Cantor Matt Axelrod says Goodbye to his Job at Congregation Beth Israel

Keira Baerson, Feature Editor

After 33 years of leading prayer at Congregation Beth Israel, Cantor Matt Axelrod will soon leave his job to become the Executive Director of the Cantors Assembly. 


As part of this international group, Axelrod will be pursuing various responsibilities including overseeing staffing, finances, and programming and he will work with volunteer leaders to ensure that everything is running smoothly. In his new role, Axelrod strives to promote the profession of being a Cantor and help current Cantors with their jobs. 


Amid this transition, Axelrod recalls what originally inspired him to become a Cantor. 


“There were two things that I always gravitated towards [as a child]. One was music, and the other was Jewish life, [which included] leading services, going to temple and learning,” Axelrod told The Fanscotian. “I was involved with my temple growing up and it was this natural, perfect combination of the two things that I was good at and interested in and I decided to look into cantorial school.” 


Congregation Beth Israel will always be home to Axelrod’s first job as a Cantor, which he got when he was still a student. At the time, the temple was only hiring student Cantors, but since Axelrod was a great match for the job, they decided to hire him as their first and only full-time Cantor. 


When asked about the proudest moment in his career, Axelrod emphasized how much he enjoyed working with the students and getting to be a part of so many Bat and Bar Mitzvahs over the years. 


“I will always remember [how] the whole congregation felt like family… the temple just felt like home,” Axelrod said. “Another thing is those moments when the entire congregation is together singing with the choir and I am leaving everybody; it’s something I will never forget.” 


In his role at Congregation Beth Israel, Axelrod added the importance of being there for people during significant lifecycle events. He feels that trust is a very meaningful and important connection that he has been able to build with congregation members. 


While Axelrod is leaving his job at Congregation Beth Israel, he is excited to remain a part of the community and congregation. 


“It’s not a hard goodbye, but I am going to miss the daily connection with the congregation, I’m going to miss singing, I’m going to miss leading services and having everybody sing along with me,” Axelrod said.