Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Master Cantor Melanie Cooperman to lead musical weekend with yoga



Friday, Aug. 7 at 6 p.m. — WOODSTOCK — The musical focus this summer continues at Congregation Shir Shalom in Woodstock with of a full weekend of music and song led by Cantor Melanie Cooperman, a rising star within Reform Judaism. A native of Minneapolis, Cooperman earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Minnesota. Then, drawn to the music scene in New York and its vibrant Jewish life, she continued her musical study at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) where she was ordained as a cantor. She is currently the cantor at Community Synagogue of Rye, N.Y.

Melanie Cooperman offers more than music, however, and young people are drawn to her for the way she entwines the things she loves with her music. One of those things is her deep love of nature and the great outdoors – she served as outdoor adventure director at Crane Lake Camp – and she is active with the Jewish Greening Fellowship, an initiative started by a group of Jewish leaders committed to this important work.

Cantor Cooperman also enjoys working with teens and their families to help them find personal meaning in their faith and to create positive experiences that underscore the connection between living, what you believe, and how it shapes the world you see and your role in it. When asked how she keeps her intense schedule, her answer is simple: “I love what I do. I love music and always have. I love nature and always have. I love working with young and old alike. I believe that loving what you do supplies the energy!” She adds that she also practices Jewish yoga and confesses that without it, she might find all that she does a bit more daunting!

Jewish yoga has played an important part in Cantor Cooperman’s life. She explains that it complements Jewish teaching through movement and breath, and she intersperses Jewish teachings throughout the practice, reinforcing the teachings with what she describes as “mindful” movement and breathing.

Cantor Cooperman will be leading several events at Congregation Shir Shalom beginning with Shir Ha’Shabbat—a song session—on Friday evening, Aug. 7 starting at 6 p.m., followed by Shabbat at 7 p.m. The music continues on Saturday evening beginning at 6 p.m. with a high holy day music workshop and light dinner. This is open to everyone who likes to sing and would like to become more familiar with the beautiful, sometimes haunting, melodies of the Jewish High Holy days. The weekend with Cantor Cooperman will conclude at Shir Shalom on Sunday morning, with Cooperman leading a Jewish Yoga class, starting at 9:30 a.m.

Congregation Shir Shalom is located at 493 Route 4W, Woodstock. For more info, call 802-457-4840.

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