DECEMBER 7, 2017 – SWAMPSCOTT – Citing a desire to spend more time with her family, Cantor Elana Rozenfeld, of Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott, has decided to step down from her post in June.
Rozenfeld announced her decision in a letter to the congregation. “I am writing to let you know that I have decided not to continue on as cantor of Shirat Hayam when my contract concludes June 30, 2018. I will be taking time off from full-time cantorial work in order to spend more time with my family.
“Please understand that this was a difficult but necessary decision for me. I have deeply enjoyed my work here and have experienced so much pride watching your children and grandchildren grow up, officiating your lifecycle events, and leading you in prayer.”
Rozenfeld, who grew up in Scarsdale, N.Y., joined Shirat Hayam six years ago after serving as a cantor at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Synagogue.
Praised for her angelic singing voice, Rozenfeld helped lead a musical renaissance at the synagogue, which was created after the merger of Temple Israel and Temple Beth El. She helped lead the congregation’s renewal minyan on shabbat, and also directed the synagogue’s youth choir, “The Chai Tones.” Earlier this year, she released a CD of her music, “Hallelu!”
In her letter she praised the congregation. “I thank you for the past six and a half years. You all have encouraged me to grow and develop beyond my wildest dreams, and have truly helped form me as a clergy person. I am eternally grateful for the accomplishments we have achieved together during this time.
“Now it is time for the next chapter of my life: to focus on my children and on our Jewish journey as a young family.”
In the same email sent to congregants, the synagogue’s rabbi, Michael Ragozin, and its president, Renée Sidman, praised Rozenfeld.
“We type these words with a heavy heart. Cantor Elana has touched our souls with her voice and spirit. She has transformed the possibility for meaning and joy on the High Holy Days. She has found a melody that invites us into the depth of the Kaddish prayer,” the synagogue leaders wrote.
“As the artist Sting sang, ‘If you love someone set them free.’ We love you, Cantor Elana. As you have blessed our lives, may you find continued blessing in your life.”
Marla Gay will lead the congregation’s Cantor Search Committee. The congregation will host a community forum on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. to discuss Rozenfeld’s departure.