The Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJR, CA)

Located at the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA, The Academy for Jewish Religion, of California is a pluralistic Rabbinical and Cantorial Seminary and Chaplaincy Program. AJR, CA’s Cantorial Seminary is the only Cantorial school in the Western United States and its’ Dean, Hazzan Nathan Lam, is the hazzan of Stephen S. Wise Temple, the largest congregation in the world. The Cantorial Seminary trains men and women to become cantors who will be a living resource of the varied aspects of the Jewish musical tradition – with mastery of the melodies and chants for Jewish prayer, and of the music for home, school and community. This mastery, coupled with the ability to impart and inspire, includes the contemporary modes and sounds, which resonate with today’s generation. Studies lead to ordination as “Hazzan and Teacher in Israel,” as well as a Masters Degree in Jewish Sacred Music. The program requires solid background in Jewish learning, including full proficiency in the Hebrew language. Also required are sound musical and vocal skills. Completion of the program generally requires five years of full-time study, with part-time study options available. Cantorial students are individually coached by a practicing cantor during each semester of the program. A Master’s thesis is required for ordination. AJR, CA has recently established The Greenfeld Cantorial Library of Jewish Music, an invaluable resource for cantors, soloists, musicians, students and laypeople interested in the richness of Jewish music.
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