It is very unusual for five cantors to retire from the pulpit at the same time in the same general geographical area.
In fact, five members of the Cantors Assembly in the Seaboard Region recently retired from their respective pulpits; four of whom served Conservative congregations and one who served a Reform congregation. Four of them served in the Baltimore-Washington area, and one in Charlotte, North Carolina, but he used to serve a congregation in the Baltimore area. All five of them are long-standing, respected members of the Cantors Assembly, the largest organization of cantors worldwide, which affiliates with the Conservative Movement. They are also beloved members of its Seaboard Region, a subset of the Cantors Assembly that meets monthly in each other’s synagogues for learning, socializing and sharing a meal.
The members of the Seaboard Region of the Cantors Assembly felt that these hazzanim should be honored by their colleagues for the contributions they’ve made to their synagogues, to our region and to klal yisrael. We recently presented beautiful custom-made certificate-plaques to each of our newest retirees to honor them for their years of service to their congregations and to the greater Jewish community. We felt that it was important that they be recognized and to have a meaningful keepsake from their colleagues for the indelible mark each of them has made in furthering the musical and spiritual life of their congregations, as well as the larger Jewish community.
The plaques say: “In honor and recognition of a career devoted to service of the House of Israel, the People of Israel and the office, and profession of Hazzan, touching the lives of countless souls, young and old, on occasions of joy and sorrow, for which you will ever be remembered in gratitude and love. May the Almighty grant you and your family many years of good health and joy in a world at peace. Mazel Tov on your retirement.”
Here are our beloved retirees:
Cantor Emanuel Perlman served as hazzan of Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Pikesville for 21 years. He is now traveling the world in his new role as the founder and CEO of Destination Peace International. When not traveling, he and his wife Janice are “shepping nachas” from their children and grandchildren.
Cantor Roger Eisenberg served as hazzan of Beth Israel Congregation in Owings Mills for 17 years. He and his wife Liz are now blessed to spend more time with their children and grandchildren in their new life in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Cantor Elias Roochvarg previously served as Hazzan of Beth Israel Congregation (1980-1995). He has just retired as hazzan of Temple Israel of Charlotte, North Carolina, after 23 years. He plans to volunteer in his community, take some classes and travel.
Cantor Edwin Gerber served as hazzan of Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase, Maryland, for 35 years. He and his wife Barbara plan to remain active members of Ohr Kodesh, regularly visit their two children and four grandchildren in Baltimore and travel in the United States and abroad, as well as volunteer for worthy causes.
Cantor Robbie Solomon, who holds dual membership in both the Cantors Assembly and the American Conference of Cantors (the Reform Movement), served as hazzan of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation for nine years. He and his wife Helen now live near their children and grandchildren in the Boston area, enjoying a less structured existence. He continues to perform with Safam and occasionally davens at various synagogues.
We wish our retired colleagues much happiness, good health and fulfillment as they embark upon the next chapter of their lives.
Hazzan Kim Komrad is chair of the Cantors Assembly Seaboard Region. She has served Kehilat Shalom Congregation in Gaithersburg since 2002 and previously served Beth Israel
Congregation in Owings Mills.