Name: Benjamin Ari Tisser
School: H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music
Graduation Year: 2013
JTS Field of Study: Cantorial Investiture / MA, Sacred Music
The Jewish Theological Seminary: Why did you choose the H. L. Miller Cantorial School?
Benjamin Ari Tisser: I had a strong desire to continue schooling in the Conservative Movement to better serve the community.
JTS: What do you enjoy most about studying at JTS?
BT: I most enjoy the sense of community and the opportunity to study with some of the greatest living scholars in many areas.
JTS: Tell us about your favorite class.
BT: Chorus. It gives me the opportunity to do what I love best-sing. It's a great chance to explore a variety of styles. I really enjoy having the chance to put into practice what we learn in other classes. It's also great to interact with students from other programs.
JTS: What do you enjoy most about being part of our community?
BT: The opportunity to be with people who share my same dream of serving the Conservative Jewish community. We are able to discuss the big issues, knowing that we will all be working together in some way or another during our careers. I also enjoy the diversity of traditions and backgrounds in our community. It gives me new perspectives, and constantly challenges me to think more broadly about my Jewish identity.
JTS: What person at JTS has had the greatest impact on you, so far?
BT: Hazzan Robert Kieval. His vast experience as a pulpit hazzan and teacher has been so valuable to me during my time at JTS, in and out of the classroom.
Also, I would say my classmate, Tahl Ben-Yehuda, has been a great influence. Although we come from such different backgrounds, we have become very good friends. We constantly challenge each other, and spend time grappling with the issues of our field. Her experience as an educator and a former rabbinic student has been invaluable to me.
JTS: What are your professional goals?
BT: I plan to be a pulpit hazzan and a teacher of hazzanut, maybe one day back at JTS.
JTS: Name your favorite place on campus.
BT: The cafeteria-where all the best ideas happen-is my favorite.
JTS: Did you spend time in Israel as a child?
BT: The first time I went to Israel, I was 12. At 16, I went on a USY Eastern Europe/Israel Pilgrimage.
JTS: Do you live on campus or off?
BT: I live in Flushing near the shul where I am a cantor.