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Hey, Cantor! An Elul Q&A with Cantor Joshua Breitzer

Hey, Cantor! An Elul Q&A with Cantor Joshua Breitzer

We asked clergy across North America which music, books, art, movies and more help them get into a reflective state of mind as they gear up for the High Holidays. Here’s what Cantor Joshua Breitzer from Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, NY, had to say.

ReformJudaism.org: Any favorite musicians you tend to listen to during Elul?

Cantor Breitzer: I adore the 2009 album Night Shines Like Day by Eviatar Banai, especially the first track called "Abba." It's a son's lilting, poignant plea to his father, that he might be accepted, heard, and loved. As a new father, this song particularly reaches me nowadays.

What about writers? Any novelists, poets, or columnists you are drawn to this time of year? Any favorite (non-canonical) Elul book?

Whenever I get on the NYC subway, I look for a new Poetry in Motion placard. This past year, former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins contributed "Grand Central," which I think resonates for any American constantly on the go.

Any movies or TV shows that you have found inspiration in?

Far off our media's beaten path of introspection lies the FX comedy Wilfred, starring Elijah Wood, which fittingly broadcasts new episodes during the summer months. Although it occasionally borders on the bizarre, the man-and-dog team remind me of some profound life truths.

How about visual arts? Any paintings or sculptures that spark soul-searching?

I often walk my 1-year old through some of the more rustic parts of Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Our favorite nook is called the Vale of Cashmere, which looks and sounds exactly like something out of a fairytale. With its ivy-covered fountains, trees laden heavy with foliage, and constant avian din, the Vale feels ancient and newborn all at once. 

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