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The Composer in Residence Program


Honour a loved one. Mark an occasion.

Help create Jewish music for generations to come.



In January 2022, the Board of Directors of Temple Emanu-El announced the establishment of the Temple Emanu-El Composer in Residence program. Our synagogue has a long history of musical excellence, and this program builds on that by promoting the creation of music that strengthens the spiritual and artistic life of our congregation.  

The Board announced that, in addition to her position as our synagogue's cantor, Judy Adelman Gershon was appointed as our first Composer in Residence.

In recent years, we have benefited from a host of original musical compositions and arrangements created by Judy. These new pieces have helped enrich our synagogue and elevate our place in the Jewish musical world. Judy is a Juno award-winning composer whose original compositions and arrangements have become widely sought after by Jewish organizations. The Reform Jewish Community of Canada, The Cantor’s Assembly of North America, Project Kesher (international), The United Jewish Appeal, and the Canadian Friends of Yad Vashem have all recently featured Judy’s music. With Judy as our Composer in Residence, we will be able to celebrate her compositions and further harness her creativity for the benefit of our congregation.

Click HERE to see some of the many songs either composed or arranged by Judy Adelman Gershon.


The Composer in Residence Fund

The Composer in Residence Program is driven by your support through tax-deductible donations to the Composer in Residence Fund.

Donations under $1800

Anyone can help support the creation of new music at Temple Emanu-El. Do you know someone who loves music? Wish them a mazal tov on a simcha, thank them, or just let them know you are thinking about them by making any sized donation to the fund in their honour. You can know that you have helped our congregation's musical growth. As with any donation to Temple Emanu-El, the person you are honouring will receive notification of your donation along with your message. Your donation will also be acknowledged to our full Temple Emanu-El community through our donations newsletter. For donations under $1800 please donate online HERE and choose "Composer in Residence Fund" or contact our office staff for assistance.

Donations of $1800 and over

Donations of $1800 or more will be recognized with a new piece of music composed for our synagogue to honour a loved one, a simcha, an important occasion, or simply as a way to add music to our community. Donors and honourees will be publicly recognized for this important contribution. This will include being honoured at the first performance of the piece for our congregation which can be timed to coincide with a particular simcha or event that is important to the donor. All copies of the music created with this donation will recognize the donor or honouree, including copies for all choirs, cantors, and music-makers to come – in our synagogue community and beyond. Donors and honourees will receive frameable copies of the sheet music to serve as a reminder of how they have enriched the lives of our Temple Emanu-El community. For inquiries about donations of $1800 and over, please contact Judy Adelman Gershon directly.

Foundational Donor

There is also an opportunity to provide annual support for the Composer in Residence chair or to endow it for a longer period of time.  This level of giving would be recognized in more significant ways, including naming the program (e.g., "The John Doe Composer in Residence Program") which would appear on every piece of music composed by our Composer in Residence, including copies performed by other cantors, choirs and music makers around the Jewish world. For inquiries about becoming a foundational donor of this program, please contact our Executive Director, Randi Feldman.


We look forward to new, beautiful music written in celebration of simchas, as enduring legacies to those who have passed, and as a uniquely meaningful way to honour loved ones, community leaders and teachers. 

Please reach out to Judy Adelman Gershon if you have any questions about the program. 



Compositions and Major Donations



Thank you to the major donors to our Composer in Residence Fund whose contributions of $1800 or more helped to build the musical legacy of Temple Emanu-El with the following new pieces of music: 


February 2023

  • Ha-Mitzvah Hazot, in celebration of Pat Sinervo's recovery from illness, and of the love of her family and friends who wouldn't let her go. Made possible by a gift from Pat and Pekka Sinervo. Watch the debut performance at Temple Emanu-El Shabbat Shira HERE.

Spring/Summer 2022

  • Zachar Chasdo, dedicated in loving memory of Ron Weisfeld. Made possible by a gift from the Weisfeld family.  Listen HERE.
  • Sh'lama Raba, dedicated in honour of Robin Leszner and all she has done for our congregation. Made possible by a gift from the Leszner family. Watch video HERE.


Sheet Music

Sheet music is now available for pieces created under the Composer in Residence program. All proceeds from these sales go to supporting music at Temple Emanu-El. To purchase sheet music for one of our Composer in Residence pieces, click HERE.

If you have any questions or if you would like to inquire about other pieces by Cantor Judy Adelman Gershon, feel free to contact her at:





Do I get a tax receipt?

Our current understanding from a CPA is YES, for all levels of donations. This is a donation to enhance the music of the synagogue. A piece may be originally donated in honour of a certain event or person and it can be first performed at that event (so long as it is a Temple Emanu-El event, service, simcha, etc.). A dedication will appear on the sheet music forever, but the donor doesn't own the piece and cannot sell it. It is a donation to the synagogue.

What kind of pieces can be composed under this program?

As this program is based on tax-receiptable donations, it is designed to produce music that will benefit the long-term musical life of the synagogue. Typically, this will mean a new musical setting of a traditional Jewish text. Donors can work with Judy Adelman Gershon to find a piece of text that is particularly meaningful to them. For example, a donor could request Judy to choose a piece of text from a bar/bat/b'nei mitzvah's Torah portion in honour of the occasion. This is a piece that will be particularly meaningful to that simcha, and will continue to have a place in our services. 

How will it be performed?

People who donate at the $1800+ level can discuss with Judy how a piece will first be performed for the congregation. Typically, pieces will be sung by Judy for the congregation at a service or simcha where she would normally be singing, accompanied by guitar or piano. Larger pieces, including full choral arrangements, are possible if they are fitting for the congregation and the choir; however, they may require a larger donation, depending on the resources and time necessary.

How much lead time is needed?

If you are interested in donating a piece in honour of a specific occasion, the earlier you reach out, the better so that Judy can fit it in with her other cantorial duties. On rare occasions, Judy may be able to compose a piece with just a few weeks' notice, but generally, it is best to allow 3-5 months.

Will you make a video or recording?

Videos and professional recordings of pieces are not automatically included in the program but can sometimes happen when there is additional funding to cover their costs and time to produce them. Judy Adelman Gershon will generally be able to make a "demo" recording of the piece that she can share.

Any other questions? Please reach out to Judy Adelman Gershon


Tue, April 23 2024 15 Nisan 5784