Assistant Cantor

Shanna Zell is a singer/songwriter turned cantor who believes in creating a warm, uplifting community of song open to all seekers and lovers of Judaism.
She received her BA in both European Cultural Studies and English & American Literature from Brandeis University. Post graduating Brandeis, Shanna worked for the Makor/Steinhardt Center of the 92Y where she assisted in programming for multi-denominational Jewish 20/30s and received an award for her "lasting contribution" to the institution.
Before embarking on her cantorial journey, Shanna performed live shows with her band - Shanna & the Zellots - a powerful pop-rock ensemble. She released one full length album (2005) and one EP (2011), both comprised of original music. Blending her experience as a songwriter and passion for Jewish music, Shanna often finds herself bringing driving rock rhythms into the synagogue.  

Since Fall 2013, she served as cantorial intern for Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn where she was a prayer leader, b'nai mitzvah tutor, Rosh Hodesh girls' group organizer and co-facilitator of the 20s/30s "Brooklyn Jews" community. In February 2016, she co-organized an Indigo Girls Tribute Concert to raise funds and awareness for Planned Parenthood NYC. In December 2016, Shanna presented a senior recital entitled, "Sacred Brooklyn," an exploration of the sounds of liberal Jewish Brooklyn, which is also the topic of her masters thesis.
During her time at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, Shanna served as a member of the Worship Working Group and as student liaison to the Reform Movement's Commission on Worship, Music and Religious Living. She was a Be Wise Fellow, working with the institution and classmates to digitize the Sacred Music Press. From 2014-2016 Shanna served as a UJA Federation PENS fellow, meeting monthly with other fellows to explore issues facing local and global Jewish communities as well as innovating for a bright Jewish future.

Shanna lives in Brookline, MA, loves keeping her finger on the pulse of the underground music scene, exploring new neighborhoods and eating sushi. She is thrilled to be serving as the Assistant Cantor at Temple Beth Elohim.

Contact Cantor Zell, (781) 235-8419 x225 or [email protected].

Click here to view Cantor Zell's December 1, 2017 Installation

Click here to listen to some of Shanna's personal recordings.

Read 'The Cantorate's Changing Nature', Jewish Advocate, December 15, 2017