Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Memory of Cantor David Tauber

A terrible tragedy occurred on Monday when Cantor David Tauber was killed by a flash flood near the Dead Sea in Israel. Cantor Tauber and his wife were hiking in the desert, when the waters rose without warning. She managed to survive and he was swept away by the flood.

For the past two years, Cantor Tauber served as Cantor of North Shore Synagogue, along with myself and our senior Rabbi David Whiman. The Cantor leads the musical life of the synagogue, singing in services, teaching children and officiating at life cycle events. David had a beautiful baritone voice, but it was his shining personality that we will all remember.

Yesterday, we told our religious school children about his passing and we asked them to describe what they remember about Cantor Tauber. They talked about his energy, enthusiasm, how he always smiled and played his guitar with passion. David loved music, but he also loved sharing it with others and helping them find their voices in prayer.

Cantor David Tauber was 34 years old. His loss is a great tragedy, and as a rabbi of about the same age, it is hard for me to imagine the pain that his wife and family are feeling. One of my congregants aptly said that it is hard to make sense of such a terrible accident.

We will be holding funeral services for Cantor Tauber at our Temple, and we will say goodbye to a good man, who loved music, loved Judaism, and cared more about others than himself. I hope and pray that over time his wife and family find peace and comfort. Zecher Latzadik livrachah, the memory of the righteous is always a blessing. Amen.

Below please find a reprint of an article from Newsday newspaper on Long Island that describes the memory and great work of Cantor David Tauber.

Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer

North Shore Synagogue cantor drowns in Israel
BY LAURA RIVERA
, February 26, 2008

An avid hiker, David Tauber was exploring the gorges and streams of a lush reserve near the Dead Sea when rushing waters barreled down the trail.While he was able to help his wife get to high ground, Tauber, an acclaimed cantor at a Syosset synagogue, was apparently overwhelmed by the flash flood and drowned on Monday, the congregation's rabbi said Tuesday."They both loved the land of Israel," said Rabbi David Whiman, senior rabbi of the North Shore Synagogue. "It's just a great tragedy."Tauber's wife, Heather, was later rescued by helicopters, according to news reports.

The Taubers, of Brooklyn, had gone to Israel to attend the annual mission of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, for which Heather works, the rabbi said. After the conference, they traveled for pleasure to Ein Gedi nature reserve, a 6,250-acre oasis between the Judean desert and the Dead Sea, about 50 miles southeast of Jerusalem.

The congregation was reeling Tuesday from the loss of a cantor who had won over its members during two years of service, Whiman said."He had a very boyish charm about him. When he would conduct the service, it was in an endearing, engaging, and absolutely invitational kind of way," he said. "There was such a conspicuous delight in the way he would sing and encourage the people to join in liturgy and music."

A recipient of the H.L. Miller Cantorial Fellowship, Tauber, who was in his mid 30s, was installed as a resident cantor at the reform congregation in a ceremony last November, Whiman said.Tauber replaced a cantor who died of cancer after serving eight or nine years, said Wayne Landau, the synagogue's president."It was a difficult position," he said. "It would take a special human being to replace . David was able to do that and win over the hearts and minds of the congregants."

Under Tauber's stewardship, the synagogue's adult and junior choirs expanded and improved as he coached them at weekly rehearsals, and prepared them for a monthly service with song, he said. He also coached bar and bat mitzvah students in chanting from the scriptures.A graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan, Tauber also trained as an opera singer, performing in the Amato Opera in Manhattan and the Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, according to a biography on the North Shore Synagogue's Web site.

Links to newspaper articles about Cantor David Tauber:

Newsday Article: Click Here

Jerusalem Post Article: Click Here

8 comments:

Leah said...

I can't even imagine what your congregation is going through with the loss of your cantor. We'll keep him in our thoughts and prayers.

Caroline said...

I have known Heather since college; she is still a dear and close friend, and I was so happy to say that Dave was not just my friend's husband--he became my friend, too.

May God comfort all who knew Dave Tauber in the difficult days and weeks to come.

DrMom said...

The only sense I can make of such a tragedy is that G'd needed a baritone for his choir of angels...
My thoughts are with you, his family and your congregation.

Vocecita said...

Sad story! May the peace of God be with the family and friends!

Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer said...

Thank you all for your kind words and condolences. We are all doing the best we can.

Rob Mann said...

I am David's cousin and would like to take the opportunity posed by this website to convey what your congregation meant to him. Throughout his years as a cantor, he dreamed of serving a congregation that he could embrace and share many wonderful memories. He had very good experiences in other communities but found it difficult to live with the inherent politics and negotiations that characterize many congregations. He felt that such dynamics could detract from the sense of community. When he was installed as the Cantor at North Shore, he had found his home - a community that he could embrace with a mutually shared passion that was returned by the congregation itself. Thus, while David's untimely death has cut this "love affair" short, I/we am so thankful that he was able to realize his professional dream before his last day. A heartfelt thanks to the North Shore leadership and congregation for delivering the dream of a wonderful man who will be sorely missed. We should all be so lucky to realize the depths of our passions as David realized with you, the North Shore community. May God bless you all for the nachas you brought to him, Heather, my Aunt Phyllis and the rest of our family.

Anonymous said...

I knew David when he was working at Camp Ramah in Nyack as a lifeguard. I remember him singing Italian operas while we would paint buildings. I can still remember the gleam in his eyes when he would perform for the staff.


- Yonina Creditor

Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer said...

Rob,

Thank you so much for sharing these words with us. We were so pleased to have Cantor Tauber as a clergy member of our synagogue. To know that he felt the same kind of fulfillment being with us is deeply comforting.