If you are seeking a meaningful way to combine your passion for music and Judaism, the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Cantorial Program is the ideal path for you. Our cantorial students come from a variety of backgrounds - including opera, musical theater, songleading, Jewish studies, teaching, music administration, computer technology, the world of finance, as well as other professions - yet all have a common love of music and Judaism. As a potential member of the clergy, you will gain a strong musical background including vocal training, musicianship, and sight singing. As a future Jewish leader, you possess a passion to serve the Jewish people and through your training, you will acquire an even deeper attachment to the Jewish community.
Our Cantorial Program is a time of tremendous growth and development as a singer, committed Jew, and future member of the clergy. You will emerge from this program with the knowledge and skills to engage and inspire others in the act of worship, forming a link in a chain of tradition. Your role is diverse and also includes pastoral care; officiating at lifecycle events; teaching adults and children; developing interpersonal skills; and creating and presenting cultural programs appropriate to Jewish life.
You must be dedicated to a life of learning and discovery, personal spiritual growth, the pursuit of artistic excellence, and a commitment to Judaism and the values implicit in a Jewish way of life. You will gain the tools necessary to be a cantor while having the opportunity to find your own connection to this profound and ancient profession.
HUC-JIR established the School of Sacred Music in 1948. Created at a time when the Holocaust threatened the continuity of Jewish heritage, the School of Sacred Music flourished as a center dedicated to preserving, enhancing, and creating Jewish music. Originally conceived as an institution training cantors for the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Movements, our curriculum still reflects non-denominational origins. Our faculty teaches the full range of cantorial styles, from traditional through contemporary music. As the cantorial profession has evolved, cantors have taken on the full range of clergy responsibilities with their rabbinic partners, and in turn, our curriculum is adapting to ready our students for this changing cantorate of the 21st century.
In January 2011, the School of Sacred Music was renamed the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in memory of our beloved faculty member, Debbie Friedman.
for further information about the history of HUC-JIR.