HUC-JIR Presents Doctor of Music, honoris causa, to Marina Belenky

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, awarded Cantor Marina Belenky with the Doctor of Music at Graduation Ceremonies in New York on Thursday, May 5, 2011, at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York.  Cantor Belenky was honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumna of HUC-JIR.

Cantor Marina Belenky is one of the most outstanding cantors in the American Jewish world.  An accomplished performer, choral conductor and teacher, her musical repertoire includes Jewish liturgical music, Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and Russian music; Broadway show tunes; and opera. With her rich, sonorous mezzo-soprano voice and profound musicality, Marina stirs the spirit of congregants and audiences of all ages.

Cantor Belenky was born into a musical family in St. Petersburg, Russia.  At age seven, she began to play violin and at age 11, the piano. But she always dreamed of becoming a singer like her mother.  After graduating from the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory of Music, Cantor Belenky left Russia in search of religious and artistic freedom.

In 1982, she continued her studies at The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR and was invested as a cantor in 1986.  Cantor Belenky holds the distinction of being one of the first Russian émigré artists to study for the cantorate and to serve as a female cantor in a congregation.

Click here to view the National Ordination/Investiture/Graduation press release.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu