Cantor’s Corner

Music is the thread that weaves all of Jewish life cycle, ritual, and tradition together into one rich tapestry. Our sacred texts and services are all chanted with a blend of trope and melodies that honor both our long standing history with our need to innovate and modernize. Our musical tradition represents itself threefold in our congregation. One is through the preserving and teaching the nusach and trope by which we chant our sacred texts, the second is through internal involvement in the choral and other adult education classes offered, and the third is external through our communal involvement to bring more Jewish music to Tidewater.

Examples of our communal and internal involvement happening this year are:

  • Shabbat Unplugged services over the summer
  • Our PJ Library sponsored instrumental Havdalah Under the Stars service in the winter
  • Our Prayer Lab creative services in the spring
  • Interfaith Freedom sing along in honor of MLK
  • Shared leadership in the Tidewater’s Musician-in-Residence program
  • Weekly Shabbat Services

Through all of these programs, we are enjoying all the benefits of Judaism’s rich musical tradition!  Please look at our calendar for all of the dates for these offerings!

When it comes to preserving and honoring our musical heritage, we believe that this is an important role for all generations. Our weekly Shabbat services are participatory! At Beth El we believe that if you can talk, you can sing and when we open our hearts together, p’tach libeinu b’tfila, then our prayers have more power and we feel stronger and more productive together. So we encourage people to learn the service and we delve into the meaning of the prayers. Please look at our recordings.

The BETH EL SINGERS play a big role in our musical life. They participate in all the events, services, and concerts mentioned above.  Please call the office if you would like to participate!


We invite people of all ages to open their horizons and learn how to read from the Torah, and the megillot. If you have any interest in learning how to lead a service, please don’t hesitate to call the office.

As far as Torah and megillah reading are concerned, we have a few programs that people can take part in to honor these mitzvot.

  • Chai Club – One can join the Chai club after reading from the Torah 18 times. With benchmarks along the way, the final honor is our special yad presentation in front of the congregation. At Beth El, Torah reading can start as early as 3rd grade. We look forward to all of our future members!
  • Torah 2Gether – Challenge a friend or pair up with a family member…either way, we will keep track of how many times you have read in the year and inscribe you in the Book of Torah at the end of the year! You earn bragging rights or just the ability to enjoy the mitzvah with your family and friends. We will end the year with a dinner honoring everyone who participated. So, on your marks, get set, layn!!
  • Purim megillah reading – Our megillah reading is community wide and people from 3rd grade and up are invited and encouraged to read a few sentences from the megillah. It is such a great skill to have and you can never start too early!

For participation in any of these programs or musical groups,  please contact the office.

To learn the blessings over the Torah, click here.