My name is Susan J Katz and I am glad you have come to visit my website!
My life has been one of questioning and curiosity, adventure, and exploration, in both the external world and the greater internal, spiritual one.
My first career many years ago was as a Biologist. I learned how living things and the natural world worked, and as a University Laboratory Research Associate, learned how to manipulate or recombine DNA, the material that creates our genetic stories.
I had gone deeply into the chemical mystery of how life worked, but wanted to know more. My work shifted away from the DNA laboratory and towards following my T’ai Chi Chu’an instructor’s wishes: to teach the internal martial arts of Tai Chi Chu’an, the exercises of Chi Kung and their philosophical foundations as found in the I Ching, or Book of Changes.
Beginning with that auspicious time, my students came to be my teachers, and their keen questions piqued my curiosity about the nature of our spiritual selves further. I took University courses in Religious Studies, and the I Ching–a foundational text for the internal martial arts. There, I found a compatibility of these Eastern internal spiritual practices with my own religion of Judaism.
At the same time many internal barriers I’d had for decades dropped away, and I embraced my life-long desire to play the Oboe. My deepest levels of spiritual connectedness and self-expression became obtainable through playing this most lovely and evocative double-reed instrument.
My full-time studies continued and I focused on serving the needs of people with mental, physical, and financial barriers. Whether teaching Tai Chi Chu’an with seniors or sitting at bedside with patients living with HIV/AIDS, the focus remains; on providing the holy work of Presence, of going alongside those who are striving to find spiritual connection that may have been lost, and who have the desire to find it once again.
I am now a Professional Multi-faith Spiritual Care Chaplain and Musician, with Certificates in Grief Recovery Training, and Peer Group Facilitation. I hold memberships in the Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC) the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Canadian Freelance Guild (CFG) I freelance on the Oboe and Cor Anglais and belong to the Toronto Chinese Orchestra.
Please contact me for more information through my Contact and Services page.
More details about my career path are on my profile on LinkedIn.
Thank you for visiting!
Just found your nice blog. I’m a freelance oboist and perform for services at my Reform synagogue. I am constantly searching for oboe and piano music for HHDs and wonder if you have any suggestions, esp. for a meditation service for YK.
Susan J Katz
Hi Rina, there are some good versions of ‘Kol Nidrei’ by Bruch and Lewandowski that you might try to adapt. I also have my own adaptations of other liturgical pieces, such as ‘L’Dor vaDor’ and ‘Avinu Malkeinu’. Have you tried playing some nigunim?
Just found your blog, Susan. Wonderful insights–thank you! You seem to be doing well at JTS!