Cantor Howard Stahl, M.S.W.

Adjunct Faculty

Contact Information

school/program: Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music
department: Academic Affairs
academic field: Professional Development
campus: New York
website: Click Here

Howard M. Stahl is Cantor Emeritus of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, New Jersey, New Jersey’s largest synagogue serving about 1,200 families. He is a graduate of the School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, from which he was ordained. He earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Albany with specializations in both Gerontology and Marriage and Family Therapy. HUC-JIR awarded Cantor Stahl an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the cantorate and the Jewish people.

He currently serves on the faculty of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion mentoring students as they navigate their roles in congregations and synthesizing what they learn in the classroom with the exigencies of the pulpit and congregational life and helping them attain new heights in their careers and find greater meaning in their personal lives.

Cantor Stahl has held major leadership positions with the American Conference of Cantors (ACC), and was instrumental in re-shaping and re-invigorating the modern cantorate. He served as its President and Executive Vice President and was the founding chairperson of the National Commission on Cantorial Congregational Relationships which issued the present-day Guidelines for meaningful and sustainable cantorial-congregational relationships. 

A gifted and creative educator, Cantor Stahl was honored by the National Association of Temple Educators for his commitment to Jewish education and he was awarded Life Membership in the North American Federation of Temple Youth for his pioneer work with Jewish youth.

He designed and facilitated a leadership development program within his synagogue, identifying and training potential synagogue leaders. Currently, 80 percent of the Board of Trustees of the congregation are graduates of this program and have effectively used these leadership skills to enhance their role in creating synagogue policy and implementing programs which are both innovative and successful.

He has been actively involved in development work within his congregation. As a member of the senior clergy he was responsible for cultivating widespread participation during a Capital Campaign which raised over $13 million. He continues to be involved in stewardship and in identifying and working with congregants in raising funds for endowment, planned giving, and programmatic support.

Throughout his career, he has shepherded nearly 2,000 thirteen-year olds through the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience, giving them confidence and courage to stand before a congregation of adults and peers. He has been able to help them reduce anxiety, fear of failure, and vulnerability, allowing them to complete this often anxiety-ridden task with increased self-esteem and a deep and lasting sense of accomplishment.

He has counseled hundreds of couples who seek his expertise as they prepare to start their married life, helping them to work through a myriad of issues prospectively to prepare for beginning their new and often challenging days as a married couple.

He has done extensive work with families in crisis as a result of illness, death, and dying as they face the complicated task of the end of life. He created and implemented a Jewish Chaplaincy program for a large area hospital owned by the Albany Catholic Diocese.

His insights and his warm and caring demeanor have enabled individuals and families to navigate painful life-changing moments and learn to acknowledge their own vulnerability and learn to affirm loss and life, as well.

As a performing artist, he has appeared on major concert stages throughout the world, including the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Sarasota Opera House, and Carnegie Hall, and can be heard on a number of commercial recordings: Morn and Noon: The Sacred Music of Jack Gottlieb (Premier Recordings), Yamim Noraim (Union for Reform Judaism), and Leonard Bernstein: a Jewish Legacy (Naxos). Cantor Stahl is the composer of Circle Without End, a pioneering folk-rock services published by New Horizons Music, and the author of “William Sparger: Enigmatic Pioneer of the American Reform Cantorate,” recently published in the American Jewish Archives Journal.

Professional Development – Mentorship



D.M. (Honoris Causa)