Cantor Janice Lowenstein Roger is a graduate of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and was ordained in 1979 as one of the first women to enter the cantorate. When installed as hazzan at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, she was to serve officially as the first cantor of the congregation – now in its 161st year.
As part of our clergy team, Cantor has worked with over a dozen seniors, associate and assistant rabbis at IHC, three religious school educators, three executive directors, dozens of lay leaders, and three generations of congregants.
She has served nationally as a Board member of the American Conference of Cantors, Cantorial Chair of the National Commission on Cantorial – Congregational Relations of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and American Conference of Cantors. A member of the faculty of Goldman Union Camp Institute each summer, and engaged with the local Jewish, civic, and interfaith community in Indianapolis and Central Indiana.
During the High Holy Days, there was a moment during Neilah, following the final Avinu Malkeinu, when you could visibly sense this would be Cantor’s final chanting of this holy prayer as ‘their’ hazzan. For many, the only hazzan they have ever had.
We remember a special needs bat mitzvah student chanting two lines of Torah as she held her hand on the bimah.
And we remember how Cantor Roger spearheaded a task force for inclusion. Indeed, the first person to use a ramp constructed in the sanctuary was not an elder, it was a second grader in a wheel chair who recently came back to Indianapolis to have Cantor officiate at her wedding.
The traditional Reform synagogue’s walls began to shake when the intergenerational 65th Street Klezmorum played for Simchat Torah. And when you see the early childhood parents’ kvelling as their children perform a holiday play Cantor wrote or a senior at Hooverwood listening to a Chai Note performance, you sense Cantor’s touch.
Working with families planning a funeral, it’s the unspoken words reflecting a lifetime of memories where Cantor’s imprint is felt.
These are holy moments.
These are the blessings we have shared.
Do you have a photo of a special event with Cantor Roger?