Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Twelve Moments: Experiencing Spiritual & Faith Traditions
Jewish Tradition with Cantor Rollin Simmons
Over the next year, each Twelve Moments will highlight the role of music and sound in spiritual practices, and how these practices sustain us in the face of current challenges and injustices. For the month of September, the Rothko Chapel presented a meditation in the Jewish tradition, led by Cantor Rollin Simmons of Congregation Emanu El. During these uncertain times, it is essential to find ways to be present in the moment, to not just wish this time away, but to find joy and gratitude around and within ourselves. As we near the most sacred time of the Jewish calendar - Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement - we will use the tools of Jewish ritual and prayer to bring awareness to our bodies and lift our spirits up with song. Come with an open mind and an open heart. All are welcome.
About the Twelve Moments series
Since 2005, the Rothko Chapel has shared a monthly contemplative practice featuring different spiritual and faith traditions. Taking place on the first Wednesday of each month from 12-1pm, this series engages teachers and religious leaders from the greater Houston community, providing opportunities to learn more about specific traditions and participate in a contemplative practice.
About the presenter
Rollin Simmons has served as Cantor at Congregation Emanu El here in Houston for the last three years. At Emanu El, her roles include music director, worship leader, teacher, pastor, life cycle officiant, youth choir director, concert producer, and conversion mentor. She is grateful to work with an inspiring clergy team and staff to enrich the lives of the Jewish community and beyond.
Cantor Simmons received a B.A. with a major in Art History and a minor in Italian from Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, NY and an M.Ed in Special Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. While in Cambridge, she was a soloist with the Zamir Chorale of Boston, performing locally and internationally. Inspired and encouraged by her cantor, Roy Einhorn at Temple Israel Boston, and her experiences with Jewish music in the Zamir Chorale, Cantor Simmons decided to pursue cantorial school. As a student at The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, Cantor Simmons was honored to serve as the Student Cantor at Temple Emanu-El of Dallas, TX; Hebrew Tabernacle in Washington Heights in New York City; and The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, NY.
After being ordained in 2010, Cantor Simmons moved to Aspen, CO, where she served as co-clergy with her husband for seven years at the Aspen Jewish Congregation. During her time in Aspen, Cantor Simmons transformed the worship experience through creative uses of music and liturgy, while also convening with the mountains. In her free time, she enjoys art projects with her kids Levi and Bea, eating delicious treats baked by her husband, Rabbi David Segal, and walks with their dog, Olive.