Cantorial Program Former Description

Recognizing the evolving role of the cantor or hazzan, who functions as a spiritual leader of the Jewish people, AJR pioneered the full ordination (semikha) of cantorial students as Hazzan uMoreh/Morah b’Yisrael (Cantor and Teacher in Israel).

Our vision is for the cantor (hazzan) to be a living resource of all aspects of Jewish musical tradition with a profound mastery of the melodies and chants for all approaches to Jewish prayer, hassidic niggunim, and Yiddish songs. The contemporary cantor is also charged with leadership and responsibility in many other areas, and must be familiar with classical Jewish texts, Biblical traditions, contemporary Judaic scholarship, education, and the skills of working with individuals and communities in times of joy and sorrow.

We also envision the rabbi and the cantor working with each other as partners, sharing leadership and responsibilities, and recognizing the unique expertise held by each. To enhance mutual understanding, and to foster their common mission of leadership and service, rabbinical and cantorial students study alongside each other to the greatest extent possible. We also anticipate that in some cases a cantor might be the sole spiritual leader of a congregation. The education offered by AJR supports this possibility.

For a more detailed description, including course requirements, see: Program Requirements