Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler

Lorel Zar-Kessler has served as the cantor of Congregation Beth El since 1990. In the last twenty years, she has held and named babies, taught more melodies for Adon Olam than could be imagined, danced around the bimah as Belle in “Beauty from the East”, helped over 300 young people become b’nai mitzvah, served potato latkes to the masses, brought theatre and live music and dance to our four walls, and missed only one Shabbat evening service because of foul weather.  It’s work without borders; joyful, holy work that is continually fulfilling.

With the help of the wonderful and participatory Beth El community, she has learned that all music serves as a pathway to inner growth, community strength and, hopefully, to God.   In addition to her ongoing work and delight at Beth El, Lorel has taught many workshops in the Boston area, focusing on the music of the soul and the joy of communal song. She has led Women’s Seders in the Boston area, is an active member of the Women Cantor’s Network, and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She has studied Jewish Music Education at Hebrew College.  Her three wonderful daughters became b’not mirzvah at Beth El, and both her grandchildren were named in its sanctuary. Her husband, Arnie, is the Head of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, and truly feels Beth El to be his spiritual and communal home.  For all this, Lorel Zar-Kessler is truly grateful.

Hear Lorel singing prayers, songs and niggunim.

The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts honored Lorel with a Community Service Award on June 14, 2012

Beth El has provided a joyful home away from home, where my family has embraced their Jewish identity through learning, prayer and community.
— Deb B