Groundbreaking Cantor Returns to Waltham to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Temple Beth Israel

June 5, 2015

Synagogue hosts Cantor-in-Residence Weekend Featuring Cantor Elaine Shapiro Zimmerman

Waltham, MA—On Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6, 2015, Temple Beth Israel (TBI) of Waltham, MA will host—as one of its Centennial Year activities—Cantor Elaine Shapiro Zimmerman.

Cantor Shapiro, a Waltham, MA native, was graduated from the Seminary College of Jewish Music at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) of America in 1977 and is the first woman cantor to have received her Diploma of Hazzan from the JTS. She will lead services on Friday evening and Saturday morning with TBI’s Rabbi David Finkelstein and share her experiences growing up in Waltham, attending cantorial school at JTS, and leading the way for the many women who have followed her in the cantorate.

In the February 16, 1980 St. Petersburg Evening Independent, Cantor Shapiro was quoted saying: “I would like to emphasize that change is right around the corner and I can see within the next ten years that women will be considered qualified representatives in the field of the cantorate and the rabbinate.”

The weekend’s events include:

Friday, June 5, 2015,6:30 pm
Services and Shabbat (Sabbath) Dinner

Cantor Shapiro will speak from her experience about the entry of women into the cantorate

Saturday, June 6, 9:00 am
Services and Kiddush Lunch
Cantor Shapiro will speak about remembrances of life in Waltham

Cantor Shapiro is known for her elegant soprano voice and vast classical repertoire. She participated in the Concordia Youth Chorale on its European Tour and was a scholarship winner at the academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Her appearances in the world of opera have included performances with the Connecticut State Opera, the Manhattan Opera Singers, and the International House Performing Arts Foundation. Cantor Shapiro, who now resides in Florida, has been a guest soloist with the Florida Symphony the Zamir Chorale and the Choral Society of the Palm Beaches.

Cantor Shapiro has served in a full time capacity at Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach and, most recently, at Temple Sinai in Delray Beach. She is a noted teacher of liturgy and cantillation and has mentored many aspiring cantors. As a distinguished member of the Cantors Assembly, Cantor Shapiro has taken a leadership role, serving as Chairperson of the Southeast Region and as the first woman elected to the Executive Board of the Cantors Assembly.

How to attend:

For the Friday night dinner, registration and an $18 fee are required by going to All other portions of the weekend are free of charge and open to the public without pre-registration.

Temple Beth Israel is an egalitarian, traditional, friendly, unaffiliated synagogue that has served the Jewish community in the Waltham area for 100 years. Visit the TBI website at .

Event Location: Temple Beth Israel
25 Harvard Street, Waltham, Massachusetts, 02453

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Fact Sheet
From Friday, June 5, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Until Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 2:00 pm

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