As part of a special grant from the Houston Jewish Community Foundation, Cantor 

Vadim Tunitsky will visit Temple Beth Torah for two special presentations in November. On 

Sunday, Nov. 9, Cantor Tunitsky will present offer a talk for adults and older religious 

school students called “Jewish Music, from King David to Today.” He will explore the history 

of how music has influenced Jewish prayer and spirituality. According to the Cantor, even 

before the First Temple was built by King Solomon, music enhanced the Jewish experience. 

Modern composers like Debbie Friedman (of blessed memory), Craig Taubman, Jeff Klepper, 

Rick Recht, Josh Nelson, Cantor Meir Finkelstein (Congregation Beth Yeshurun) and others, the 

Jewish worship experience continues to evolve to touch present and future generations. A lunch 

will follow the presentations, and reservations for lunch are required by November 5 by emailing 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 281-446-5611. 

Instruments play a strong role in Cantor Tunitsky’s presentations. As an accomplished 

violinist, the presentation will include musical interludes to help participants find their own 

spiritual connections.

The following Friday night, Nov. 14, Cantor Tunitsky will join Temple Beth 

Torah’s Rabbi Dan Gordon in leading a spirited, musical Shabbat service. That weekend is part 

of the temple’s “Social Justice Shabbat.” In addition to the musical centerpiece of the service, 

Lonnie Kleinman, a community engagement consultant from the Institute of Southern Jewish 

Life (ISJL) will be a guest speaker. Temple Beth Torah has had a close relationship with ISJL, 

based in Jackson, Mississippi, for several years. In addition to educational programs for children 

and adults, the temple has expanded the relationship for ISJL to provide guidance in the areas of 

community engagement. Temple Beth Torah has developed a Social Action Leadership Team 

(SALT), which coordinates temple members in community service projects. Some of SALT’s 

contributions have included programs for local women and children’s shelters, food drives for 

Humble Area Assistance Ministries and a cooking day at Aishel House (affiliated with Chabad 

of the Medical Center) to provide meals for those caring for patients at M.D. Anderson. The 

“Social Justice Shabbat” will continue throughout the weekend with Lonnie Kleinman leading 

programs about both learning and action.

Funding for Cantor Tunitsky’s presentations comes from the Goldstaub Community 

Special Needs Fund of the Houston Jewish Community Foundation and from the Tom Theriot 

Memorial Program Fund of Temple Beth Torah. Tom Theriot, who passed away in 2008, was a 

member of Temple Beth Torah who loved music, and his family established a fund to help bring 

more musical experiences to the temple. “We were thrilled to learn that the Foundation would 

partner with the Theriot Fund to support our efforts to enhance our spiritual experiences,” said 

Rabbi Gordon. “Music is a great equalizer. Even those who don’t know much Hebrew can feel 

how moving the spirit can touch the soul. Every time I hear Cantor Tunitsky, I’m drawn in by 

his passion. I’m excited that the members of Temple Beth Torah will also be able to feel that 

Temple Beth Torah has served the Jewish communities of Humble, Kingwood and other 

suburbs northeast of Houston for over 30 years. The membership includes a wide variety of 

backgrounds, including many interfaith families and those learning about Judaism. For more 

information about all the temple’s programs, visit or call 281.446.5611.

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