My Name Is

My Name Is... Kim Harris of Morrison

‘Singing rabbi’ serves at Congregation B’nai Chaim

Posted 10/28/15

About me

I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and I went to the University of South Carolina, which is where I met my husband, Brian — we were both in the marching band. I got my master’s in education, and I taught first graders for 13 …

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My Name Is

My Name Is... Kim Harris of Morrison

‘Singing rabbi’ serves at Congregation B’nai Chaim

Posted

About me

I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and I went to the University of South Carolina, which is where I met my husband, Brian — we were both in the marching band. I got my master’s in education, and I taught first graders for 13 years.

What is a cantor?

A cantor is kind of like a singing rabbi. Cantors work alongside rabbis in giving sermons, and lead the musical parts of the service. I also serve as the spiritual leader for the congregations, and at B’nai Chaim, I am one of the few cantors who leads the congregation, instead of a rabbi.

Becoming a cantor …

My husband and I were always very active in our synagogue, and would do things like sing in the choir. Being active is what led me to want to be a cantor, and so I went to the Hebrew Union College in New York City. The first year of the program you have to do in Israel, but then I spent the following three years in New York. I trained alongside rabbinic students, although being a cantor is usually more of a liturgical specialist.

We took classes in various texts and in counseling and life cycles, as well as many different musical expressions.

Finding myself in Colorado …

I had a big pulpit in Chicago for 11 years, but I eventually came to realize I just didn’t fit with a crowd that size. I began searching for different, smaller pulpits and came to B’nai Chaim for the High Holy Days. I was struck by how friendly and kind everyone was here, and was so sad to leave. So when I heard the rabbi there was leaving, I interviewed to take over as cantor and leader of the congregation.

It’s my dream job — I really get to be involved in people’s lives, and love the small, intimate nature of the congregation. My job is to communicate the meaning of the texts through singing, and I take it very seriously.

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