Meet Jennifer Benrey, our Student Cantor

Notes from our Student Cantor Jennifer…

What a way to end this incredible year!

On May 31st, Kita Gimmel, my class of 5th, 6th, and 7th graders, will finally lead the service they have been working towards all year using the sissies they made, and I couldn’t be prouder. I spent the year teaching them a curriculum on prayer that I created for them that focused on spirituality and prayer leading. The students have created an incredible prayerbook that we hope to have in final draft form later this summer, which features drawings by our students and their unique interpretations of the Friday night prayers. This project has taken a lot of time and hard work, and the students have been meticulous in their work. I know that this project is just the beginning of a lifelong relationship with prayer, and I hope that it will be the springboard for strong Jewish connections that the students will hold onto for the rest of their lives.

I’m very much looking forward to this busy month of June and all of the wonderful choral singing that the choir will be doing. Last month, we had so much fun singing and doing Israeli dance in the oneg celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut. I hope that there will be more dancing to come soon! There is, of course, much to celebrate this month, between Confirmation and Ethan Kaminsky’s Bar Mitzvah . We also get the opportunity to honor Bryn Biren, without whom all of our lives would be harder and certainly less fun. I can’t wait to be a part of the festivities at the gala.

Wishing everyone a Chodesh Tov.

Student Cantor Jen Benrey



About Student Cantor Jennifer….

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