Cantor Emma Maier to join Temple Beth Emeth

By Jack Zaientz, chair, TBE cantor search committee

There is a lot of excitement at Temple Beth Emeth. Beginning this summer, Cantor Emma Maier will be assuming the position of cantor at Temple Beth Emeth previously held by TBE’s beloved Cantor Regina Hayut, who is retiring after a decade of service to the Ann Arbor Reform Jewish synagogue. Cantor Maier currently serves as cantor, spiritual leader, and educator at The Village Temple in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood and is a member of the American Conference of Cantors.

“We are so excited to welcome Cantor Maier to Temple Beth Emeth and Ann Arbor,” said TBE’s Rabbi Josh Whinston. “Even from my first encounter with Cantor Maier, her inquisitive nature and thoughtfulness was clearly apparent. Once I heard Cantor Maier’s voice, I was even more confident that our community would love her and that she would be a wonderful fit on our bimah.”

Cantor Maier was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) where she was the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Compassionate Cantor Prize by Reform Cantors of Chicago, the Cantor Edward R. Fogel – St. Louis Circle of Jewish Music Prize for Vocal Development, and Women of Reform Judaism Award. While attending HUC-JIR, she was an active member of the Worship Working Group, where she worked to shape and support t’filah culture. She is an accomplished choral singer and is looking forward to developing her choral conducting skills and leading Temple Beth Emeth’s Kol Halev choir.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Emma was a member of Wilshire Boulevard Temple where she sang in the youth choir from elementary school through high school. After being the beneficiary of a robust Jewish education at Brawerman Elementary and Milken Community High School, Emma went on to attend Brandeis University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS) with a minor in Religious Studies. She has performed in choirs and as a soloist at numerous venues — including the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Opera, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, and Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, among other venues.

“From our very first interactions it was clear that TBE was a special community,” said Cantor Maier, “The cantorial search process was deeply intentional, everyone was so kind, and there was a palpable excitement in the air. Upon visiting Ann Arbor, all of my expectations and more were confirmed. I fell in love with the warm, welcoming, vibrant, and spirited community. I am elated and honored to be joining the TBE team and can’t wait to continue getting to know this remarkable community. What a joy it will be to be your cantor!”

Cantor Maier’s hire was the result of an eight-month search process led by TBE’s Cantor Search Committee and, before that, a yearlong congregational information-gathering and planning process led by TBE’s Transition Task Force. The knowledge-gathering process led to insights into TBE needs and aspirations that set the stage for the search. The search process involved defining the cantor job description and priorities, reviewing twelve cantor applications, and scheduling and conducting eleven Zoom interviews and three in person auditions and interviews. The Cantor Search Committee included Jack Zaientz (chair), Rabbi Josh Whinston, Jack Billi, Hugh Goodman, Sonya Lewis, Cathy Marshall, Tara Martin, Rosie Meisler, and Rebecca Schwartz. The committee was supported by TBE President Margaret Hannon, VP of Administration Melissa Simon, Executive Director Shannon Hall, Cantor Regina, the Kol Halev choir, the TBE Board of Trustees, and the TBE congregants and Ann Arbor community members who participated in the audition and interview process.

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