wyckoff, NJ and a member of the Cantors Assembly. It is a real pleasure for me to be writing this recommendation for Ben Rosner, a cantorial student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Ben Rosner has been a cantorial intern at our congregation at Temple Beth Rishon in Wyckoff, NJ for the last three years. I have worked very closely with Ben throughout his tenure with us, and I can emphatically and most positively comment on his job performance, character, relationship to our congregation, the clergy, the rest of the stff, and, of course, his relationship with me, the Cantor of the congregation and Ben’s immediate supervisor.
Ben is a personable and likable young man whose maturity and commitment to our community I respect, and whose behavior is always impeccable and appropriate. From the first day he arrived at our congregation a little over three years ago, he was immediately able to make connections with our congregants. Possessing genuine charm, he is very well liked and admired throughout our congregation, and in the three yeas he has been here, there has never been a problem finding home hospitality for him. Our congregants willingly volunteered their homes and gladly provided him Shabbat meals. His enthusiasm is infectious, and his personality endearing. He is a kind and caring person who loves working with people, personality traits that are most important for anyone who is going to be working within a community.
Ben has a magnificent tenor voice. He is a very talented musician who can sing anything a cappella or with musical accompaniment, and he can play a number of musical instruments, including guitar, mandolin, piano, and drums. He is an outstanding guitar player who has mastered a number of playing styles, including classical, folk, and jazz. In the three years Ben has been with us. I have seen him mature developmentally and musically. He is always striving to learn more and to improve himself. He has a strong work ethic. If he is not familiar with a piece of music, he takes the time to transcribe it for himself. He will often be inspired to arrage a liturgical musical setting or choir or instruments or to write a totally original composition. I particularly enjoyed singing with him, since his tenor complemented my baritone, and he is capable of coming up with inspired harmonies and vocal improvisations when needed.
Ben has been involved in all aspects of our congregational life. His duties and responsibilities varied according to the needs of our congregation, as well as his educational needs. Ben regularly leads Shabbat services with our clergy. While most of the time he co-leads with the Rabbi and me, he capably leads services without any other clergy present. He consistently collaborates with me to create dynamic musical services for our congregation, as well as spends time rehearsing these services with me, our choirs, and other musicians. He has developed his own distinct style at our pulpit that is integrated with, and does not detract from, our congregational norm.
His work with our choirs is admirable. He is focused during rehearsals with our adult choir, whether he is the soloist, a member of the tenor section, or conducting one of the choral selections. He recently started an advanced teen choir that has been performing at our special services and events. He has developed a relationship with many of our musical teens and has inspired them to be interested in Jewish liturgical and choral music. Of course, Ben performs regularly at our special musical events and concerts, always inspiring our audiences with his beautiful voice, outstanding interpretations, and masterly skill on the guitar.
Ben regularly instructs our Shabbat prayer classes, where he teaches our congregational melodies to our Sixth and Seventh graders. He also leads a Junior Congregation that includes all our Third through Sixth Graders, where he provides a fun and dynamic spiritual Shabbat experience to our students, while educating them about prayers and Festivals.
Ben plays an integral role at our religious school. He teaches traditional Jewish Festival songs, as well as folk songs, to students from Kindergarten through Sixth Grade. He has been working closely with our Hebrew School principal in assembling a music curriculum. In addition, he has been regularly tutoring our Bar and Bat Mitzvah students in their Torah and Haftarah portions.
Ben has become an integral part of our congregational family. He has been available for pastoral care, and has participated in and conducted shiva minyanim at people’s homes.
Ben meets with me regularly for supervision. We work together analyzing the strengths of what we do, as well as what still needs work, whether musically, administratively, or communally. He takes our working relationship seriously, and I have seem great strides and improvement in his efforts. Our working relationship is outstanding, and I had the pleasure and honor a year ago to co-officiate with our Rabbi at Ben and Alyssa’s wedding.
In conclusion, Ben has been a great asset to our congregation the last three years. Our congregation had established the Cantorial Intern program three years ago, and ben has been with us throughout its duration. The program has been a success, largely due to his presence. His visibility has inspired our teens, and he has established a teen choir, something I have not been able to do myself because of time constraints. He has been an asset to our Hebrew School, as well as acting as an additional tutor for our excellent Bar Mitzvah program. He has infused our religious services and cultural programs with his beautiful voice, outstanding guitar playing, new melodies, and charming personality.
