Jewish clergy group changes name to include new cantorial members

Image: St. Louis Rabbinical and Cantorial Association website, stlrabbis.org

The St. Louis Rabbinical Association has changed its name to reflect its welcoming of ordained cantors in to the organization. The group is now the St. Louis Rabbinical and Cantorial Association (STLRCA).

Since its founding in 1955, the STLRCA has been an umbrella organization for rabbis from all streams of Judaism. Its membership currently includes over 30 rabbis from Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Renewal, and Reform congregations and institutions. For the first time, the membership now also includes ordained cantors.

“The rabbis voted unanimously to invite cantors to join us, and we are very pleased that Cantors Ron Eichaker, Joshua Finkel, Sharon Nathanson, and Seth Warner are now members,” said STLRCA president, Rabbi Noah Arnow of Kol Rinah.  “Their presence at meetings and having their experience and wisdom will be of great help as we offer professional development opportunities to Jewish clergy and discuss issues of concern to congregations and the larger Jewish community. The STLRCA is now more truly representative of our community’s klei kodesh (instruments of holiness).” 

Cantor Seth Warner, who serves Congregation Shaare Emeth, said he is excited to study and learn together with his clergy colleagues.  “The inclusion of cantors in the St. Louis Rabbinical and Cantorial Association is an important step forward for our community.  Cantors and rabbis learning, studying and convening regularly deepens relationships among colleagues and develops good-will between congregations,” said Warner.  

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The cantor at United Hebrew Congregation, Ron Eichaker, was also recently ordained as a rabbi. “ I am happy that the SLRCA has advanced the already growing recognition of the importance of all Jewish spiritual leaders,” Eichaker said.

“While the professional roles of the cantor and rabbi may differ from congregation to congregation, it is important for the community to understand the interdisciplinary responsibilities complement rather than compete.”

The STLRCA meets monthly and is a forum for clergy to discuss and act on major community issues. It offers professional development for rabbis and cantors, promotes interfaith and interracial dialogue, and co-sponsors the Rabbi Robert P. Jacobs Jewish Fund for Human Needs along with the Jewish Community Relations Council. STLRCA members also provide the weekly d’var Torah in the St. Louis Jewish Light.