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Cantor Ruth Berman Harris


Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cantor Berman Harris received her cantorial education at the Rabbinical Seminary of Latin America. In 1987, she had the distinct honor of becoming the first woman cantor in Argentina, forging a new path within the Argentine Jewish Community.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and Talmud from Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. Following this, her travels continued as she led services at Lamroth Hakol and Temple Emanuel, in Buenos Aires; Bet Daniel in Tel Aviv, Kehillat Yozma in Modiin, and Kehillat Mevaseret Zion in the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Cantor Ruth made her way to the United States and, from 2001 to 2005, served as the cantor of Congregation Sinai in Fox Point, Milwaukee, WI, followed by five years at Temple Chai in Phoenix, Arizona. She became the cantor of Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center in 2011, and we are so blessed to enjoy her beautiful voice, caring guidance and practical leadership in our community. We are not the only ones happy to have her - Cantor Ruth is married to Laurence Harris and is the proud mother of Ariel, Talia, and Adam.

“Being a cantor is not simply a job for me; it is what I was born to do. In partnership on the bimah with Rabbi Carrier and with our youth with Rabbi Gerace, I work to create a strong, personal, dedicated, and spiritual environment to better serve our congregants. I believe in modelling my relationship with God to educate and inspire, giving myself fully to each congregant. I stand among the congregation as we share life-cycle events, weekly services and holidays, and we experience the journey of Judaism together.

Gathering as a community in prayer enables us to open our doors to spirituality. For me, music is the tool that helps elevate us above the mundane, and our voices are the instruments that bring us closer to God. My role as cantor involves sharing Shabbat during Friday night and Saturday morning services, High Holy Day services and other festivals; life-cycle events, teaching adult b’nai mitzvah classes, adult learning, b’nai mitzvah students, bikur cholim (visiting the sick), counseling, leading our davenning team, and working with our religious school students and teens. Along with lay leaders and committees, I also create special programming for holidays and community learning. These include Tikkun Shavuot lectures and the congregation-wide Kallah weekends. Also, I am passionate about traveling the Jewish world. I lead a congregational trip to Argentina in 2014 and currently am spending my sabbatical studying and living in Jerusalem.”

- Cantor Ruth Berman Harris

Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784