Letter: N.Y. school also trains cantors

Steve Maas ably captured the important shift occurring in the American cantorate in his article “Singing a new song” (Oct. 27, Globe West). Though he described the struggles of Hebrew College and the Jewish Theological Seminary to adjust their curriculums to reflect the changing cantorial role, he didn’t mention the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, the Reform Movement’s cantorial school.

As its director I am proud to say that our students are trained for all the roles that Mr. Maas discussed in his article. Our students study general and liturgical music, Judaica, and a wide range of professional development courses with the goal of creating clergy partners for the rabbis of the Reform movement.


Indeed, two of the cantors he interviewed, Jodi Schechtman and Randall Schloss, are graduates of our school. As a result of our constant curricular attention to shifting cantorial roles, our school is doing well and our graduates find good positions upon ordination.

Cantor Bruce Ruben

Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music

Hebrew Union College,
Jewish Institute of Religion

New York

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