Cantor Ilana

Cantor Ilana Plutzer

cantorCantor Ilana received her Master’s Degree in Sacred Music and was invested in 2000 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion-Sacred School of Music in New York. During her years at HUC, she served as student cantor at The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, NY, The Hartford Jewish Center in Havre de Grace, MD, Temple Beth Tikvah in Madison, CT and North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, NY. Her Master’s Thesis, “Refuat Hanefesh”, Healing of the Soul, was a study of music in nursing homes which led her to an internship with the Joint Chaplaincy Committee of MetroWest-National Association of Jewish Chaplains in NJ. She was the first cantor to participate in this program and it has since attracted other cantors to be involved.

For four years, Cantor Ilana lived in Pasadena, CA where she worked at the Weizman Day School teaching kindergarten and first grade Hebrew as well as lead prayer for the whole school through 8th grade.

In 2004, she returned to NY, to Syosset as Cantor at the North Shore Synagogue in Syosset and religious school music teacher at Temple Beth El in Huntington, NY.

Since 2013, Cantor Ilana has been working with Catholic Home Care as a chaplain visiting patients all over long island following their hospital stays. In 2015, she obtained board certification through the Association of Professional Chaplains. In October 2017, Cantor Ilana became the first Jewish woman and first Cantor ever to work as Chaplain on Rikers Island.

Before entering HUC-JIR-SSM, Cantor Ilana attended the University of Rochester, where she earned a BA in Psychology and Theatre. She has worked in several Union of Reform Judaism summer camps including Eisner, Harlem, Newman and Kutz, the Jewish youth leadership camp in Warwick, NY, teaching music, cantillation and Jewish education. She has also worked for many Jewish organizations including B’nai Brith Hillel, ARZA, UJA-Federation and the 92nd Street Y, as well as the Association for the Help of Retarded Children.

Cantor Ilana was born and raised in the Bronx and lived in Queens, Manhattan and Pasadena, California.

She has two daughters Liora and Hannah, and lives in Melville. She is a member of the American Conference of Cantors, Association of Professional Chaplains, American Correctional Chaplains Association, and the National Association of Jewish Chaplains.