On January 16, Jewish Spiritual Leaders” Institute (JSLI ), the online Rabbinical and Cantorial School, celebrated religious and musical fulfillment with two newly ordained Cantors at an Ordination weekend celebration of firsts in Delray Beach, Florida.
The two freshly ordained Cantors, Joanna P. Lind of Chicago, and Nina Fine of Florida, bring a breadth of experience, both religious and theatrical, to the Cantorate. Cantors are sacred singers that lead the Jewish community in music, spiritual prayer and ritual services as well as illuminate the beauty of Jewish musical traditions. The Cantors completed their Cantorial studies with JSLI, which was created in 2009, to allow individuals with a history and love for Jewish service to pursue their quest for serving as clergy within a flexible format. According to Rabbi Steven Blane, the school’s Dean, “It was a weekend of firsts! We celebrated our first two Cantor graduates, along with the school’s 100th Rabbi Ordination. “
Ms. Lind descends from Belzer Hasidim of Eastern Europe, and upon ordination, became the sixth generation Cantor following her grandfather, Cantor Dale Lind, and his father, Hazan Joshua Lind, both renowned teachers and liturgical composers. At the age of seven, Joanna began singing at her family’s Conservative-style, egalitarian congregation, Sons of Joshua, which provided a place for unaffiliated Chicago-area Jews to attend High Holiday services. Later she joined the twenty-voice a cappella choir. Since then, Joanna has sung in other choirs and has helped lead Shabbat services for congregations in and around Chicago, including with Cantor Shelly Drucker Friedman at Temple Emanuel in Edgewater. For the past two years, she served as the Cantorial Soloist for High Holiday services at Makom Shalom, a Jewish Renewal community, alongside their long-serving song-leader, Michael Meltzer.
She has performed in musicals, operas, and concerts as well as in Chicago’s vibrant storefront theatre scene. She holds a B.S. in Theatre from Northwestern University and has toured locally for eight seasons with the repertory of American Eagle Productions. She is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, poet, and band leader for the indie folk rock group The New Switcheroo, whose debut studio EP (Heartless Sky) she co-produced in 2015. As a soloist her song “Blue” is featured on a fundraising album for anti-bullying organization The AnonymoUS Initiative.
Ms Fine, also of Maryland and New York, brings emotion and beauty to performances about the Holocaust. She has given voice to the Jewish spirit in her singing of “I Remember” a song – cycle for mezzo, flute harp and cello -based on Anne Frank’s Diary. Her performance as a mezzo soprano “… with her lovely sound and beautiful expressivity, as well as perfect diction, completed the ideal picture of Frank,” according to the Register Star. Fine is an accomplished vocalist, having sung everything from Opera to Oratorio and Broadway to Jazz at venues including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, City Center, Symphony Space, The Kimmel Center, The Academy of Music, The Mann Center, The Kennedy Center and The National Cathedral and City Center. She has performed with organizations including: Peter Nero and The Philly Pops, Opera Delaware, The Philadelphia Singers, NY Gilbert and Sullivan Players, New Rochelle Opera, Bronx Opera, Opera Works Opera Northeast, Hudson Opera, The Bruce Tegler Big Band, Capitol Chamber Artists, Shir Chadash Chorale and more. She has sung with many notable talents such as Sutton Foster, Jodi Benson, Marrin Mazzie, Dee Hoty, Donna McKechnie, Karen Mason, Debbie Gravitte, and Susan Egan. Ms. Fine holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and creates and leads engaging Jewish programs for children and families.
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