I believe Ben would be an asset to any congregation that employs him as a hazzan. I highly recommend Ben both as a cantor and as a worker. I recommend him as someone who posesses excellent communication and educational skills, Jewish knowledge, and leadership qualities. I recommend him as a talented and gifted person with wonderful musical skills. I recommend him as a superb, sensitive human being who cares about his fellow men and women. A real mensch.
Cantor Ilan Mamber, Temple Beth Rishon
Robert Velazquez 2022
To whom it may concern:
For almost ten years Ben Rosner has been a spiritual light at Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento, California. During the covid period he was THE leader who held the congregation together. The rules for attendance kept changing but Cantor Rosner’s ability to bring people into the fold only increased. He has always shown his enthusiasm for Judaism. He brings his “A” game to every service, a miracle in itself.. The care that he shows for each person with whom he speaks brings people into his realm of musical charm.
Matthew Shugart, Email Dec 2022
Dear Cantor Ben,
Thank you for the rousing Hallel today, and also for the service this past Shabbat, which I watched on the stream. It was like a “greatest hits” and I loved it so much.
The melody you used for Ps. 148 is one I’ve heard the high holidays cantor at our former synagogue in San Diego use, and I had been trying to remember it, but couldn’t. It was nice to hear again.
And I also love it when you do the “ram v’nisa” chant, and then hearing Moti chant Yeminite trope, and the entire Aleinu. It was all just wonderful.
Enjoy the final day of Chanukah, and Hodesh tov.
Richard Pachter 2022
I have enjoyed your davening every year and while it was always good, every year I have felt more and more inspired and have felt that you had really grown over the years. You have made excellent contributions to Mosaic Law and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
And I wanted again to express my deep appreciation for all you did when my father Bernard passed away. Your spiritual guidance and participation in his burial meant the world to me and my family.
Sandy Fahn 2022
Ava enjoyed her bat mitzvah tutoring with you (she appreciated your sense of humor and your banjo!), and I appreciated your encouragement of her service and leadership at MLC.
Reiser Family after two Bnai Mitzvah – 2022
Cantor Ben Rosner was a FANTASTIC Bar Mitzvah tutor for our two sons. He is caring, patient, and enjoys the time he spends with his students. Our sons were very prepared for their Bar Mitzvahs thanks to Cantor Ben.
Our two sons are FIFTH generation Mosaic Law Congregation Sacramento members. Their Bar Mitzvahs were February 2019 and March 2022.
We will truly MISS Cantor Ben as part of our Mosaic Law community.
Jill, Phil, Seth, and Jason Reiser
Rabbi Reuven Taff 2020
“…I had the privilege of working together with Cantor Ben Rosner for seven years until I retired in August, 2020. As a former cantor, I understand the role of Jewish music as an instrument to inspire and give meaning to people’s lives. Ben Rosner does exactly that. Ben possesses a gift of being a one-of-a-kind creative spirit. He is blessed with a neshama that enwraps you in a warm, loving embrace. His exceptional talents as a musician, cantor, teacher are the essential ingredients to enhancing the prayer experience. He is welcoming, compassionate and authentic. Any synagogue or Jewish organization would give its eye teeth to have Cantor Rosner on its team. How fortunate I was to have him as my partner in leading our congregation for the last years of my rabbinate…”
-Rabbi Reuven Taff
Greg S., Ph.D., and Community Musician 2012
Jan 1, 2012
This note is to thank you for all you’ve done for the Jewish music community in Pittsburgh over the past several months.
As you know I am the chair of Life Long Jewish learning and also an accompanist at Rodef Shalom. In addition I have my own calling as an independent Jewish music maker, regularly performing and distributing my own albums internationally, and performing on multiple other Jewish albums and gigs, some of which involve Pittsburgh artists as well as national and international artists. I frequently play at events throughout the Pittsburgh area. I am writing in all of these capacities.
You have specifically addressed two community needs that have been crying out for a champion.
For the past decade that I’ve been here in Pittsburgh, the community has always had many talented and inspired musicians, but no force to bring them together.
We’ve also had many young people on the verge of becoming more involved in Judaism whom we have not been able to reach.
