Women cantors storm Jerusalem

Women cantors storm Jerusalem


norman lebrecht

May 29, 2020

Male Jewish cantors are reputedly competitive. Women less so?




  • Dalia Shehori says:


  • Leah says:

    Thank you — that was lovely.

  • Larry says:

    Perfect for Shavuos. Lovely singing but it would have been nice to have an English translation. Good yom tov, Norman.

  • Hermann says:

    Who cares?

  • RW2013 says:

    Great surprise to see and hear Aviv in Celle.
    Shalom from Berlin!

  • fred says:

    A few of them do have a voice, most of them don’t…but that’s sadly nowadays also the case for male cantors. An art gone with the wind. I’m not crazy about the arrangement either those drums etc yikes, giv eme mantovani violins any time over this. But it’s still sort of cute, surely when they sing together

  • DJ Quinn says:

    Norman, why the hell can’t you just share a nice video of women cantors singing Yerushalayim shel zahav? Why on earth do you have to make this about men/women being/not being competitive. what the hell does the gender have to do with this? Your headline of this so incredibly unprofessional and frankly, it’s absolutely ridiculous for you to tile it the way you did.
    I am livid.

  • Michel Rodriguez says:

    Shalom Gob bless Israel

  • Kolb Slaw says:

    It’s interesting that women were prohibited from singing in synagogues because their voices were considered too seductive. I don’t think it was a sexual perspective, but a musical one. A high voice is beautiful, pretty, but not nearly as moving as a lower voice. I can’t stand having a woman be cantor, unless perhaps she’s a mezzo or contralto. I also can’t stand a high tenor.

  • Sharon says:

    In the US, especially in the Conservative and Reform movements, (and maybe modern Orthodox as well) with their decreasing synagogue memberships, things are tough for cantors as more and more synagogues are not hiring full time cantors. Congregations are folding, merging or cutting their budgets. I read a number of years ago that there were only two full time Conservative synagogue cantors in Brooklyn and things are only getting worse.

    Blogger Fred complains that cantors have no voice. He is probably listening in synagogue to volunteer cantors, members of the congregation who have no voice training, and in many cases no musical training whatsoever.

    Paid cantors in the Jewish reform movement can double as opera or other secular singers since many have operatic voice training anyway, but the others have very limited opportunities because they cannot work on Friday and most Saturday nights. Orthodox congregations and many Conservative congregations will not hire a cantor who is not a Saturday Sabbath observer.

    Non Jewish singers complain that their church work, while perhaps a steadier gig and easier to obtain, makes it difficult to do other types of singing since one is tied up on evenings and weekends because that is when the volunteer choir is available to rehearse.

    In addition a volunteer choir artistically ruins the performance of the paid soloist since most of the time the choir is open to anyone who wants to join without regard to the quality of his/her voice or musical training.

    How much more so for the observant Jew, male or female, who is trying to make a living as a singer!

  • Save the MET says:

    The singing is terrific; the arrangement can only be described as snare drum abuse.

  • Edgar Self says:

    The Jewish canrtorial tradition influenced and helped produce such opera singers as Jan Peerce, his brother-in-law Richard Tucker, Leonard Warren, and perhaps George London, all of whom began life under other names. Also Joseph Schmidt and possibly Alexander Kipnis, among other well-known singers in Poland and Russia, Europe-Zentral, usw.