Weiss ’83 Shares Her Faith With Sick and Shut-ins

Cheri Weiss '83, a cantorial intern at Congregation Beth El in La Jolla, looks through scripture found on the glass walls of the synagogue. She has recorded a CD of High Holy Days prayers and songs that she's distributing free to shut-ins. (Photo by Nancee E. Lewis)

Cheri Weiss ’83, a cantorial intern at Congregation Beth El in La Jolla, looks through scripture found on the glass walls of the synagogue. She has recorded a CD of High Holy Days prayers and songs that she’s distributing free to shut-ins. (Photo by Nancee E. Lewis)

Cheri Weiss ’83 was recently featured in an article titled “Cantor-in training brings the spirit to Jewish shut-in,” published in the San Diego Union Tribune. Highlighting her work within the Jewish community, the article follows Weiss’ journey to bring the prayers and songs sung during High Holy Days to sick and shut-ins not able to attend services.

A project stemming from a tragedy in her own personal life, Weiss started this project as a gift to her father-in-law who, at the time, was in hospice care and not strong enough to attend High Holy Days services. His wish was to hear her sing the “Kol Nidre,” the central prayer of Yom Kippur, so she mailed him a CD of her singing sacred songs and prayers. About three weeks later he passed. But in that moment of grief she “started thinking about how many other people must be in his situation— stuck at home because they are disabled or too sick,” she states in the Tribune article. She is now the co-producer of an album titled, “HINENI: Music for the High Holy Days,” which includes songs and prayers from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that she gave away to more than 1,000 rabbis and other faith leaders, as well as hospital chaplains, and retirement and nursing homes this year.

Weiss plans to expand the project in the coming years. With a goal of delivering and sharing 10,000 CDs next year, she no longer wants to “leave the sick and shut-in forgotten and in the shadows.”