The concert that ended the conference was the highlight for Cantor Lois Kittner, who hosted the Women Cantor’s Network annual conference at her synagogue, Adath Shalom in Morris Plains, June 17-20. “I’m filled with joy,” she said shortly after the end of the conference, which drew 98 women from around the United States and Canada. They attended workshops that covered topics such as building community, finding a balance between family and work life, weaving contemporary melodies into traditional services, and using new and innovative instruments in prayer services.
The concert featured selections from the newly released WCN songbook “Kol Isha” (“A Woman’s Voice”) as well as the debut of Shiru Ladonai, a piece composed by Cantor Anita Schubert, who teaches at the Neshama Institute in Boca Raton, Fla. (Every two years, WCN commissions a new piece from one of its members.)
WCN had its beginnings in 1982 when 12 women cantors got together. It has since grown into an international organization with over 300 members providing resources, support, and community for women who are prospective, working, and retired cantors.
Kittner called the conference a chance to recharge her batteries, adding, “Nothing comes close to the experience of all of the cantorial women being with each other.” It was extra sweet for her to be able to host her colleagues at the synagogue she loves. “To have two major parts of who I am come together in one sanctuary — ahh. My heart was full, full, full,” she said.