Cantor Sarra Allegra Spierer joined our Beth Elohim community in July, 2007.
Cantor Sarra was raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. Inspired from the start by the sounds of the Boston Klezmer Conservatory, the voices of the Zamir Chorale of Boston, and the songs of the NFTY youth movement, she saw Jewish prayer and music as paths to the wordless place in the heart where we can connect to something greater than ourselves. She sang at the opening of the Boston Holocaust Memorial, performed at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, and later joined the Zamir Chorale of Boston. She was a soloist during Zamir's Eastern European tour in 1999, which was recorded and televised on PBS (Zamir: Jewish Voices Return to Poland). She has also taught, led services, and performed in synagogues throughout the country, including New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Texas and Florida.
Cantor Sarra was ordained as a Hazzan (Cantor) and received a Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew College in Newton, MA in 2007. The first years of her cantorial studies took place at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. As an undergraduate, she studied Occupational Therapy and Psychology at Boston University, graduating with a degree in Communications.
Cantor Sarra has a passion for health and pastoral care, interfaith learning, and meditation. An active participant in Journeys on the Hill (an interfaith learning group with Andover Newton Theological School) at Hebrew College, she also completed an intensive interfaith training program in clinical pastoral education at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in 2005. She has studied mussar (a Jewish path of spiritual growth and ethical development) and various forms of meditation in Israel, India, and throughout the Northeast. She also worked on farms through WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities for Organic Farming) on the west coast.
Here at Congregation Beth Elohim, Cantor Sarra serves as a pastoral and spiritual resource for our community. She enhances our prayer through music, and enjoys creating opportunities for congregational participation on the bimah. In addition to many Shabbat and holiday services, she leads a monthly Tot Shabbat for our families with very young children. She teaches both adults and B'nai Mitzvah, helping children gain confidence as they develop their strengths.
Cantor Sarra is a member of the Cantors Assembly and the New England Board of Cantors.
She enjoys lives in Acton and enjoys hiking, traveling, and practicing tai chi with her wonderful husband, Elan Riesman.