Thank you for your interest in applying to the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Cantorial Program. Here's what's involved:
- Musical Competence: You must possess a trained singing voice and competence in sight reading, ear training, keyboard harmony, music theory, and some competence in piano. Folk guitar is desirable but not essential.
- Academic Competence: As a prospective applicant to the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, you must have completed two years of college-level Hebrew (or its equivalent); an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA; and GRE scores within the past 5 years or the TOEFL exam (for international applicants). You must demonstrate the potential for high-level graduate studies.
- Personal Characteristics: As a potential member of the clergy, you are expected to be inspired by the prospect of dedicating your life to service: teaching adults and children; developing interpersonal skills; and creating and presenting cultural programs appropriate to Jewish life. As a singer, you should enjoy performance and the challenge of engaging others in the act of worship. You must be dedicated to a life of learning and discovery, personal spiritual growth, the pursuit of excellence, and commitment to Judaism and the values implicit in a Jewish way of life.
How to Apply
Prospective candidates should contact Cantor Bruce Ruben
, Director, The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, for a required in-person preliminary interview, which includes an informal audition and a sight singing test. This conversation is intended to answer your questions and enhance your candidacy. These interviews are often scheduled during our Open Houses
With the Director's approval, you will gain access to an online application packet and begin the formal application process. Please visit our Admissions
page for further information.
Formal Audition/Interview Process
After successfully completing your application, the Admissions office will contact you to offer you a specific date, usually in February or March, for your formal audition and interview to qualify for admission.
- A psychological exam is required of all students and usually takes place within 1-2 days prior to your interview date.
- A Hebrew exam is administered during the week of the interview. Even if you have been admitted to the cantorial program, you must earn a passing grade on this exam to begin the Year in Israel.
- Audition: You will be asked to sing three pieces of music showing your ability to perform the classical repertoire, an accompanied Reform piece, and a folk composition. In addition, you will be asked to sight sing a simple folk tune.
- Interview: This is an opportunity for the committee to discuss your essays and to find out more about you as a person. The committee tries to assess your potential for the cantorate.
Within two weeks of the audition/interview, you will hear the decision of the committee. There are three possible outcomes:
Financial Aid and Cost of Attendance
- Acceptance: The committee decision is that you are qualified to begin cantorial school, assuming you pass the Hebrew exam.
- Not at this time: The committee feels that you have many strengths and could be a successful student at HUC-JIR, but there are areas that you need to work on prior to reapplying to the program.
- Rejection: The committee has decided that you are not a good fit for our program.
Financial aid is awarded annually in the form of scholarship assistance and government loans. More detailed information about financial aid and cost of attendance is available on the Financial Aid Webpage
, which also includes a net price calculator for the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. Prospective students are encouraged to contact the Department of Financial Aid
for additional information.