“People said ‘well, he was a reporter, and a cop, and now he’s a cantor.’ When I look back on it, everything that I’ve done in my life, all of those jobs and the other smaller jobs in between, have always been about doing things with people, for people—helping them in some way.”

Michael Shochet, Senior Cantor of Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church, Virginia; Chief Chaplain of Fairfax County, Virginia Police

Few of us can tell a personal career story as dramatic and ever-changing as Michael Shochet. After college, he became one of the youngest TV news reporters in Baltimore before pivoting to police work.

But, Shochet was hardly settled on patrolling the streets of one of America’s most dangerous cities.

Extreme on-the-job stress—and PTSD—sent him soul-searching. The work he eventually embraced, that of a cantor in Reform Judaism and police chaplain, would redefine his life and bring him boundless purpose and joy.

In this second part of a two-part episode, Shochet:

  • Provides his first-person account of a police shooting that seriously injured his partner [starts at 1:28]
  • Details his own struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as the seemingly uncaring attitude of his superiors who expected him back at work quickly [starts at 7:55]
  • Describes how he left policing to became a Cantor in Reform Judaism [starts at 12:40]
  • Connects his skill and experience as a communicator, former police officer, and member of the clergy in the role of Chief Chaplain for Virginia’s largest police department [starts at 17:55]

About our guest: Michael Shochet received a Bachelor of Science from Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications and a Masters in Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College. He is the Senior Cantor for Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Virginia and Chief Chaplain of the Fairfax County, Virginia Police Department. Shochet and his family live in Fairfax County, Virginia.

EPISODE DATE: October 19, 2018

Social media:

Temple Rodef Shalom – Profile

Photo credits: Chaplain Michael Shochet in Ride Along, Michael Ventura; At Podium, Michael Shochet.

Music credit: “Kadusha,” performed by Cantor Michael Shochet, Temple Rodef Shalom (Used with permission).