Author Archives: Cantor Bernard

Possibilities Ahead by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Aug 31

It has always seemed a little strange to me that the Jewish months start on the new moon. If you are going to look up into the sky for seasonal markers, the full moon would be a much clearer and more dramatic signpost. The new moon is rather obscure, whereas a full moon lights up […]

Creating Sacred Space with Sacred Sound by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Jul 13

Sacred space can be created in many different places and in many different ways. You don’t need to be in a Sanctuary to find yourself on holy ground. Standing on an ocean shore watching the sun rise or set over the water can be a sacred experience. Being in a hospital room witnessing a birth […]

Happy New Year (again)! by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Jul 03

Marking time is very important in Judaism. Time is, in fact, the first thing in the Torah that God declares “holy.” Throughout six days of creation, the topography of the earth, the celestial bodies, the plants, insects and animals all appear and are deemed “good.” The pinnacle of the process, the creation of human beings, […]

Changes by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Jun 01

It has always been my rule of thumb that when you move to a new home, you know you’ve settled in when you can find the bathroom light switch at 3am without thinking. Familiar routines, familiar places, familiar faces — all these anchor us as we move through the mundane moments of our days, and […]

Finding Yourself by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Apr 20

In Judaism we talk a great deal about mitzvot, although we talk about them in very different ways. Those on the orthodox side of the scale begin with those things we are commanded to do by the 613 mitzvot proclaimed in the Torah. On the more liberal side, we refer more to “good deeds” that […]

This Month It’s All About Sex by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Jan 27

The month of January sees the launch of this year’s 6th, 8th, and 9th grade human sexuality program at Temple Beth El. This is the central part of our STAR (Sex, Torah, and Relationships) Curriculum that begins with parents of preschoolers and concludes with a pre-college program for our Post-Confirmation (11th and 12th grade) students. […]


Dec 16

Today has me thinking a lot about the passage of time. Today (December 16, 2015) is a special day for me as it is my 10th anniversary as Chaplain Specialist at Levine Children’s Hospital. It has been just over 19 years since that visit to the pediatric floor at New York Hospital — only my […]

BIENNIAL: A personal reflection by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Nov 30

In early November, 18 Temple Beth El members joined 5,000 Reform Jews from all over the world in Orlando for the URJ Biennial. I have been attending Biennials since the 1997 convention in Dallas when I was still a cantorial student at HUC. I’ve been honored to be a presenter at workshops and lead worship […]

You asked. We provided. Your turn. by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Nov 11

One of the things I enjoy about the URJ Biennial is hearing about the challenges and innovations from around the Reform movement. Whether a congregation is large or small, surrounded by many other synagogues or distant from other communities, thriving on its own or collaborating with other Jewish denominations to provide necessary resources, every successful […]