I am delighted to announce that our wonderful and talented Song Leader, Cindy Michelassi, has just signed a new contract with Congregation Etz Chaim. This is the perfect time for me to share with you the many ways in which Cindy contributes to the life of our community.
Many of you have learned songs from Cindy at our monthly Family Services, or have heard her singing with the Life Tree Ramblers. Cindy does so much more than this. First, through her music she inspires our children in many different ways throughout the year. She provides music for our Junior Congregations during the High Holidays She instills a love of Jewish music in our youngest members when she sings at Tot Shabbat, Tot Shabbat Plus, and Shabbat Chaverim. She provides music at Religious School Shabbatons and dinners, and has a great time with the 5th graders at their overnight, with her repertoire of funny yet creepy songs!
Cindy also provides music for many events that both kids and adults attend. She provides music for July services when our worship services are lay-led, as well as for Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Shavuot services. She is the Song Leader at the Congregational Seder and at the Congregational Retreat. When we come to the synagogue for Saturday evening programs, Cindy leads us in a spiritually uplifting Havdalah service before our “regularly scheduled programming” begins. Cindy also brings her creativity to bear on innovative new programs, such as the Debbie Friedman tribute service she created and ran last fall, and a special Shabbat service of all new music (Shir Chadash -- A New Song) which will take place on June 21st. In order to develop and hone her skills, Cindy is a regular participant at the international song leading and music conference, Hava Nashira, held annually at OSRUI.
Finally, above and beyond her work as our Song Leader, Cindy volunteers her services as a Rabbinic Aid. Many of us have been part of a Shiva Minyan when Cindy has led the worship service, and she truly brings comfort to the bereaved. She is active in the larger community, most recently giving presentations about Judaism at St. John Neumann Church in St. Charles and at Elmhurst College, and leading two model Seders for local senior centers. In addition, Cindy has an ongoing role as representative for the Jewish community at the Elmhurst Ministerium and she participates with Rabbi Bob at the Elmhurst College Holocaust Guestship program's Service of Remembrance.
We are fortunate to have such a creative, dynamic and hardworking Song Leader sharing her gifts with us. Cindy enriches the life of our community immeasurably.