Whenever members of the Pittsburgh Jewish music community get together, someone’s bound to say “someone should do something about that. We should get together more. We should have events together. We should include younger people.” To date, no one has been willing to take these roles. Regarding the first issue, you’ve done much to galvanize the Pittsburgh Jewish music community and this work has been strongly noticed in the community. Your unique approach to inviting musicians from other synagogues to play at Beth Shalom’s events and working with them beforehand, your representation of Beth Shalom at planing meetings for cross-synagogue musical events (e.g., the upcoming visit by Rabbi Shefa Gold) have been strong. Your recent hosting of the Dec 24 “Adult Shul of Rock” where members of at least 4 different synagogues played was a unique and thrilling multi-institutional community evening. The huge time-investment it took to put this together was well worth the effort.
Regarding the second cause, you’ve done so much to involve Pittsburgh’s “lost” 20-40 generation. Your Sukkot Havdalah at your home was a huge success. The recent Shabbat in the Home, with strong representation of the JBurgh community, has brought new and unified life to a demographic that many of us had written off as unreachable.
I appreciate that this work takes a great deal of time, and you should know that the investment is worth the effort. Your work has built a strong reputation for Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh. Beth Shalom is fast becoming known as a go-to place for young Jewish seekers searching for a musical home and you, personally, are looked at as a strong mover and shaker in the community. Your appearances at cross-synagogue Jewish music events such as David Goldstein’s CD release event atTemple Sinai are noticed as enthusiastic participation by Beth Shalom’s leadership in the Pittsburgh Jewish music scene. Increasingly when you say you’re hosting an event, people listen. In this way you are galvanizing our community, making your own synagogue stronger, and creating a unity of purpose and spirit here in Pittsburgh which I personally have waited for, for years.
I look forward to seeing and supporting your continued work on behalf of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community. Good luck.
Greg S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Jewish Music Maker
Karl Zeff M.D. Ritual Committee Chairman 2006-2020
For Those Concerned,
In my role as the Ritual Committee Chairman for Mosaic Law Congregation (MLC), a Conservative Jewish community in Sacramento, California, I have had the pleasurable experience of working with Cantor Ben. Over the 7 years of service to our congregation I have collected comments from many congregants and will be presenting those with my additional commentary.
We have within Mosaic Law a Conservative cantor recently retired. She wrote: “He has brought beautiful music and a kind spirit to MLC, not to mention flexibility and openness to new ideas, and I guess I don’t have to say how crucial that flexibility and openness have been during Covid times… Ben’s passion for leading prayer is evident. He moves me greatly when davening. He knows his stuff, on MANY levels…What a highly intelligent, talented Cantor and what a mensch – the real deal.” I cannot think of a higher compliment than words coming from a professional peer, that is, a Conservative cantor.
We have another member of the congregation who also has semicha as a rabbi. He wrote: ”I have worked with Cantor Rosner while officiating at several funerals on behalf of Rabbi Taff. The services were dignified and provided solace to the families in mourning. The working relationship was strong and he was able to offer insights regarding the customs and preferences of MLC.” My comment is based on observations of funerals and in my own time of bereavement in 2019 for my father. The cantor spoke eloquently and knowingly about the deceased and provided the musical accompaniment and words of comfort that enabled my family and many others to bear their grief more easily.
Another major life cycle event that is common in synagogues is Bar or Bat Mitzva celebrations. The words reflect many B’nai Mitzva families who found Cantor Ben easy to work with and were very satisfied with their children’s performance on their special Shabbat.
