With the start of the 2020-21 school year upon us, we are highlighting members of the incoming class of students. Click here to see all of the posts in this series.
Today we’re talking with incoming MJS student Linda Bernstein, who has already earned some credits at AJRCA.
Q1) Where do you live?
Q2) How did you first hear of AJRCA?
I have known about AJRCA for many years, as I was looking for a west coast cantorial program.
Q3) What was it about AJRCA that drew you to enroll here?
AJRCA is the only cantorial program on the west coast. I wanted to apply to it several years ago but due to other work and family obligations, was unable to commute from San Francisco to Los Angeles on a regular basis, as used to be required. Now that I am semi-retired, and I can attend classes via Zoom, there are no longer any obstacles. I was accepted as a Cantorial Intern of The Cantors Assembly (CICA) and decided to satisfy my requirements by taking courses at the AJRCA. Later, I applied for and was accepted to the Masters in Jewish Studies (MJS) Program with an emphasis on music in Jewish Life. So I am currently a dual “CICA” and MJS student.
Q4) What were you doing prior to enrolling?
I am a Doctor of Pharmacy and have worked in a variety of capacities including academia, corporate pharmacy, public health, drug safety, hospital and long term care pharmacy and medical communications. I am a Clinical Professor on the volunteer faculty of the School of Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco. I founded my own company, Vita Media Corporation, that specializes in medical communications. See www.drlindabernstein.com for details and demos. I continue to use my media pharmacy skills in a variety of ways. For example, I write health articles for Costco Connection Magazine. I produced, wrote and hosted The Drug Report, an audio informational program, on ReachMD.com.
I have been a lay service leader (shaliach tzibur) at conservative synagogue, Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco for many years, served on their Board and headed the Ritual Committee, among other things.
I am recently married. I have two wonderful children with great spouses, and six grandchildren.
I enjoy singing, playing piano and guitar, walking around the hills of the city and playing tennis. I am starting to compose Jewish music and am excited to develop that skill even further.
Q5) As you embark on this experience, what are you most excited about?
I am in my second year of classes and look forward to advancing my cantorial skills with a year long course in cantillation and another in High Holiday nusach (chanting). I am also going to complete my Masters thesis and Capstone Project based upon a survey I developed to assess national trends in synagogue ritual programs and activities during the pandemic. My plan is to reapply to the AJRCA Cantorial Program for the Fall of 2021.