Author Archives: Cantor Bernard

Seattle Lockdown – Day #24

Apr 08

Tonight on the evening of Seder, Jews around the world are supposed to gather with family and friends to retell the story of liberation that set us off on a journey toward a new type of community, united by a commitment to Torah. This year, we are consumed instead by the story of pandemic we […]

Reflections on COVID-19

Apr 01

Friends, This is a set of three daily reflections from Seattle, written March 20–22, 2020. Seattle reported the first U.S. case of COVID-19 in January and the first death in February, and we quickly became the original epicenter for this country’s outbreak. Stringent orders from Governor Inslee took effect on Monday, March 16th, closing restaurants […]

Advocacy and Action by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Feb 21

The transition to retirement has been surprising. After years of working at 110% (on a slow week), I was looking forward to continuing some of the work I’d grown to love — only at a sane and relaxed pace. After years of not having nearly enough hours to come close to fulfilling all of the […]

And You Shall Teach Them Diligently to Your Children: What I Didn’t Understand…Until Now by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Sep 21

This summer I spent eight weeks teaching water safety to a bunch of preschoolers at the Downtown Seattle YMCA. This free program offered to the community to help reduce the number of drowning accidents is particularly near and dear to my heart after working in a pediatric ICU for many a “drowning season.” For the […]

PERSPECTIVE: reflections on turning 65 by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Feb 14

Many a day as I’m stretching on the pool deck getting ready for my swim, I tell one of my lifeguard friends, “Don’t get old. Just hold where you are. It’s not worth it.” And then I continue trying to work out the soreness in the shoulders before I get into the water. The truth […]

Stories by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Apr 25

  When kids ask me whether some of the more fantastic or contradictory stories in the Tanach are true, I usually respond by asking them whether they go to annual family reunions. For those that do, I ask whether they hear the same family stories year after year, often told by their grandparents or their […]

Saying Goodbye by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Mar 27

It started off like any other vacation. A crazy week of Shabbat prep mixed with a crazier week of travel prep. Friday night services and then rushing home to pack. Several pre-dawn cups of coffee on Saturday while wrapping up things at home and loading the suitcase into the car. An early morning swim before […]

Join us March 31st for Teen-Led Shabbat by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Mar 15

One of the things I love most about Temple Beth El is the degree to which our teens assume responsibility for the work we do as a congregation. They are highly skilled and dedicated teachers and worship leaders. They are an integral part of many projects that benefit the community and are proud representatives of […]

Measuring Success by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Jan 19

  When I was in cantorial school in the 90s, there was great consternation and hand-wringing about how “camp music” (used as a derogatory term) represented the dumbing-down of the rich heritage of Jewish music, and would ultimately lead to its demise. After four years of having that dire warning drummed into my head, it […]