Understanding the Roles of a Jewish Cantor

A Hazzan or Cantor is a person who leads the prayer in a congregation. Over the years, cantors have assumed a variety of religious roles in addition to leading the congregation in prayers.

  • In addition to leading prayer services, a cantor is responsible for teaching the youth to lead the Shabbat services and to chant the Torah. He is also responsible in preparing Jewish youth for their Bar and Bat Mitzvah.
  • Cantors are often ordained clergies. They can perform roles that only Rabbis once performed. These responsibilities include conducting weddings and funerals, paying a visit to sick congregants, as well as teaching adult education classes.
  • A cantor can also be a shohet (ritual slaughterer) and mohel (a person who performs circumcision).
  • A cantor works with the Rabbi in educating, motivating and inspiring the congregation.

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