Cantor Ben provides beautiful cantorial leadership with his own vocal qualities as the lead Shaliach Tzibbur or prayer leader. He also is able to bring together interested individuals of many different skill levels to encourage them, build their abilities and then have them lead prayers, Torah/haftorah readings, and come together for beautiful choir insertions especially for the High Holidays. I have many comments showing appreciation for this: and I am including just two: “He has reached out to me about choir and has inspired me to study the morning prayers. “ Another member writes: ”He balanced the amount of choir pieces per service with his own Chazzanut and many opportunities for congregational participation. Even in this time of not being able to gather together in one place, he found ways to produce beautiful and inspiring videos of choral music…”
I have found Cantor Ben to be an incredible craftsman. He can perform excellently using his vocal skills but is also a master of a variety of guitars, the banjo and piano. He was innovator in bringing these skills into the Friday night services. He made Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat Maariv into a widely enthusiastically attended service. One congregant commented: “He brought an incredible amount of music into MLC. He clearly has proficiency in a number of string and percussive instruments. He has utilized this ability to enhance both Friday night services and in teaching Hebrew school. It has touched many, who may not get as much out of traditional service, or has provided an alternative to others who may periodically want to experience something different.“
A frequent comment made about Cantor Ben is that he is very warm and welcoming. One congregant stated: “I have been coming to MLC for a little over two years and I look back fondly on the people who made me feel welcome from the beginning. One of the people who stands out was Cantor Ben.” Another appreciative congregant remarked: “He was the first person we met when visiting MLC. He warmly welcomed us. He was reason we joined MLC.” A last individual stated: “Cantor’s dedication and approachable demeanor contribute to a warm and welcoming atmosphere as he quietly and genuinely welcomes people arriving to services with smiles and nods.”
This endorsement reflects my high regard for Cantor Ben Rosner. His skill at musicianship, expertise in Jewish prayer, and personal warmth have earned him much appreciation here. The comments noted in this letter incorporate just a small fraction of the positive opinions of him found throughout Mosaic Law Congregation. It is expected that his future endeavors will meet with similar success and appreciation.
Karl Zeff, M.D.
Ritual Committee Chairman 2006-2020
Mosaic Law Congregation
Fran S., Congregant 2011
Dec 23rd, 2011
To Whom It May Concern:
I hope that this letter finds you well after the joy of Hanukkah. I’m writing to give a perspective on the important role that Cantor Ben has played in the Jewish practice and experience of both myself and my fiancé, Reuben Biel. Among other things, Cantor Ben welcomed us to the community, encouraged us to become more involved in Beth Shalom, and acted as a teacher and friend to both me and Reuben.
Reuben and I moved to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2010, and started searching for a congregation. I wanted to start my conversion process, and we found Beth Shalom to have the most welcoming and participatory services in the area. As we started going to services more, Cantor Ben made a point of saying hello to us each week at Kiddush, often as other members of the congregation would smile politely and walk past. He was among the first people to make us feel like members of the Beth Shalom community.
Cantor Ben also encouraged us to become more involved in the synagogue. Reuben and I began attending Kabbalat Shabbat regularly in December 2010 and greatly enjoyed Shabbat Alive, both for the music itself and for the larger numbers of people and younger people that it drew. Outside of the synagogue, Cantor Ben would lead Shabbat in the Home with J’Burgh. Through this, he helped me and Reuben meet other young Jews in the community.
Cantor Ben also acted as an important teacher and friend to both me and Reuben. He taught Reuben kabbalat Shabbat and ma’ariv, which Reuben subsequently led. He also helped Reuben review and prepare to lead Shacharit at Beth Shalom. Cantor Ben also helped me review for my beit din before conversion and Cantor Ben and Alyssa have invited me into their home many times for other events, such as a musical havdallah service and Shabbat dinners.
Beth Shalom is a wonderful shul, but it can be difficult to feel welcome as a young person without children. Nevertheless, Cantor Ben helped make us feel comfortable and welcome as a kind, friendly, and enthusiastic leader. Both Reuben and I believe that Cantor Ben is a huge asset to the Beth Shalom congregation. Due to our recent move to Oregon, we will sorely miss the weekly pleasure of Cantor Ben’s cantillation and the pleasure of his company.
Fran S., Congregant
Joel Cohen, Founder of Door to Door Tutoring 2010
Feb 9th, 2010
To Whom It May Concern,
This letter is to serve as a recommendation for Benjamin Rosner, who has served in the capacity of lead tutor with Door To Door Tutoring servicing families in the New York and New Jersey area since September of 2006. During his time with our organization, Ben has worked with children from the ages of 6 to 14. Please, let it be known that all of us at Door To Door Tutoring hold Ben in the highest regard and offer him an extraordinary recommendation. Any organization would be lucky to have Ben on staff.
Personally speaking, it has been an absolute joy to work with Ben. He is organized, timely and responsible. I have been kept up to speed with all aspect of his responsibilities and progress with each family that he has worked with. He communicates well be it live, oh the phone or over email. I, along with many others on my staff have gone to Ben as a resource for Jewish music, teaching methods and advice on dealing with challenging parents and students.
