Los Angeles Synagogue Welcomes First German Post-Holocaust Cantor
(City Welcomes Juval Porat with special event Friday June 18)
Los Angeles, June 7, 2010: Beth Chayim Chadashim, at 6000 West Pico Blvd in West Los Angeles (www.bcc-la.org), today announced that Cantor Juval Porat will join the congregation and the Temple will conduct a special Shabbat service on Friday, June 18th at 8pm to celebrate his formal installation as their new Cantor. Cantor Porat is the first German Post-Holocaust Cantor ordained in Germany. It has been a year since his ordination at Berlin’s Abraham Geiger College and his story has been widely written about in the German press as Germany’s first cantor since before WWII.
In addition to a special Shabbat service on Friday, June 18, there will be a Saturday evening social event where Israeli-born and German-raised Juval Porat will perform a non-liturgical song he has written for his new temple family (“This is My Arrival”) at a private home in Hancock Park. (Address for press coverage only and not for publication: 667 S June St in Los Angeles.)
Celebrating its 38th year, Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC) is the world’s first synagogue founded by, and with an outreach to, lesbians and gay men. It is a progressive and diverse community of people who come together to celebrate Jewish faith and culture weekly. Its name means “House of New Life,” and its services, social gatherings and broader activism work in concert to make the unique community live up to its name.
BCC Rabbi Lisa Edwards sees an organic connection between the synagogue’s day to day outreach to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons and the bold historic step represented by Juval’s coming to Los Angeles. “As we rejoice in opening the door to all who seek the embrace of their religious community, we also celebrate the return of those who may have fallen out with their traditions and now wish to reconnect. It seems the rekindling of Germany’s Jewish Theological lamp is just such an example of spirit found again, traditions reinstated and a community strengthened through remembrance and renewal.”
BCC President Bruce Maxwell noticed marked differences in the names suggested for invitations. “We’ve been so involved in the logistics of bringing Juval here; some of us have forgotten that this process ultimately links us to an international community of Jews, cultural commentators and journalists who will find much to mine in his story.”
More concerned with adjusting to his new home and creating a significant musical relationship to BCC, the classically trained Porat doesn’t see himself as the poster boy for anything more than putting his whole being into every note. In the self-penned “This is My Arrival” he speaks of “landing on soft ground” after traveling for so long. It is a song of gratitude and also of the sweetness of belonging, knowing who one is. While it is deeply personal to the young cantor, it clearly mirrors the feelings of so many BCC worshipers, their LGBT counterparts around the globe, Jews and non-Jews everywhere, all who have taken the cherished journey toward a spiritual home.
Rabbi Lisa Edwards, Cantor Juval Porat, and President Bruce Maxwell are available for interviews. Please contact Felicia Park-Rogers, Executive Director of Beth Chayim Chadashim, at 323.931.7023, ext. 203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please visit the BCC online