Robbins, Betty (Bertha Abramson)

American. Born April 9, 1924, Cavala, Greece. First female synagogue cantor. At age 4, she moved to Poland with her family. As a youngster there, she convinced the local cantor to teach her to sing for synagogue, (which he agreed to do if she cut her braids!) In 1938, the family escaped from Poland to Australia. There, she met and married an American service man and moved to US, settling in Oceanside, New York. In 1955, she was appointed cantor at Temple Avodah for their High Holidays. The New York Times ran an article on August 3, 1955, quoting Reform officials that she may have been “the very first woman cantor in …Jewish history.” She continued to teach children and serve as a cantor in various synagogues in places she lived, and on Jewish holiday cruises.