Our Spiritual Leader

Cantor Rena Shapiro

Cantor Rena Shapiro was born in Newburgh, NY, with a song in her heart and a passion for music in her soul.  She studied violin and piano, sang in all the high school choirs, and during her many years at Jewish summer camps, taught herself folk guitar.  In her undergraduate years at Tufts University, she directed the Jackson Jills, a female a cappella singing group.  She began assuming cantorial duties at Temple Beth-El in Poughkeepsie, NY, in the early 1990's, when she also founded the Shalom Singers, a Jewish community-wide choir.  About a decade later, she was the co-founder of the Sacred Bridge interfaith choir.  In 2001 she received cantorial ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion, where she subsequently joined the faculty.  While at AJR, her composition, “A Psalm for Healing,” earned her the prestigious Creative Liturgy Award.  Shortly thereafter, her choral arrangement of “Eili, Eili” was published.  Cantor Shapiro retired as Cantor at Temple Beth-El in Poughkeepsie in June of 2014 and re-located to the South Hills area of Pittsburgh to be near her family, including 4 grandchildren.  In the spring of 2015 she accepted the position of Spiritual Leader at Beth Samuel Jewish Center in Ambridge, PA.