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Beth El Congregation
IPPE Shabbat is led by Rabbi Faith Cantor, Morah Becky and the T'filah Team and Mitzvah Monsters in the Schuster Library.
Join us for songs, stories, and a wonderful family Shabbat experience.
Clergy Profiles | Beth El Congregation
Rabbi Faith Cantor
Rabbi Faith Cantor
Rabbi Faith Cantor is a graduate of Cal State University in Northridge where she majored in history.
Rabbi Cantor completed her Junior year of college in Israel at the Jerusalem Hebrew University.
studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America
in New York.
After ordination as a Rabbi she
became the Director of Judaic studies for Solomon Schecter in Suffolk County, New York.
accepted the position of Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel
in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Beth El Rabbi Faith Cantor ...
Beth El Rabbi Faith Cantor and Bor said the school also has plans to expand on the programming already offered for students with special needs.
They were extremely successful, amazing," said Cantor
, who described the class, which is funded by the Schapiro Yerushalayim
Program, as "small, extremely multisensory and grounded in the best practices of teaching students with dyslexia, dysgraphia and other language-based learning differences."
Cantor has been taking courses to strengthen her own special-education teaching skills and has also consulted with experts such as Ben Shifrin, head of school at Jemicy in Owings Mills.
Students in the cohort aren't taught with traditional textbooks since they aren't well served by them, Cantor
Instead, the rabbi creates the materials these students will use in class.
hopes Beth El
will add cohorts for students with language-based learning differences in the second, third and fourth grades in the fall of 2016.
Bor and Cantor
are extremely proud of the congregation's sensory-friendly Shabbat services, which are held four times a year for children, families and young adults with sensory or behavioral challenges that make it hard for them to sit through a more conventional, 90-minute service.
"We bring in rocking chairs and overstuffed couches and the services are really multisensory," Cantor
said the school is "constantly upping the ante" in order to include everyone in the congregational community.
The congregation has already provided b'nai mitzvah training and ceremonies for students with autism.
"I love working with students on the autism spectrum," said Cantor
When the time came, recalled Wachs, "I started taking Ally to see Rabbi Cantor while Ben was doing his bar mitzvah studies.
Rabbi Cantor really embraced the process.
noted that the decision to hold the b'nai mitzvah services of children on the autism spectrum in the main sanctuary before the entire congregation is purposeful.
"One of the things I love is that we're not boxing people in," she
"We're not saying, 'If you have a learning difference or you have autism, you have to have a Saturday afternoon bar mitzvah that's tiny in our small sanctuary.' We're saying, 'You are a part of our community.
You are going to do everything everyone else does.
We are going to honor the way you learn and the way you communicate.'"
This philosophy doesn't only benefit children with learning differences and disabilities, said Cantor
, it benefits the entire congregation.
"We are teaching the congregation how to be tolerant and open-minded," she
Beth El Congregation Rabbi Faith ...
Beth El Congregation Rabbi Faith Cantor said that in an ideal Jewish community, everyone would attend synagogue regularly, and all parents would send their children to Hebrew school.
But, in today's transient, fast-paced society, Rabbi Cantor admits that is not always plausible.
In many cases, and for many reasons, getting children to Hebrew school
can be difficult, she
"The days of if we build it, they will come are done in today's Jewish community," Rabbi Cantor said.
"Many of our rituals have pagan ...
"Many of our rituals have pagan roots, including Sukkot," says Rabbi Faith Cantor, the rabbi/educator at Pikesville's Beth El Congregation, noting that the ritual of shaking the lulav itself has pagan roots.
"That's not something that cancels out Halloween. [Claiming a holiday] is exactly what the rabbis did [with Sukkot]."
In fact, Rabbi Cantor even recalled sukkah-hopping once on a kibbutz in Israel and collecting candy in much the same way that trick-or-treaters do.
Rabbi Cantor, who teaches seventh-grade students at Beth El's religious school, also has spooky plans for the end of the month.
"We are going to be at the Beth El cemetery burying ritual objects and books that can no longer be used," she
says, noting that she
intends to share Jewish stories of ghosts and witches during the activity.
"I'm going to capitalize on the fact that I know my students are excited about Halloween [by teaching] them about what Jewish tradition has to say about what's already on their minds."
will tell the story of King Saul visiting the Witch of Endor in the Tanach, as well as talmudic tales of ghosts and the story of Golem, a character from Jewish folklore created entirely from inanimate matter who came to save the Jews of Prague from anti-Semitic attacks and pogroms.
Capitalizing on the spirit of the season, however, doesn't mean an open embrace of Halloween at the synagogue, as Rabbi Cantor makes clear.
"I wouldn't host a synagogue Halloween party," she
Rabbi Cantor says she allows her own children to trick-or-treat as long as they don't dress in "violent or gross" costumes and greet neighbors with "Happy Halloween" instead of "Trick or Treat."
"I think it's a very personal decision," she
"I think Halloween really has become an American custom, and if you feel comfortable participating, do that to whatever extent you feel comfortable."
Even if that means not sending your own child-ren out trick-or-treating, it might mean setting out candy for other families who do celebrate Halloween.
"Enable somebody else's joy," Rabbi Cantor says.