Shema Koleinu

Debbi Ballard

Connecting People to Judaism

After 20 years in the corporate management arena, Cantor Debbi decided to reach back into the early years of her life, to revive her long ago passion of Jewish music. Uninspired in her career as a layleader of a popular synagogue in West Broward, Debbi began to see clearly why people were becoming disengaged from and disinterested in synagogue membership. As a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor, Debbi saw a need for more personalized services, more personal clergy connections, and more meaningful and relevant worship — with a lot less rules and restrictions. She wondered to herself…”Why can’t we just make being Jewish FUN?”

Then, the divine answer came to her, one day. “YOU CAN!!”, she heard! (well, not sure if she heard it or felt it…) but that conviction, that feeling, that hope propelled her to seek a way to become what today’s Jewish population was seeking and not finding. She found it through Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, of The Rabbinic Seminary, and immediately fell in love with this 93 year old man’s modern day philosophy about ministering to Jews in a modern day setting.

Finding more spirituality and connection at the beach than in a beautifully decorated sanctuary, Debbi began a journey of learning, introspection, and prayer.  She formed a vision for what she knew was possible — a world where Jews would embrace their faith, heritage, and theology — but in ways that were meaningful and relevant to their modern day lives. And it worked. After 7 years in practice, Debbi is one of the most well known independent clergy in the country, who brings passion, enthusiasm, and spirituality to all of the families she serves.

Debbi is best known for that passion and optimism she brings to her role.  Her philosophies of unity are embraced by all who know her. She inspires everyone whose lives she touches to remember to focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us. She encourages her congregants to remember that we all have the power to build our own relationship with G-d, through service, prayer, tzedakah, and mitzvot. Debbi inspires her congregants to love their Judaism. She enthusiastically supports Interfaith and Intercultural families, knowing that an open door is far more productive than a closed one.

Cantor Debbi can be found online at Stop by, read a blog entry or two, and see why Debbi feels she is the luckiest person in the world! You just might find her officiating a wedding in Mexico, a Bar Mitzvah on a Cruise Ship, or on a coffee plantation in Uganda — but one thing is for sure, Cantor Debbi has the MOST fun in her job of anyone we know!