Timeline of women hazzans in the United States

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This is a timeline of women hazzans (also called cantors) in America.

  • 1884: Julie Rosewald, called “Cantor Soprano” by her congregation, became America’s first female cantor, serving San Francisco’s Temple Emanu-El from 1884 until 1893, although she was not ordained.[1][2] She was born in Germany.[3]
  • 1955: Betty Robbins, born in Greece, became the first female cantor to serve in the twentieth century (although she was not ordained) when she was hired at Temple Avodah in Oceanside, New York.[4]
  • 1975: Barbara Ostfeld-Horowitz became the first female cantor to be ordained in Reform Judaism in 1975.[5]
  • 1978: Mindy Jacobsen became the first blind woman to be ordained as a cantor.[6][7][8]
  • 1978: Linda Rich became the first female cantor to sing in a Conservative synagogue (specifically Temple Beth Zion in Los Angeles) in 1978, although she was not ordained until 1996 when she finally received her ordination of "Hazzan Minister" from the "Jewish Theological Seminary" in New York.[9][10]
  • 1987: Erica Lippitz and Marla Rosenfeld Barugel became the first female cantors in Conservative Judaism.[5]
  • 1993: Leslie Friedlander became the first female cantor ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion (New York).[11][12]
  • 1999: Angela Warnick Buchdahl, born in South Korea, became the first Asian-American person to be ordained as a cantor.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19]
  • 2001: Deborah Davis became the first cantor of either sex (and therefore, since she was female, the first female cantor) in Humanistic Judaism; however, Humanistic Judaism has since stopped graduating cantors.[20]
  • 2002: Sharon Hordes became the first cantor of either sex (and therefore, since she was female, the first female cantor) in Reconstructionist Judaism.[21]
  • 2006: Susan Wehle became the first American female cantor in Jewish Renewal in 2006;[22] however she died in 2009.[23]
  • 2009: Tannoz Bahremand Foruzanfar, who was born in Iran, became the first Persian woman to be ordained as a cantor in America.[24]


  1. ^ "Julie Rosewald: America's first woman cantor". Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Forgotten Woman Cantor: Julie Rosewald Now Getting Her Due - The Jewish Week". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  3. ^ http://americanjewisharchives.org/publications/journal/PDF/2010_62_02_00_pinnolis.pdf
  4. ^ "Betty Robbins | Jewish Women's Archive". Jwa.org. Retrieved 2015-06-11. 
  5. ^ a b "Cantors: American Jewish Women | Jewish Women's Archive". Jwa.org. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  6. ^ "Overcoming the Odds: Cantor Mindy F. Jacobsen | American Conference of Cantors". American Conference of Cantors. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  7. ^ Romeo Edmead (April 5, 2010). "When do you Reveal?". Matildaziegler.com;Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  8. ^ "Brooklyn Ny - Accessible-Technology Pioneer Spearheads Efforts Helping Blind Students". Nycblink.com. 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  9. ^ "Conservative Female Cantor Fits In". Los Angeles Daily News;http://www.dailynews.com. 2008-02-29. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  10. ^ "Seminary Decision Opens Door for Women Cantors". Los Angeles Times;http://articles.latimes.com. February 14, 1987. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  11. ^ "Hazzans Hit The High Notes:The Rise In Women Cantors" (PDF). http://www.pageturnpro.com, Chutzpah magazine, Summer 2012, pg. 57. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Pre-Ordination Benefit Concert at Merkin Hall on May 11". http://ajrsem.org. April 7, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  13. ^ ""Troublemaker" Women Honored, Receive Ivy | auburn". Auburnseminary.org. 2009-08-22. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  14. ^ "This Week in History - Angela Warnick Buchdahl invested as first Asian-American cantor | Jewish Women's Archive". Jwa.org. 1999-05-16. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  15. ^ "Women's History Month: Unique Rabbi-Cantor Follows Her Own Melody". http://www.ny1.com. March 15, 2011. Retrieved August 11, 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  16. ^ "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Angela Warnick Buchdahl". https://www.pbs.org. Retrieved August 11, 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  17. ^ "Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl - the face of the modern Jew". Jewishtimesasia.org. September 2008. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  18. ^ "Our Clergy: Angela Warnick Buchdahl, Senior Cantor", Central Synagogue Web site
  19. ^ "The Sisterhood 50 –". Forward.com. published July 21, 2010, issue of July 30, 2010. Retrieved 2012-02-09.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  20. ^ "Contributions of Jewish Women to Music and Women to Jewish Music". JMWC. Between 2000 and 2004. Retrieved 2012-07-09.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  21. ^ "Cantor Sharon Hordes". Kenesethisrael.com. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  22. ^ "Cantorial/Hazzanut/Liturgical - CD Cantor Susan Wehle OB"M Songs of Healing & Hope | J. Levine Books & Judaica |". Levinejudaica.com. 2005-07-26. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  23. ^ Haughney, Christine (February 15, 2009). "‘It's Not Even Six Degrees of Separation. It's One.'". The New York Times. 
  24. ^ "Cantor Tannoz Bahremand Forunzanfar; Academy for Jewish Religion, California". Ajrca.org. Retrieved August 10, 2013.