Susan Lewis Friedman is delighted and honored to begin her tenure as Cantor at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue. Recently ordained from The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion (May 2015), she brings a diverse array of passions and skills to her role as cantor. She holds both a Master of Music from Arizona State University and a Master of Sacred Music from the Hebrew Union College. Cantor Friedman enjoys a wide range of musical styles, and feels at home in almost every style of Jewish music, from playing her guitar and having everyone sing along to singing traditional cantorial pieces and liturgical music. Her belief is that almost every style of Jewish music has its place in different kinds of settings, and when done prayerfully and with great intention, can inspire us to hear G-d’s voice.
From 2011-2015, Cantor Friedman served as Cantorial Intern at Temple B'nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, NJ where she served as assistant cantor to Cantor Howard Stahl. There, she founded and directed their 40 member Junior Choir, Keshet, and also served as the cantor of the Barry H. Greene Early Childhood Center. During her tenure at B’nai Jeshurun, Cantor Friedman created and implemented the synagogue’s first ever Yom Kippur Family service which has become a staple of B’nai Jeshurun’s High Holy Days services ever since.
One of Cantor Friedman’s biggest passions is helping to sustain and foster the Reform Movement in Israel. From 2010-2011 Susie lived in Israel for the first year of school and volunteered at Congregation Ohel Avraham, part of the Leo Baeck Center in Haifa Israel where she served as volunteer cantor. She formed strong relationships with Rabbi Gabby Dagan and the congregants who quickly became her Israeli family, and she decided to become a Bat Mitzvah with them. Six months later, Cantor Friedman co-officiated at a B’not Mitzvah service for seven Israeli women and herself. During that year in Israel, Cantor Friedman also conceived, directed, accompanied, and performed in Broadway on the Carmel, a concert to raise money for families who could not afford B’nai Mitzvah for their children. While in Israel, she received The Rabbi Jason Huebsch Memorial Prize for her work with Ohel Avraham.
Prior to becoming a cantor, Cantor Friedman appeared in the Broadway National Tour of Cats, playing the roles of Jennyanydots and Grizabella. She also performed in regional opera, theater, concert, and as a pianist/singer/entertainer in clubs throughout NYC, including hosting her own weekly open mic show at The Duplex. She is a proud member of the American Conference of Cantors and Actors Equity Association.
She is married to Ross Friedman and the proud mother of Abigail and Zev.