Congregation Beth Shalom has announced that Cantor Benjamin Rosner will be leaving the congregation at the end of his contract, June 30, 2013.
“While we have valued his time with us and have deeply appreciated his many efforts on our behalf,” according to a Nov. 27 statement released by the congregation, “financial conditions in the Pittsburgh Jewish community have not been sufficient for us to assure his continued tenure with us. We look forward to honoring Cantor Ben this spring and wish to acknowledge publicly at least a few of his many contributions to Beth Shalom.”
Rosner and Beth Shalom President Stefi Kirschner, declined to be interviewed for this story.
A Chicago native, Rosner, 32, moved to Pittsburgh with his wife, Alyssa, in July 2010 to join Beth Shalom following his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Since that time, he has led Shabbat and holiday services, as well as daily and shiva minyanim for the Conservative congregation on Beacon Street.
In addition to conducting services, Rosner also taught b’nai mitzva students how to chant Torah and Haftora, and taught davening skills to adults.
Rosner also led adult education programs for Tu B’Shvat, Pesach and Shavuot.
“Musically, Cantor Ben brought enormous enthusiasm and energy to our Congregation’s musical side,” according to the written statement released to the congregation. “He restarted the advanced, the learners’ and the children’s choirs, taught choir musical skills, sight reading and basic choral reading. He implemented creative and novel ideas to increase attendance at services and uplift their spiritual character including enhancing the Shabbat Alive davening experience with the use of the Beth Shalom band for adult musical participants and, working with Rabbi Werbow, the increased use of Congregational singing during Kabbalat and Shabbat morning services.”
The statement also mentioned Rosner’s outreach to the larger community.
“He supervised and worked with concert committees in planning events and associated fundraising efforts, including the highly successful Dunkin’ Donuts J-Jam events, an open-mic opportunity for musicians of all ages to perform mostly Jewish music,” according to the statement. “He hosted and led many programs about home congeniality and hospitality at his own home and other homes to reach out to young professionals. He also hosted musical havdala programs in home sukkas and sang at many community events.”
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)