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Guest Cantors 

Cantor Penny Myers of Buffalo, NY will serve as our high holiday cantor this year!

Versatile, well-respected, engaging, and gifted are a few of the many qualities attributed to Cantor Penny Myers.  Cantor Myers’ love of Judaism and her passion for engaging congregants of all ages have been central to her Cantorate since 1998.  Cantor Myers earned her BA in Voice from SUNY Buffalo in 1996 and a Master’s in Music Education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1999. Cantor Myers returned to Buffalo, her hometown, with her husband in 1999 where she has served as Cantor at Temple Beth Zion, the largest synagogue in Western New York, for over 14 years. She also was accredited by the Cantor’s Assembly and invested as a Cantor after completing their program in 2013.  Cantor Myers is also a sought-after lecturer, leading sessions on pedagogical practices within worship as well as in Hebrew School education.  Cantor Myers has been the recipient of many awards and the subject of articles about the changing nature of the Cantorate. Cantor Myers is married to neurologist Dr. Bennett Myers. They reside in Amherst, NY with their three children, Hunter, Saul, and Corrinne. She also has an outstanding collection of RUSH albums and paraphernalia.      

Cantor Elise Barber of Deerfield, MA will serve as a part-time cantor 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).

Sara Blumenthal, a rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Boston, will be a rabbinic intern with us this year.  She will serve as cantor for two Shabbatot a month in addition to teaching in our school, teaching adults and tutoring.

Sara Blumenthal is entering her final year of rabbinical school at Hebrew College, where she is also pursuing a Masters in Jewish Education. Sara has previously served as rabbinic intern at Boston University Hillel, Beth Israel Congregation in Bath, ME, and The Boston Synagogue. This summer, Sara is completing her second unit of chaplaincy training. Prior to moving to Boston, Sara served as assistant research manager at a food product testing company in Chicago and middle school youth advisor at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois. Sara holds a BA in Psychology and Hebrew & Jewish Cultural Studies from the University of Michigan. In her spare time, Sara can be found singing Jewish music, having conversations about ritual and spirituality, reading, or enjoying the outdoors. Sara is looking forward to spending the year with Congregation B’nai Jacob.

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.


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.


Mon, May 23 2022 22 Iyyar 5782