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Welcome to the website of the European Cantors Association
Patrons: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis; Cantor Naftali Herstik, Cantor Joseph Malovany, Cantor Asher Hainovitz

Why Do We Mumble Our Prayers?

David Aaronovitch in his UK Jewish Chronicle article of 15 December 2022 asks
‘why do we mumble our prayers?’   

ECA Exec, Geraldine Auerbach, argues there has been no recognised or endorsed training for orthodox prayer leaders in the UK for decades; nor is there an agreed standard to attain. And even if there was a standard, she argues, there is virtually no hope of employment as a prayer-leader.

Read more of this here.
ECA's suggestion to UK United Synagogue to remedy the situation: "From Our Lips...".

Review of Our 14th Cantors Convention, Budapest, November 2022

Back after the pandemic, European Cantors staged our 14th Convention in Budapest last November in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the beautifully restored Rumbach Street Synagogue (pictured) which is celebrating its 150th Anniversary

Our theme was 'Invigorating Nusach for the 21st Century'
A hundred people came together to share knowledge and experience, gain new insights and material, build personal networks, make new friends and sing together.

Renowned cantors, choirs and Jewish music experts from the UK, Europe, Israel and the US, across the spectrum of Jewish worship, led sessions and entertained us with their music.

Our cross-demominational faculty included:

Cantors Asher Hainovitz (Jerusalem),
Benny Rogosnitzky (New York),
Beny Maissner (Toronto), 
Deborah Katchko-Gray (Ridgefield, USA),
Jeremiah Lockwood (New York),
Netanel Baram (Los Angeles),
Isidoro Abramowicz (Berlin),
Leah Frey-Rabine (Germany), 
Sofia Falkovitch (Paris),
Paul Heller (London),
Aviya Nachshon (Herzliya),
Aviv Weinberg (Celle),
and Alina Treiger (Berlin)
With Professor Mark Kligman (Los Angeles)
Plus Choirs The London Cantorial Singers and
Kol Rina Choir Jerusalem 

Session highlights included:

  • panels with eminent cantors on the importance (or otherwise) of Nusach in the 21st Century
  • how to teach Nusach and maintain its framework in a world which celebrates diversity and new approaches   
  • what the Pandemic has taught us in creating Ruach in our communities and connecting with Kehillot in ways previously not thought about  
  • two sessions on the Katchko-Alter nusach, led by cantors intimately connected with that mode
  • a special session on the Friday morning, which focused on correlation between the text and music of the Tefillah.

There were also two great new features this year….  

  • delegates had the opportunity to sign up for a Creative Choral Ensemble of their choice - featuring topics from ancient music to new compositions - for a performance created in workshops through the Convention 
  • lunchtime recitals featuring soloists, choirs and an orchestra. 

….plus there were the usual regulars of Masterclasses with signature cantors, the Open Mic,
a full programme of daily and Shabbat services, networking, and the Gala Concert on the last evening of the Convention.

The full programme for what you missed is here and the Convention is reprised fully in our December newsletter.

The 14th European Cantors Convention was presented by the European Cantors Association (ECA) in association with the Federation of the Hungarian Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ) and was supported by Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience and the Mickey Katz Endowed Chair, UCLA and the Jewish Music Institute SOAS University of London  

A number of participants have asked if they can have specific video material with their contributions. We are curating all the material from the Convention and will get to this in due course - it will probably take a few weeks yet however : we're only a small, voluntary team :-)

Our 15th Cantors Convention runs 7th-12th November 2023 in Hannover, Germany. Details to follow!

Check out and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for a reprise on all our activity,
including the 21 programmes of 'Voice of the Cantor' published in 2020 - 2022.

Our Facebook; Twitter and Instagram pages are also regularly updated.



Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks' extolling value of Jewish Music

- reprised

We have republished a video featuring late Chief Rabbi of the UK and the Commonwealth, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks extolling the virtues of Jewish Music at the 25th Anniversary of the Jewish Music Institute in 2010.

The video is here.

"To me music is the most spiritual form of expression that exists Music was absolutely essential to Jewish spirituality" he says. "Words are the language of the mind – but music is the language of the soul".

He talks about nusach : "...you know exactly when and what kind of literature you are listening to, simply from listening to the music When we move from the secular to the spiritual – words take wings through music".

"How do we make Judaism live for a new generation – that answer is, we have to make it sing. If it has no music, no emotional contact, if there is no music – you can’t hand it on."

Additional Resources:


Links to other cantorial-related sites

Shuls With A Cantor In The United Kingdom
(please advise of any changes)

Layaning in English

To Download the Jolles Encyclopaedia of British Jewish Cantors, Chazanim, Ministers and Synagogue Musicians, their history and culture email DownloadJollesEncyclopaedia@cantors.eu and request the link for searchable pdf to be sent to you.

About ECA:

ECA is an independent organisation, based on orthodox tradition and convention but open to all who are interested in the music of the synagogue and the role and art of the cantor.

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ECA was officially launched on 2 July 2012 at the 7th Annual European Cantors' Convention Manchester UK 2 - 5 July 2012,
by Cantor Joseph Malovany of the 5th Avenue Synagogue New York.

Cantor Malovany is also Professor of Liturgical Music at Yeshiva University and co-Director of the Moscow Academy for Liturgical Music.

Last Updated 8th March 2023