There are many Door To Door Tutoring families that are happily available to speak on Ben’s behalf, They constantly offer the words of praise to me about Ben. In fact, many families have requested him directly and asked for additional time with him on a weekly basis. Here are a few examples of some of their comments:
“Ben’s approach to Jewish Studies, Hebrew Prayer and Holidays has enabled my children to approach and embrace Judaism when they otherwise were disenchanted.”
On several occasions Ben has had the opportunity to help lead lessons with me and lead Shabbat services. On each of these occasions; his voice has taken command and drawn his audience in, his melodies have encouraged great participation and when he speaks, his words serve as a window into his caring heart showing the deep feelings that he has for those with whom he works and his feelings for a bright future, rich with Jewish tradition and ruach (spirit). Simply said, anyone that encounters Ben at a service that he leads or directly through his teaching is always left better and with a more fulfilled Jewish experience, than before meeting him (myself included).
Ben’s cheerful smile, compassionate heart, constantly friendly demeanor and his “always willing to help” attitude make him someone that involved with Door To Door Tutoring wants to work with more. I could go on (and on) about the success of his students, the impact that he has had on Door To Door Tutoring and the families with which he has worked. I am happy to do so, should you require more information or a live conversation. Please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.
Joel E. Cohen
Judi R. Adult Student at Beth Shalom 2013
Cantor Ben helped me to take the first steps in chanting festival trope,for Shir Hashirim, Kohelet and Ruth, supporting me all the way from practice to the bimah.
As a mom who is approaching her son’s Bar Mitzvah year, I wanted to increase my knowledge base.
Cantor Ben helped me to do this!
He encouraged my personal growth of tefillah,
which has resulted in a deeper understanding, and our increased kavanah as a family.
Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Emert, Temple Beth Rishon 2010
Jan 25th, 2010
To Whom It May Concern:
It is my pleasure to write this letter of recommendation for Ben Rosner, a cantorial student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, who has served Temple Beth Rishon , Wyckoff, NJ as its intern for the past three years. I have worked very closely with Ben and feel most qualified to comment on his job performance, character, relationship with the congregation, and in particular, his relationship with me, the rabbi of the congregation.
Ben is a very talented young man. He has a magnificent voice which is truly inspiring. In addition, he is a kind young man, whose concern for congregants and fellow clergy alike is most admirable. Ben is an affable person, whom congregants admired and liked from the day he arrived. It is clear that he loves what he does, and has a charming enthusiasm which is contagious.
In the three years that he has served as our cantorial intern, he has led services with other clergy and/or alone at least twice a month. He has substituted for our cantor during the summers and at other times during the year. He has worked very closely in collaboration with our cantor, rehearsing the choir and working well with assorted musicians to create dynamic services. Ben is quite comfortable in a range of liturgical music settings, whether singing accapella, or playing the guitar, and/or other musical instruments. Ben has tutored our b’nai mitzvah students and led Junior Congregation for grades Aleph through Dalet throughout the three years. Moreover, Ben was responsible for teaching our Hay students the prayer melodies on Shabbat mornings before the congregational service.
Ben has played an integral role in our religious school, teaching Jewish music to students from Kindergarten through sixth grade. He has worked closely with the director of our school to assemble a music curriculum for future use in our Sunday school program. In addition, Ben has been part of our clergy team, conducting shiva minyanim throughout his tenure as cantorial intern.
I have worked very closely with Ben throughout the three years he has served as our intern. I have taken great delight in his enthusiasm, in his style, in the way he engages congregants and in his willingness to learn new music, both contemporary and traditional.
I believe that our professional relationship worked well because I was clear from the start as to what I expected from Ben. I was pleased that he often solicited an outline of the services and would ask if there were specific compositions I wanted. I would often receive phone calls and/or emails from Ben requesting that we sit together so that it would be clear what he needed to prepare. Ben worked hard to prepare new music and often sat with me after the service and during the week to critique the music and his performance.
I have seen Ben mature in the three years and have witnessed great potential in this outstanding young cantor to be. I had the honor of officiating at Ben and Alyssa’s wedding which brought me great pleasure.
All in all, any congregation which employs Ben Rosner as its Hazzan will be most pleased and have a wonderful, caring and talented young man in its midst.
