Known as the “Cantor’s Cantor,” Helene Shifrin Reps serves as our Cantor Emerita.
Cantor Reps’ musical training began in Oakdale, Pennsylvania, where she pursued lessons in piano, theory, elocution, dance, and clarinet during her childhood. Her musical studies continued at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon. As a college junior, Cantor Reps made her performance debut with William Steinberg and the Pittsburgh Symphony, as soloist in the Mozart Requiem. After college, Cantor Reps taught music in Harlem, while studying with Jennie Tourel and performing in Manhattan. Again she sang with the Pittsburgh Symphony, as well as opera companies and ensembles. She toured both nationally and internationally with the Antiqua Players of the
University of Pittsburgh.
Along with her husband, David, and their young family, Cantor Reps relocated to White Plains. She attended Hebrew Union College, and, in 1979 became one of the world’s first female cantors to graduate. The following year, she joined Temple Israel of New Rochelle, first as Cantorial assistant and then as Cantor and music director. She served Temple Israel actively for 17 years, bringing her beautiful voice and musicality, warmth and charm to our community.
While Cantor Reps retired in 1997, she remains active at Temple Israel. Cantor and David Reps have four children and eight grandchildren.