Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q18.6.2 TOC Q18.6.4 >

Question 18.6.3:
The Rabbinate: How does one become a Reform Cantor?


Cantors in the Reform Movement are trained by HUC-JIR's School of Sacred Music (SSM), established in New York in 1948. SSM's campus is adjacent to NYU, and offers the degree of Master of Sacred Music (MSM) to students who, upon graduation, receive formal investiture as Cantor and are eligible for membership in the American Conference of Cantors.

In order to be accepted to the SSM, applicants must demonstrate:

Musical Competence:

A trained singing voice, an undergraduate degree (preferrably a BA with a major in music), competency in sight reading, ear training, keyboard harmony, and music theory.

Hebrew Competence.

All cantorial students are expected to have completed at least one year of college Hebrew. All candidates participate in the first-year Hebrew immersion program at the HUC-JIR campus in Jerusalem.

Personal characteristics.

Candidates for admission are expected to be committted Jews and to possses the necessary character and personality traits. They should enjoy public performance, engaging others in the act of worship, teaching adults and children, and dedicated to a life of learning and discovery.

To apply, applicants require a autobiographical perspective on their life and the reasons for selecting the cantorate in addition to the usual transcripts, references, and medical forms. The process also includes an audition and a formal interview, as well as a psychological assessment. Information on the program can be found at

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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