Erica Lippitz and Marla Rosenfeld Barugel were the first two female hazzans (also called cantors) ordained in Conservative Judaism. Their ordination was held in 1987, more than twenty years after the ordination of Betty Robbins, Judaism's first cantor and two years after the first woman was ordained a Conservative rabbi.
Lippitz and Barugel were ordained at the same time by the Cantors Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Since her ordination, Lippitz has served as cantor at Oheb Shalom in South Orange, New Jersey. She is also the director and co-founder of the Kol Dodi choir, director of Oheb Shalom's adult and children's choirs, and a member of the folk-singing group Beged Kefet, which performs nationally and has made three recordings. She is a cofounder, with Cantor Perry Fine, of the JTS Cantorial Alumni Association’s Shir Joy Choral Festival. In 2005 she sang at Carnegie Hall.
Prior to becoming a cantor, Lippitz earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan, as well as a Masters in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University. She had also served as the director of Loyola University Chicago's Hillel. When she entered the Seminary, she did not believe graduating as a Hazzan would be possible. By the time she graduated, she was one of eleven women in the program.
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