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Guest Cantors 

We are delighted to welcome Cantorial Student, Kochava Munro, to our clergy team.

Kochava is beginning her final year as a cantorial student at Hebrew College in Boston. For the 2022-23 year, she will serve as a cantorial intern — she will be on the bima approximately twice a month; and she will be teaching our our religious school. Beginning in the summer of 2023, she will join Congregation B’nai Jacob as our full time cantor;

Kochava Munro is currently pursuing cantorial ordination and a Master's of Jewish Education at Hebrew College in Newton, MA. She was raised in Woodbridge, CT as a child, but has lived in Florida, New Jersey, Vermont, and Massachusetts. As a daughter of a cantor, Kochava learned to lead services and chant Torah from a young age. Prior to Hebrew College, Kochava graduated from the University of Hartford with a degree in mathematics and secondary education but soon realized that her true passion was cantorial work. She served as the cantorial soloist for Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, VT from 2017-2019. When she is not singing or playing guitar, Kochava loves bird watching, hiking, reading, and watching the latest action movie. Kochava and her husband, Jacob Munro, look forward to being a part of Congregation B'nai Jacob!

 

Cantor Elise Barber of Deerfield, MA will serve as a part-time cantor again this year, joining us once or twice a month on Shabbat and holidays.

Elise Barber received her cantorial ordination and M.A. in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College in Newton Centre, MA and received her B.A. in Theatre from American University in Washington, D.C.  Elise also completed the year course at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.  In addition, Elise attended a summer intensive program at the Manhattan School of Music.  She enjoyed a professional acting and singing career as a child and well into her twenties performing in the first national Broadway tour of the musical Titanic as well as West Side Story Suite with the New York City Ballet.  Favorite roles include Louisa in The Fantasticks, Bella in Rags, Sister Margaretta in The Sound of Music, and Anne Frank.  In 2012, Elise was featured in Frauenstimmen:  Women’s Voices from Ravensbruck at the Fenway Center in Boston.  In 2006, Elise performed a solo concert of Jewish music in Cuenca, Spain.  Elise has served as a service leader and/ or teacher at a number of synagogues throughout Massachusetts.  Elise is the current PJ Library Coordinator with the Federation of Western Massachusetts.  Elise was a featured soloist with the Springfield Symphony in 2019 and 2020.  She is a proud alumna of The Zamir Chorale of Boston where she was also a featured soloist. Elise lives in Deerfield, MA with her husband Rabbi Ben Weiner, son Efraim Weinbarber (age 8), and daughter Batya Weinbarber (age 1).

Cantor Michelle Rubenstein
Cantor Michelle Rubenstein is serving as b'nai mitzvah tutor this year at B'nai Jacob and leading occasional Shabbat services. Cantor Rubenstein has served in cantorial and educational capacities at both Conservative and Reform congregations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. In addition to her role at B'nai Jacob, she is also a Cantor-In-Residence at Congregation Beth El of New London, CT. During the pandemic, Cantor Rubenstein completed an extended unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA, where she provided spiritual care to patients and their families in the oncology and sickle cell crisis unit. Cantor Rubenstein earned her cantorial smicha and was admitted to the Cantors Assembly as a full member in 2018 upon completion of the Cantorial Intern of the Cantors Assembly program. Cantor Rubenstein also holds a certificate in Jewish Liturgical Music from Hebrew College. Her undergraduate degree is from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She lives in Framingham, MA, with her husband Isaac and their son Jesse.

 

Rabbi Barat Ellman, Ph.D. is a teacher of theology, Judaism, and Hebrew Bible, and is a justice activist committed to anti-racism, criminal justice reform, and police accountability; and to immigrant, refugee, and undocumented people’s rights.  She teaches theology, Judaism and Biblical literature at Fordham University and with the Bard Prison Initiative, as well as in adult and interfaith education settings. Rabbi Ellman will serve as guest cantor on occasional weekends throughout this year.

 

Wed, November 30 2022 6 Kislev 5783