As part of your application process to becoming a cantor at HUC-JIR, we require that you to speak with Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Coordinator of the Cantorial Certification Program of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. This informal, preliminary consultation is a way for us to get to know you better, for you to ask your questions and be sure now is the right time for you to apply to HUC-JIR. Simply email CantorialCertification@huc.edu to set a date and time.
The first part of your application includes a few simple questions about your contact information and educational background.
Good references come from individuals who know you well enough to give the Admissions Committee input on your candidacy and reflect on specific experiences you have had that make you a strong candidate. Please use the Reference Letter Request Form to submit the names and contact information of your references. HUC-JIR will not accept more than four letters of reference. The individuals you list as references will receive an email from HUC Admissions informing them that you have requested they write a letter of reference on your behalf. It is recommended that you are in touch with your chosen references prior to filling out this online form to alert them that they will receive this emailed request.
Please allow each reference enough time (at least one month) to complete his or her letter of reference. If you wish to substitute, delete, or add references after you have submitted their names in the online Reference Letter Request Form, you must report this in writing to the National Office of Admissions by emailing email@example.com
One Academic Reference: College professors or instructors with whom you have engaged in serious academic study should write the academic references. If you have been out of college more than five years you may obtain academic references from adult or informal education instructors.
One Judaic Reference: Of the remaining two references, HUC-JIR encourages you to submit a Judaic reference from a colleague (rabbi, cantor, or educator) with whom you are currently working.
One Professional Reference: In addition, please request a professional reference from a supervisor of your work, paid or volunteer, preferably in a Jewish setting.
The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, provides students the right to inspect their records. This includes letters of recommendation submitted in the application process. HUC-JIR carefully reviews all letters of reference. However, we find that letters written in confidence are most useful in assessing a candidate’s qualifications and promise. By using the Reference Letter Request Form, you are automatically waiving your right. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Please request transcripts 60 days before the application deadline. Transcripts need to be received in order to schedule an interview.
Please provide us with one copy of an official transcript from all of the following:
Have your schools mail the transcripts directly to:
We will send you access to Part 2 after your Preliminary Interview is complete. Part Two will include more in depth, program-specific questions.
In no more than six double-spaced, typed pages, and respond to the following questions:
Please respond to each of the following questions separately. Limit your response to the two questions to a total of six double-spaced, typed pages.
A standard C.V. or resume.
One clergy member, as well as the president of your current congregation, will need to sign this letter in support of your candidacy. Please click to download and print this letter: Letter of Congregational Support
The letter of congregational support should be mailed, emailed or faxed at the same time you are completing Part II of the application, and demonstrates that your congregation understands the time that you will need to devote to your studies and the various aspects of the cantorate which you will be asked to develop, refine, or take on as a part of the Certification Program. These aspects may include Adult Education, Religious School teaching, Committee facilitation, as well as Life Cycle counseling and officiation at various life cycle rituals.
The letter of support should be mailed or emailed directly to:
The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music requires a Hebrew language proficiency equivalent to two years of college-level Modern Hebrew, as demonstrated by performance on the Hebrew Proficiency Examination.
Admissions decisions are reached independently of the results of this exam. Admitted applicants who do not demonstrate sufficient proficiency in Modern Hebrew may be required retake the exam, or defer enrollment to improve their language skill. Learn more here.