Cantor Leon Sher has joined the clergy at what he called “a warm and welcoming congregation,” Temple Shalom of Aberdeen. In his new position, which began in July, the cantor will lead services with Rabbi Laurence Malinger, participate in life-cycle events, and work with the synagogue choirs.
He succeeds Cantor Marnie Camhi, who served for three years.
Invested in 2003 at Hebrew Union College in New York, Sher most recently served as cantor at Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes.
A number of factors attracted Sher to Temple Shalom, he told NJJN in an e-mail. “Services are very participatory with a lot of uplifting and enthusiastic singing. The musical repertoire is vast and diverse, which provides great opportunity for most everyone to feel comfortable and often inspired.”
His fellow clergy received high marks as well. “Rabbi Malinger is an extraordinarily friendly and supportive rabbi, creative and inspired teacher, and very conscious of the importance of the clergy team,” said Sher. “Working with him is a great pleasure for me.”
The rabbi expressed equal admiration. “Cantor Sher brings a renewed sense of enthusiasm to the entire worship experience,” Malinger told NJJN. “I am looking forward to creating wonderful opportunities to help our congregants engage in prayer and spirituality; Cantor Sher brings a musical presence that will enable us to achieve this.”
Sher has extensive experience as a choral director, music teacher, song leader, and b’nei mitzva tutor. He is well-known in the metropolitan area for his guitar playing, song leading, and work with adults and children in synagogues and at camps. He has served as a music director and song leader at Union for Reform Judaism camps and at an annual conference for Jewish song leaders.
He is a faculty member of the North American Jewish Choral Festival and a conductor, accompanist, composer, and arranger for local chapters of Hazamir, the international Jewish high school choir.
Sher has been composing and performing music since he was in his teens. His songs include “Heal Us Now” and “Makom Shelibi Oheiv” (“The Place My Heart Holds Dear”), which are sung throughout the country in Reform congregations. “Heal Us Now” was performed at a U.S. congressional memorial and healing service for the victims of the January 2011 shooting in Tucson, Ariz.
Sher is also a current and founding member of Beged Kefet, a music group that donates proceeds from their performances and recordings to Myriam’s Dream, an organization that raises funds and consciousness for the benefit of the elderly and disabled.