Resolution Adopted by the CCAR


Adopted by the Board of Trustees
Central Conference of American Rabbi
June 10, 2003

We recognize with pride the work done by the School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, which for over 50 years has trained men and women to serve our movement with knowledge, devotion, and a commitment to our past, present and future.

While the rabbi holds the leadership responsibility for the professional staff team, we the members of the Board of Trustees of the Central Conference of American Rabbis value the critical role that cantors can play in transmitting our Jewish heritage and in enriching our worship, creating opportunities to discover the divine within each of us. We look to them as colleagues who join with us in offering pastoral care to our congregants and in raising the level of Jewish knowledge and observance.

Many congregations affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations have bestowed the title of "Cantor" on lay soloists who have not been invested as cantors, or jointly certified as cantors by the American Conference of Cantors and the School of Sacred Music. The School of Sacred Music confers the title of Cantor only on those individuals who have completed a rigorous and approved course of study so that they have thereby prepared themselves for investiture. We expect UAHC congregations to accept the standard set by the SSM in the same way that they recognize the rabbis ordained by the College- Institute and therefore not to bestow the title of Cantor on individuals who have not earned it.

THEREFORE, the Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis resolves to:

  1. Urge our colleagues and the leaders of our Reform congregations to support the efforts of the College- Institute and the American Conference of Cantors by turning to the ACC to provide invested cantors who will serve our congregations with kavanah, knowledge and authenticity.

  2. Encourage our colleagues and the leaders of our congregations to refrain from bestowing the title of cantor on lay persons, however well versed in music and Judaica they might be;

  3. Call upon our colleagues and synagogue leaders to identify bright and talented women and men and encourage them to apply for admission to the School of Sacred Music, so that our movement will be enriched by properly trained invested cantors who will preserve our musical heritage and enhance the spiritual life of the congregations in our movement.