Lindsay Kanter stays musical

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Cantor Lindsay Kanter. Photo by Dan Schere

At home, Temple Emanuel’s new cantor, Lindsay Kanter, often breaks out the guitar and sings Beatles songs to her 14-month-old daughter, Zoheret.

“She’ll clap along and dance,” Kanter says. “So music is very much a part of our life.”


Ordained this year at the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Institute of Religion, Kanter came to Temple Emanuel in Kensington in July.

She says she became interested in being a cantor after college, when she joined a vocal quartet at the Chicago Sinai Congregation.

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“They have this great tradition of classical Reform music, and so they had a very wide range of music styles that they would play on Shabbat,” she says. “That was a great way for me to discover how many different styles of music I could embrace.”

One of her favorites is chazzanut, or classical cantorial music. Kanter says it is important not to let traditional music styles become “relics of the past.”


“It’s the old style that was popularized in the ‘20s and ‘30s, and it was called the golden age of the cantorate,” she says.

Kanter says her goal is to make sure congregants are involved in Shabbat services, whether in song or silence.

“I think inviting a congregation to sing is very important,” she says. “It gives the congregation a way to participate. There’s also room for listening moments when congregants don’t necessarily feel invited to sing and allow the music to teleport them somewhere else.”

At home, of course, the sound is completely different.

“My tastes are far and wide,” Kanter says, “so I’ll listen to indie bands or ‘80s music where I can wash the dishes and sing along.”

—Dan Schere

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