It is a great honor for me to recommend Ben Rosner for a position as Hazzan.
Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Emert, Temple Beth Rishon
Wedding of Gabi S. and Michael N. 2012
Dec 4th, 2012
Dear Sir or Madam,
We are writing to provide you with our highest recommendations of Cantor Ben Rosner. Although we have both attended religious services in innumerable congregations around the world, from France and Germany to Israel and the U.S., we have never encountered anyone with more enthusiasm for his position and with a greater gift for this key role in a congregation. Cantor Rosner is a talented, passionate, diligent, and highly motivated young professional who will fill any Jewish community with light and warmth.
In order to assist you in evaluating our letter of recommendation, we would like to share some information about our backgrounds with you: My husband grew up in an American Jewish home and attended a reform synagogue in the U.S. He graduated from Brandeis University, where he was actively involved in Hillel and had many Jewish friends. In contrast, I grew up as the only Jewish child in my rural home-town in Germany and I was only used to practice Judaism in a small orthodox synagogue. After I graduated from Tufts University, where I was able to practice Judaism openly for the time in my life, and when I moved to Pittsburgh to attend law school, I often felt lonely because I had nobody to spend the holidays with. My fiance-to-date (now my husband), Dr. Michael was a resident in internal medicine and worked long hours, so I spent many holidays alone.
In 2009, a few months into my first year in law school, I met Cantor Ben Rosner through his wife, Alyssa, who also a law student. As soon as we met, both Ben and Alyssa 1have welcomed me for Shabbat and high holiday dinners to their home and treated me like a close friend and family. Michael, was always welcome to join us even when he came back from the hospital late in the evening. Cantor Rosner, knowing that I had no family in the area, always made sure that I received tickets to attend holiday services with him and Alyssa and that I had an open invitation to spend the holiday dinners with them and their family. Although we met Cantor Rosner through his wife, we have had the privilege and honor to get to know him better over the course of the last three years and we have both grown very fond of him. Since 2009, we became so attached to Cantor Rosner, that we requested his presence at our marriage. Michael and I loved Cantor Rosner’s performances and his beautiful “niggen” during holiday services, so we had hoped that he could share his outstanding talent during the special moments of our wedding with our families and friends. Unfortunately, two weeks before the date of our wedding, some last-minute logistical challenges arose that were beyond our control, and, without hesitation, Cantor Rosner quickly averted a disaster. He took the time to meet with us to discuss concerns, brainstorm possible solutions, and provide support during this short period of time. Ultimately, Cantor Rosner was not only the sole officiant and rescuer of our wedding, but he also consolidated my Eastern-European orthodox family traditions with my husband’s modern American customs into one exquisitely executed ceremony.
On June 17, 2012, Cantor Rosner married us under a beautifully-decorated chuppah surrounded by all of our friends and family. The ceremony was cordial, intimate, loving and romantic. Most of our guests had tears of joy in their eyes when Cantor Rosner sang the seven blessings with his delightful voice and musical gift. Our parents, grandmothers, and brothers, who were under the chuppah with us, were deeply moved by Cantor Rosner’s outstanding performance of “Dodi Li” and his overall performance during our wedding ceremony. For weeks following our wedding, our guests called and wrote us to share their infatuation with the “most beautiful wedding ceremony,” “most sincere blessings of the Cantor,” and other lovely compliments of Cantor Rosner. Michael and I are proud to have been married by Cantor Rosner and we think of the wonderful and memorable day that he created for us.
In the time leading up to the ceremony, Cantor Rosner was supportive and professional at all stages of the planning process. He also coordinated with both our wedding planner and other parties to ensure a smooth execution of the ceremony and the entire day. Our wedding planner, photographers, wedding party and vendors all confirmed that it was a pleasure to work with Cantor Rosner. After all, it was only thanks to Cantor Rosner’s help and efforts that our keenest expectations were exceeded. In addition, Cantor Rosner made this emotional day a happy one for us, our families, our wedding party, friends and guests. In a short time, Cantor Rosner was able to organize a harmonious and beautiful ceremony. His timing is always impeccable and he makes everybody around him feel comfortable. Moreover, Cantor Rosner’s work product
is always of the highest quality, no matter whether it is a high holiday, a Shabbat dinner at home, or a beautiful wedding with nearly 200 guests.
