Graduating Cantors Will Be Ordained, Not Invested

April 14, 2021, New York, NY

Starting this spring, The Jewish Theological Seminary will no longer “invest” graduating cantors but rather will “ordain” them as cantors, as we ordain rabbinical students as rabbis. This change in terminology is a logical outgrowth of the growing integration of cantorial and rabbinic education at JTS, where for several years, future cantors and rabbis have learned side by side in professional seminars, Hebrew and liturgy courses, pastoral education, and more. The term “ordination” reflects the vital role that cantors play as clergy in our communities.

This decision was made by Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz after receiving significant input from JTS graduating H. L. Miller Cantorial School students and members of the Division of Religious Leadership. The Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical and Cantors Assemblies strongly support the decision.

“I’m delighted that through this change in nomenclature, JTS will further honor the vital role that cantors perform as clergy, serving the Jewish people through their unique gifts,” said Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz.

“In the decade that I have worked at JTS, training students to become hazzanim, I have always believed that their education and experience prepared them to be clergy partners alongside rabbis,” said Cantor Nancy Abramson, director of the H. L. Miller Cantorial School. “This change to the term ‘ordination’ linguistically clarifies this.”

The change will go into effect at this year’s Commencement ceremony on April 29, which will be virtual.


About The Jewish Theological Seminary | JTS is a preeminent institution of Jewish higher education, training thoughtful, innovative leaders—rabbis, cantors, educators, lay leaders, and scholars—who strengthen our communities with a vision of Judaism that is deeply grounded in the Jewish past and thoroughly engaged with contemporary society. JTS also provides high-caliber lifelong learning and professional development to our alumni, adult learners, and Jewish communities throughout North America. Through its Library, JTS preserves and makes accessible to students and scholars throughout the world the greatest collection of Judaica in the Western Hemisphere.