You might be wondering what a hazzanista is...well it comes from the Hebrew word "Hazzan"/"חזן" which in the Jewish tradition, is a trained singer and facilitator who leads the community in song and prayer. This person is also called a "cantor" in many synagogues in America.
I'm on a journey exploring music, Jewishness, Jewish music, and all of its tangents, I do much of this kind of work in my professional life because I love it, I am trained in it, and I simply can't help it no matter how hard I try. Throughout Jewish history, the role of the cantor has been questioned in American Jewish communities. Some of this questioning has been antagonistic, like "Why do we need them anyway?" and but some it is thought provoking and allows us to expand our mind about what cantors contribute to our communities. So many cantors do incredible work. I would not at all be who I am today without my childhood cantor who taught me 90% of the traditional liturgy. Having trained musicians and community facilitators employed and present in Jewish spaces is vital to the survival of prayer as a living, breathing entity. Plus, it makes synagogue way more fun!
We are living through both a Jewish musical renaissance and a time of deep reflection and exploration around what prayer is and can be. Let us step up to the task of finding new ways to be close to each other and close to Oneness. Let us look at each other (yes, for so long that it's awkward) and dive into the vulnerability of what it means to pray, to be seen, and to be true in community.