About Cantor Shammash

The daughter of a mother with roots in Latvian Jewry and a Baghdad-born father of Babylonian Jewish tradition who emigrated to American in 1947, Cantor Elizabeth Shammash  feels the proud inheritance of two rich Jewish lineages. She has served as Hazzan in the Philadelphia area since 2007, including Tiferet Bet Israel (Blue Bell) and Adath Israel (Merion Station) congregations.  In addition, she works with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, mentoring rabbis and cantors in Jewish mindfulness practices.

Prior to entering Jewish Theological Seminary in 2004, her career in opera and concert took her to work with companies including New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Wolf Trap Opera,  Palm Beach Opera,  Sarasota Opera, Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, and the Beijing Music Festival and symphonic appearances including the Israel Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, Los Angeles Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra. The 2018-19 season highlight was a Yiddish Liederabend at YIVO in New York City, and 2019-20 included a Leonard Bernstein 100th birthday concert at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, presented jointly by Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Lyric Fest, with Jamie Bernstein as narrator, as well as a Hebrew Liederabend at YIVO, featuring the arts song of Israeli composers.

Cantor Shammash has recorded extensively for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music. She holds degrees from Brown University, Manhattan School of Music, Boston University Opera Institute, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is a longtime yoga practitioner and makes her home in Philadelphia with her husband, David Reed, and their rescue dog, Lenny.


Video Recordings

Shloymele, Malkele. Music by Joseph Rumshinksky. Lyrics by Isidore Lillian. Recorded live at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Morenica, “Dark Beauty”, traditional Ladino. Elizabeth Shammash, mezzo-soprano; Allen Krantz, guitar. Recorded live at 1867 Sanctuary, Ewing NJ . 

Baym Bentshn Likht. Music: Lazar Weiner. Yehudi Wyner, piano. A young woman recalls how her mother would tear up with her deepest prayers as she lit the Shabbat candles on Friday nights.

Shloymele, Malkele. Music by Abraham Ellstein. Lyrics by Molly Picon. Recorded live at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Audio Tracks

Yedid Nefesh, Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy. Music: Pursa. Rabbi David Ackerman, guitar.

L’cha Dodi, Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy. Music: Breslov Hassidic/ folk tune/ Aaron Bensoussan. Rabbi David Ackerman, guitar.

Ahavat Olam, Shabbat Maariv liturgy. Music: Eric Mandell. Rabbi David Ackerman, guitar.

Avinu Malkeinu, Yom Kippur liturgy. Music: Max Janowski. Recorded for the Milken Archive of Jewish Music.

Hineni, High Holy Day liturgy. Live recording. Music: Adolph Katchko.

Tavo L’fanecha, Yom Kippur liturgy. Music: Max Janowski. David Schlossberg, piano.


Upcoming Events

Every Monday, 11am-noon ET
IJS Online Yoga Studio


Every Sunday, 9-10am ET
Online Yoga;  $12-$20 sliding scale
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November 30-December 3
Preparing Your Light for Hanukkah: A Deep Shabbat Experience, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox MA

December 9
Shabbat morning, Temple Sinai, Dresher, PA

January 27, 2024
Shabbat morning, Temple Sinai, Dresher, PA

January 28-February 1
Institute for Jewish Spirituality retreat, Brandeis Bardin Institute, Simi Valley, CA


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