Become
a Cantor

Cantors singing

Sing inspiring interpretations of Jewish texts old and new.

  • Enliven music both modern and traditional
  • Strengthen communities to lift their voices and express the vitality of their souls
  • Invest liturgies and rituals with beauty, coherence, and meaning
  • Be a communal and educational leader, guiding others toward Jewish identity and spiritual practice
  • Be a source of joy, hope, comfort, and healing for individuals and families
  • Become ordained in the uniquely progressive, multi-dimensional community of HUC’s Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music
  • Our program cultivates creative and authentic spiritual leaders, building on decades of expertise in cantorial innovation to provide a rigorous and in-depth exploration of Judaism, music, and spiritual leadership.

Our Program

Woman singing

Cantorial Ordination and Master of Sacred Music

At the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, cantorial students develop as musicians, spiritual leaders, educators, program specialists, and pastoral counselors. As they work toward becoming clergy alongside their rabbinic colleagues, students develop their unique cantorial voices. Our program begins with a year of study in Jerusalem, followed by four years in NYC, during which students coach with cantorial mentors, explore courses across the spectrum of cantorial learning, and serve as student cantors in synagogues of diverse demographics and congregational cultures.

Our Program

Woman singing

Cantorial Ordination and Master of Sacred Music

At the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, cantorial students develop as musicians, spiritual leaders, educators, program specialists, and pastoral counselors. As they work toward becoming clergy alongside their rabbinic colleagues, students develop their unique cantorial voices. Our program begins with a year of study in Jerusalem, followed by four years in NYC, during which students coach with cantorial mentors, explore courses across the spectrum of cantorial learning, and serve as student cantors in synagogues of diverse demographics and congregational cultures.

  • Isaac Sonett-Assor

    Student

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    As we learn the cantorial arts, we are encouraged to draw on our diverse musical and academic backgrounds to craft our own vision of what the cantorate can be. HUC-JIR pushes me to imagine what is possible in the cantorate and broader Jewish community.

    Isaac Sonett-Assor '23

    Cantorial Student Read Story
  • Cantor Josh Breitzer

    Faculty

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    Being Jewish means never being alone. We bring more light to the world when we do it together.

    Cantor Joshua Breitzer ‘11

    Instructor; Cantorial Coach; Advisor, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Read Story
  • Grabiner headshot

    Alum

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    When I finally discovered what it meant to be a cantor – to be a member of clergy, a spiritual leader, a teacher and interpreter of Jewish text through music – it truly felt like a calling.

    Cantor Sarah Grabiner '19

    Coordinator of Cantorial Studies and Worship, Year-In-Israel Program Read Story
  • Jill Abramson Headshot

    Faculty

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    The DFSSM is a living example of legacy and innovation; we study music of past generations together with contemporary musical expressions to enliven the liturgy and inspire communities to sing.

    Cantor Jill Abramson ‘02

    Interim Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, HUC-JIR/New York Read Story
  • Cantor David Bentley

    Alum

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    For twelve years I was the spiritual leader of this small, remote, fragmented community in Queensland, Australia. I helped ensure that my community remained connected to the mainstream of Jewish life in our region and the wider Jewish world.

    Cantor David Bentley ‘00

    Temple Shalom, Gold Coast, Australia Read Story
Student
Isaac Sonett-Assor
quots icon

As we learn the cantorial arts, we are encouraged to draw on our diverse musical and academic backgrounds to craft our own vision of what the cantorate can be. HUC-JIR pushes me to imagine what is possible in the cantorate and broader Jewish community.

Isaac Sonett-Assor '23

Cantorial Student Read Story
Faculty
Cantor Josh Breitzer
quots icon

Being Jewish means never being alone. We bring more light to the world when we do it together.

Cantor Joshua Breitzer ‘11

Instructor; Cantorial Coach; Advisor, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Read Story
Alum
Grabiner headshot
quots icon

When I finally discovered what it meant to be a cantor – to be a member of clergy, a spiritual leader, a teacher and interpreter of Jewish text through music – it truly felt like a calling.

Cantor Sarah Grabiner '19

Coordinator of Cantorial Studies and Worship, Year-In-Israel Program Read Story
Faculty
Jill Abramson Headshot
quots icon

The DFSSM is a living example of legacy and innovation; we study music of past generations together with contemporary musical expressions to enliven the liturgy and inspire communities to sing.

Cantor Jill Abramson ‘02

Interim Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, HUC-JIR/New York Read Story
Alum
Cantor David Bentley
quots icon

For twelve years I was the spiritual leader of this small, remote, fragmented community in Queensland, Australia. I helped ensure that my community remained connected to the mainstream of Jewish life in our region and the wider Jewish world.

Cantor David Bentley ‘00

Temple Shalom, Gold Coast, Australia Read Story
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Featured Faculty

Cantor Jill Abramson

Interim Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music

CAMPUS: New York

EMAIL: jabramson@huc.edu

Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller

Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual; Professor of Cantorial Arts

CAMPUS: New York

EMAIL: bschiller@huc.edu

PHONE: (212) 824-2245

Gordon Dale, Ph.D.

Dr. Jack Gottlieb Scholar in Jewish Music Studies; Assistant Professor of Jewish Musicology

CAMPUS: New York

EMAIL: gdale@huc.edu

PHONE: (212) 824-2231

Merri Lovinger Arian

Professor of Practice in Liturgical Arts and Music Education

CAMPUS: New York

EMAIL: marian@huc.edu

PHONE: (212) 824-2223

EXTENSION: 2223

Joyce Rosenzweig, M.S.

Professor of Practice in Jewish Music and Performance

CAMPUS: New York

EMAIL: jrosenzweig@huc.edu

PHONE: (212) 824-2244