Cantor Ben Ellerin will join Baltimore Hebrew Congregation as its new cantor on July 1.
Cantor Ellerin and his wife, Lily, are coming to Baltimore from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, where Ellerin currently serves at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester.
“I think one of the first things that led me to the Baltimore community was the sense of heimishness and community,” Ellerin said. “Everyone I’ve interacted with at BHC has been so enthusiastically welcoming.”
Ellerin studied music at Indiana University, obtaining his undergraduate degree there as well as a master’s in choral conducting. He received his ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City.
The new cantor is looking forward to joining the BHC community.
“I’m really excited about working with Rabbi Busch and Rabbi Sachs-Kohen,” Ellerin said. “It seems like an amazing clergy team, and I look forward to that partnership.”
In addition to cantorial work, Ellerin creates original compositions for services. His compositions have been frequently commissioned and presented.
“I didn’t always find I was moved by the music I was hearing in services,” Ellerin said. “So whenever I write, I try to keep in mind the musical traditions of the past while also looking for a Jewish voice that is American, that is part of who we are in the 21st century.”
Creating such compositions, Ellerin said, is “one of the great and rewarding intellectual challenges” as a cantor. He sees it as an opportunity to provide something unique to the world and express an inner responsibility to contribute to the long history of Jewish music.
“Cantor Ellerin brings to Baltimore an amazing mix of an inspiring voice, deep Jewish knowledge and menschlichkeit,” said Rabbi Andrew Busch. “We are all excited to have him join our community. We know he will bring his own fantastic mix of musicality and intelligence, including his love of Judaism, teaching and community to all segments of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.”
Ellerin previously served as the director of choirs at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City. He also led worship at congregations in Jerusalem and Ramat Hasharon, Israel, and served as cantor-in-residence in Montreal, Canada.
As cantor at BHC, Ellerin will teach b’nai mitzvah students and lead choirs of all ages.
Shoshana Goloskov is an intern at the Baltimore Jewish Times.