In addition, as part of the ceremony, Cantor Rosner engaged a pianist to accompany him, so that our visions for these special moments would be honored. Not only did he also work with the violinist that we had previously hired, but he also played the guitar and created a magnificent musical interlude. Most notably, Cantor Rosner chanted with his superb voice and fascinated us and our guests with the angelic tunes and heartfelt words he chose for our wedding. Some of our guests had travelled from very far to attend our wedding, such as from Brazil, Germany, Israel, Canada, Alaska, and England. The overwhelming feedback from all of our guests was that they were “blown away with the Rebbe,” “loved the Cantor,” were “so impressed with his majestic performance at the ceremony” and that “this was the nicest wedding ceremony [they] had ever seen!” Cantor Rosner combined our innermost wishes for this special day into a heartwarming and beautiful ceremony and sent us off into marriage with his warmest blessings.
We highly recommend Cantor Rosner for a cantorial position and believe that he would be an enrichment for any Jewish congregation. Cantor Rosner’s high ethical and professional standards, together with his love for our religion and exquisite talents combine to the finest attributes that a Cantor can contribute. On a final note, we wish Cantor Rosner the best for his future career and we know that he will be an invaluable addition to any congregation.
Ilene and Jacob K., on the Occasion of their Son’s Bris 2010
Feb 9th, 2010
When our son Avi was eight days old (just a few short weeks ago) we were honored to welcome him into the covenant with G-d and the Jewish people by having a brit milah in our home surrounded by family and friends. This was an emotional and meaningful event for us all. We were lucky to have this already beautiful ceremony enriched and elevated by having Rabbi Werbow and Cantor Rosner participate with prayers, readings and music that helped bring our community together in ritual and song. Both the Rabbi and Cantor contributed greatly to this event and we had numerous comments from friends (some Beth Shalom members, some from the Yeshiva, Young People’s Synagogue and Polei Tzedek to name a few) about how meaningful and joyous our event was.
We would like to thank Rabbi Werbow and Cantor Rosner for contributing so much to this event with their words and songs. We are so glad to be part of this kehilah kedosha.
Ilene, Jacob, Rafaela and Avi K., Congregants
Richard F., Congregant 2012
December 10th, 2012
To Whom It May Concern:
I am a congregant at Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh. I hereby give a heartfelt endorsement of Cantor Ben Rosner, and I am pleased to recommend him for any cantor position for which he may apply.
Cantor Ben has led services beautifully, on holiday services as well as on Shabbat. I am a regular attendee of the evening minyan, and he has been stalwart in leading that service every day. In addition to his participation in these and many other things, he has been very gracious in encouraging congregants’ participation in things such as alternative minyanim that take place at Beth Shalom.
Cantor Ben has done a great job in organizing the Beth Shalom band and in organizing and leading the synagogue’s two choirs. He has worked tirelessly in teaching and leading these efforts. I have greatly enjoyed my participation in the two choirs.
The Cantor is a very friendly person and is a pleasure to interact with. He has increased the visibility of Beth Shalom in the community with events such as open mics/concerts at a local coffee shop.
I appreciate the opportunity to provide input in this regard. I wish Cantor Rosner good luck in his future endeavors.
Rabbi Cathy Felix 2010
Feb 9th, 2010
To Whom It May Concern:
I write to commend Ben Rosner as a Hazzan.
Ben worked for two years for the Jewish Center of Sussex County as our High Holy Day Hazzan. First, he has a beautiful voice. Our shul does not use a microphone, and he projected throughout the sanctuary. Throughout the long day of Yom Kippur, he sustained a strong voice. Our congregants were thrilled by his beautiful singing.
Second, he was easy to work with. He was very open to how we usually do things on the holidays. He was also terrific with timing: when we got to Neilah, I told him how much time was left, and he decided which optional pieces to include or skip so that we ended on the button. He taught new tunes from the Birnah, and reviewed old ones when the congregation did not seem able to follow him. It was a joy to partner with him.
Finally, he brought his own ideas and creativity to the congregation. He has written his own, original melodies to some of the prayers. He had creative ideas about presentation and teaching prayers, and insights about using English and Hebrew. The congregation was uniformly pleased with the new tunes and traditions that he introduced.
Based on my experiences working with Hazzan Rosner, I commend him highly.
Rabbi Cathy Felix