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Temple B’nai Chaim Serving Westport Honors Cantor For 25 Years Of Service

Cantor John Sobel has spent 25 years at Temple B’nai Chaim in Georgetown.
Cantor John Sobel has spent 25 years at Temple B’nai Chaim in Georgetown. Photo Credit: Provided

GEORGETOWN, Conn. -- Temple B’nai Chaim will celebrate June 5 as it honors Cantor Jon Sobel’s 25 years of service to the congregation and community.  

The congregation will host a special musical service called "House of Song” at 7 p.m. to honor Sobel's contributions to the religious and musical life of the temple. 

Originally from Cedar Grove, N.J., Sobel began leading music for Jewish worship services while an undergraduate at Yale University in New Haven. He was a member of the Yale Whiffenpoofs and a soloist with the Yale Glee Club.  

He earned his bachelor of science degree in computer science in 1986 and became Temple B’nai Chaim’s cantor in 1989. 

Sobel and his family have lived in Redding since 1998.  

Unlike the role of the rabbi, a Jewish scholar who is appointed as the community’s religious leader, the primary responsibility of a cantor is to lead the congregation in chanted and sung prayer and to inspire and guide the congregation’s religious experience through music. 

In addition to his role in leading weekly worship and holiday services and in officiating at life-cycle events (such as baby namings, weddings and funerals), Sobel also oversees the music program at the temple’s religious school.

During his 25 years, Sobel has worked with five of the six rabbis who have served Temple B’nai Chaim since its founding in 1976. He has officiated at 580 child and adult bar and bat mitzvahs and has formed and led multi-generational bands, classical chamber groups, folk groups and choirs.

“I have always connected spiritually to God via music,” Sobel said. 

As described by one congregant, “when Cantor Sobel expresses his prayers through singing, he reaches moments of transcendence that are palpable … Temple B’nai Chaim has been blessed with an extraordinary cantor.”

Temple B’nai Chaim is 82 Portland Ave., Georgetown and includes families from the towns of Wilton, Ridgefield, Weston, Redding, Westport and beyond. 

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