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Music during prayer is essential and is the purest expression of the soul’s longing. Our people’s prayers have been presented in song since the Levites expressed our yearnings during Temple times.

At University Synagogue we recognize the importance of connecting through music – during services and within the life of our community.

We are sustained through music every day in our community. From pre-school sing-alongs and Tot Shabbat, to pastoral visits by our clergy in the hospital – our musical life is an integral part of the University Synagogue experience.

R. Nachman of Bratslav explains, “I will sing to my God with my ‘more’ (be'odi)” (Psalm 146:1), saying that it encourages us to find that aspect of “moreness” within each of us through music and song. In singing such songs, we can search out the good within every human being and only through finding that goodness within everyone may we sing pure praises to the Holy One. (Likkutei MoHaRa’N, I 282)

Please take a look at our music program offerings below:


Our children’s choir for grades 3-6 meets weekly on Sundays immediately after Religious School. We have lunch, and practice singing in Hebrew. The group helps to lead Friday night Family Services once a month during the school year.


Our adult choir joins Cantor Shapiro in leading prayer during the High Holy Days and other special times. The choir is directed by Susan Rosenstein, who has long served as our community’s music director. Teens who have the ability to read music and are able to attend rehearsals are welcome to join the adult choir.

Shabbat Zimrah

Our Shabbat Zimrah musicians share with us a soulful & spiritual Shabbat experience of music, connection and community. The service features the Zimrah musicians (Yuval Ron on oud, Ava Nahas on percussion, Peter Gordon on ethnic flutes). Shabbat Zimrah is a soulful and spiritual experience of music, connection, and community. Our instrumentalists provide a Middle-Eastern feeling and a connection to the land of Israel.  Their varied backgrounds display an awareness and intention of healing between peoples and faiths. 

Zimrah B’yachad 

(Joyful Music Together) Program made possible by Drs. Barry Silverman and Barry Lowitz in honor and memory of Linda Lowitz at University Synagogue. The program provides a number of added benefits to our community:

  • A recording of Shabbat Zimrah songs is currently available to our community. Contact Cantor Shapiro at for a CD or click here download the MP3s
  • Percussion instruments are available for use in our ECLC (Early Childhood Learning Center) and our Religious School.
  • Brock Pollock, a musician and educator, has been engaged to teach a school-year-long percussion and movement program to our smallest members in the ECLC. 
  • Ava Nahas, a percussionist and educator with an expansive knowledge of Middle Eastern drumming techniques, has been engaged to teach a school-year-long program to our older students in Religious School and Tichon, introducing the children to percussion traditions from around the world – including the Middle East. Children who participate in this program will be invited to participate musically in Shabbat Zimrah.


Under the leadership of Cantor Emeritus Jay Frailich, University Synagogue became a national leader in the area of Jewish Music Commissions. We take pride in sustaining Jewish Music in America through the commissioning of accomplished Jewish composers. Contact Cantor Shapiro if you would like to mark a special occasion or honor a loved one by commissioning a piece of music.

Click here to view the list of University Synagogue's musical commissions. 

For information about music at the synagogue, contact Cantor Shapiro's via email or call 310.472.1255.

Fri, June 25 2021 15 Tammuz 5781