About Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman

Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman is thrilled to be the cantor at Temple Jeremiah. She moved to the area from the New York/New Jersey area in 2015 after beginning her tenure at Beth Emet in July of 2015, just after receiving Cantorial Ordination from The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. Previously, she served as cantor at Beth Emet the Free Synagogue in Evanston, IL where, in addition to the many life cycles and other duties of the cantor, she directed the Adult Choir, created and directed a Teen A Capella Choir, Jr. Choir, and Intergenerational Band. Cantor Friedman strives to help all members of the community find their Jewish voice and she regularly invites anyone who is interested to sing with her during Shabbat and High Holy Days services. Cantor Friedman has a wide range of musical styles, and feels at home in almost every style of Jewish music, such as playing her guitar in a small setting where everyone is participating with her, or singing a piece of Chazzanut or liturgical music for a large congregation. Her belief is that nearly all Jewish music has its place in our synagogue, and when done prayerfully and with great intention, can inspire us to hear God’s voice, and can often help us to find prayer within our souls that words alone cannot arouse. Cantor Friedman holds degrees of Bachelor of Music from Illinois State University, Master of Music from Arizona State University, and Master of Sacred Music from the Hebrew Union College. During her time as a student she served as Cantorial Intern at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, NJ. There, she founded and directed their 40 member Junior Choir, Keshet, and also served as the cantor of the Barrie H. Greene Early Childhood Center. During her tenure at Jeshurun, she created and implemented the synagogue’s first ever Yom Kippur Family Service for which over 600 families were in attendance. It has since been a staple of their High Holy Days services. Cantor Friedman is a regular soloist with the Kol Zimrah Community Choir right here on the North Shore. She is an active member of the American Conference of Cantors and was asked to be on the leadership committee for the 2018 convention as Co-Chair for all of the Tefilot (Prayer Services) for the convention. She is an active member of the Reform Cantors Chicago, and is frequently invited to collaborate in Cantorial Concerts with colleagues throughout both Chicagoland and all over the U.S at places such as Temple Emanu-El Dallas, Temple Judea in Palm Beach Gardens, and Anshe Emet Synagogue with Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi. One of Cantor Friedman’s biggest passions is helping to sustain and foster the Reform Movement in Israel. From 2010-2011 Susie lived in Israel for the first year of school and volunteered at Congregation Ohel Avraham, part of the Leo Baeck Center in Haifa, where she served as volunteer cantor. She formed strong relationships with Rabbi Gabby Dagan, and the congregants who quickly became her Israeli family, and she decided to become a bat mitzvah with them. Six months later, Susie co-officiated a b’not mitzvah for seven Israeli women, all of whom celebrated with Susie at her ceremony and grew up never knowing that a bat mitzvah existed—only bar mitzvah. That year, Susie also conceived, directed, accompanied, and performed in Broadway on the Carmel, a concert to raise money for families who could not afford to have b’nai mitzvah for their children. While in Israel, she was nominated by her piers and received the Rabbi Jason Huebsch Memorial Prize for all of her work with Ohel Avraham. Prior to becoming a cantor, Susie appeared in the Broadway National Tour of CATS playing the roles of Jennyanydots and Grizabella. She also performed in regional opera, theater, concert, and as a pianist/singer/entertainer in clubs throughout NYC, hosting her own weekly open mic show at The Duplex. She has had the great fortune to perform with Betty Buckley, George S. Irving, and Alberto Mizrahi, and is frequently sought out to sing in various cantorial concerts throughout the U.S. She is a proud member of the American Conference of Cantors, the Reform Cantors of Chicago, and Actors Equity Association. Her love of children and strong desire to inspire b’nai mitzvah students to remain engaged in Jewish life inspired her to be a cantor. It is Susie’s goal that every student who walks through the doors of the synagogue will grow up to become vibrant, participating members of congregations. She is married to the love of her life, Ross Friedman. Her absolute greatest achievements are their daughter, Abigail Hannah Friedman, who was born on May 6, 2013, and their son, Zev Noah Friedman, who was born on Nov. 5, 2014. They are both living examples of her answered prayers.

Shabbat Eikev

By |2021-07-30T13:20:19-05:00July 29, 2021|

This week, we read from the book of Deuteronomy parashat Eikev, where the Israelites learned that if they obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to God, they will indeed inherit the Land of Israel…a Land flowing with milk and honey. How, may you ask, does this relate to us? Who is God? Where does God live? I’d

Shabbat Matot Ma’asei

By |2021-07-08T12:03:27-05:00July 8, 2021|

אַל תַעֲבִרֵנוּ Al Ta’avireinu -- do not cause us to go over.  This week we read the double portion of Matot-Ma’asei, the story of the journeys of the tribes of Israel. Reuben and Gad possessed a great number of cattle and had, along with all the Israelites, been traveling toward the Promised Land for 40 years. These two tribes felt that the lands of Jazer and Gilead would be a more suitable place to

Shabbat Naso

By |2021-05-20T11:17:53-05:00May 20, 2021|

In this week’s Torah portion, Naso, we read about how our leaders were invested and appointed. We read the famous Priestly Benediction given by Moses to Aaron, his brother and the first leader of the Jewish people. Today, we still invoke this blessing on people experiencing times of transitions in

Shabbat Yitro

By |2021-02-04T17:21:21-06:00February 4, 2021|

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about Moses’ father-in-law, Yitro. When they met up in the wilderness after Moses and Miriam led the Israelites to freedom, Yitro was so moved by what God did to rescue the Israelites, he worked to make a sacrifice to God: Yitro helped Moses establish lower courts to relieve Moses of the burden of being the judge of all

Shabbat Mikeitz

By |2019-12-26T13:21:53-06:00December 25, 2019|

Dear Friends, This week we read about Joseph, the favorite son of one of our forefather’s Jacob, and his gift for interpreting dreams. His brothers had sold him into slavery with Pharaoh, and then he was imprisoned for being falsely accused of an affair with Potiphar’s wife. Mikeitz is chock

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