Volunteer of the Month: Cantor Erin Frankel
Cantor Erin Frankel is a 2003 graduate of HUC-DFSSM. Erin is currently the Cantor at Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia.
In what capacity have you volunteered for the ACC. Were you asked, or did you just volunteer?
I think friends suggested my name, but Claire Franco asked me to be on PAG (Placement Advisory Group) that I currently sit on. I’m also on the Strategic Planning and Visionary Task Force and this is my first year on the Executive Board.
As well, I’m co-chair for the 2016 ACC convention that is going to be in Philadelphia.
In your experience, what is the best part of being a Cantor?
It’s a great job, because I’d hate to ever find myself sitting behind a desk and no two days are alike. I do work that I’m passionate about and fulfilled by. My days are filled with music and working with people.
What do you look forward to at ACC conventions?
I look forward to seeing my colleagues; the only people in the world who understand what I spend my day doing. Also, I look forward to studying and to regular Tefilah, as well as learning about a new place. And my hope is that I come away from convention being challenged in some way.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the cantorate now and into the future?
The biggest question mark for cantors and Jewish professionals in general is, “What is the future of the synagogue and Jewish life?” Will the institution survive and thrive? It should be all of our priority to ensure that it will.
What influenced you to become a Cantor? Was there someone or some experience that motivated you to go into the profession?
I had really strong mentoring from my cantor, Roy Einhorn at Temple Israel in Boston. It was clear from an early age that I had a knack for a lot of this stuff. It was constant encouragement through the years that made me realize this is what I should be doing. Growing up I became Bat Mitzvah. I was a member of the confirmation class. I was on the board of the youth group. I attended many Kallot as part of youth group as a younger person and in High School. It was a regular part of my life.
What is something we may not know about you, but you’d like to share with us?
If I were to ever stop working as a cantor, I’d love to the opportunity to write. I waver between wanting to be an essayist and a short fiction writer. Some day I may have the courage to try and do that.