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Cantor Melissa Cohen

Cantor Melissa Cohen has served as the Cantor of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck since 2015. She grew up in Lakewood, New Jersey, where she attended the Solomon Schechter Academy and was an active member of USY. As a young student, she leyned Torah at her home congregation and had the wonderful opportunity to sing in Israel and Poland on a March of the Living trip while she was in high school.

Cantor Cohen is an accomplished musician and received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She then went on to earn a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from DePaul University. After many years of rigorous study with the Cantors Internship of the Cantors Assembly, Cantor Cohen received Cantorial Certification from the Cantors Assembly. She believes that music is the universal language of prayer and spirituality and creates meaningful and inclusive services by blending traditional and contemporary styles. Her attention to detail and dedication to musical excellence, coupled with her impressive vocal ability, have made for exciting and enriching music at Beth-El Zedeck.

Cantor Cohen is famous for her fun-filled, one-of-a-kind Purim Shpiels and her many unique themed Shabbat services throughout the year, such as Beatles Shabbat, our monthly Friday Night Live or BEZ, and the Amazing Technicolor Shabbat. She coordinates and directs our renowned High Holiday Choir, Yom Kippur Martyrology Service, youth and adult choirs, and is always happy to provide trope training for potential Torah and Haftarah leyners. Cantor Cohen developed our successful Tefillah Lab for our 6th and 7th grade students as they prepare for B’nei Mitzvah and brings energy and enthusiasm when working with students.

Cantor Cohen’s rich soprano voice and honest performing has been featured in operas and concerts throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel. She has worked in the field of Jewish music, education and counseling, community service, and pulpit duties since 1996, serving Cantorial positions in Champaign, Chicago, and St. Louis. She previously served Beth-El Zedeck as the Feigenbaum Director of Musical Arts from 2011-2015.

Cantor Cohen is a proud supporter of local arts and presently serves as a Trustee of the Board of Directors at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre in Carmel, Indiana. She has also served on steering committees with the Indianapolis Opera and Indianapolis Children Choir. During her tenure, Cantor Cohen has established meaningful professional partnerships with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Opera, as well as the Indiana University Hillel and Indiana University Department of Opera. She is also active in organizing and participating in various community interfaith programs and events.

As the first female Cantor at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Cantor Cohen takes great pride in sharing the many lifecycle events of such a longstanding and historical congregation. Cantor Melissa and Dr. Marc Cohen are the proud parents of Sadie and Evan.