Meet Jennifer Benrey, our Student Cantor

As we approach Chanukah, the festival of lights, it begs the question, “How can we bring light into this world?” The holiday season brings out the best in people. It is a time of warmth, family, and giving. What about this time of year is so special? Perhaps we are reminded of the light we have absorbed from others’ presence in our lives over the course of the year. Perhaps we begin to look at the world in a new light as our calendar year draws to a close and are reinvigorated to do our part in repairing the world, tikkun olam. Maybe we are filled more with a bit more Godliness than we normally perceive and are reminded of the goodness within each of us.
Our world is broken right now, but there is still so much light. We are tasked with finding it and sharing it. This Chanukah, as our chanukiot bring light and joy within your homes, may we also display that light for others to see through kindness so that we might share in the joy of community and humanity.

Student Cantor Jennifer Benrey





Shalom, Temple Israelites!’

For those whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jennifer Benrey, and I am incredibly excited to be your student cantor beginning this September!

I was born and raised in Miami Beach, FL, and come from a diverse Jewish background. My mother is a Hungarian Ashkenazi Jew and my dad is a Cuban Turkish Sephardic Jew. I am what we in Miami refer to as a “Jewban”. My Judaism is influenced by both my Reform Jewish upbringing and also by the customs and culture of my Cuban Turkish Sephardic family. I am fluent in Spanish and grew up reading the haggadah for both Rosh Hashanah and Pesach in 4 languages: English, Hebrew, Spanish, and Ladino.

I am currently in my 4th year of cantorial school at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Florida State University in 2013, where I earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in Choral Music. I had the pleasure of teaching Jewish and secular music (and math) in Miami in various capacities prior to my cantorial studies while also serving as the assistant conductor of two Jewish community choirs and leading services regularly at several synagogues across Miami. Choir is a huge passion of mine, and I am very much looking forward to working with the adult choir this year!

I am currently spending my summer as the cantorial intern at Central Synagogue in Manhattan and have served as the cantorial intern for the past two years at Temple Beth-El in Jersey City. I have been very lucky to have had incredible clergy mentors and congregants in these communities and in other communities where I have served.

I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to be able to grow as a cantor at Temple Israel and am excited to get to know you all and your families and to rejoice together in song!

Student Cantor Jennifer Benrey