Cantor Matt Axelrod

Cantor Matt Axelrod has served Congregation Beth Israel of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, since 1990. He is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and a national officer of the Cantors Assembly. Cantor Axelrod is the author of "Surviving Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah: The Ultimate Insider's Guide," and "Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays: From Shofar to Seder." You can read his blog at mattaxelrod.com.


Articles by Cantor Matt Axelrod

Jonah: The Apathetic Prophet

The real message of the story we read on Yom Kippur isn't about the power of repentance, but about taking responsibility for others.

Unetaneh Tokef: Do We Control our Fate?

The prayer that asks us to consider our mortality is an urgent call to examine our lives.

Rosh Hashanah Musaf: A Call to Change Your Life

The Rosh Hashanah Musaf is the core of the service — and where we find its most iconic prayers and resonant themes.

A Modern State of Impurity

The Torah's discussion of the obscure condition called tzara'at tells us something profound about the human condition.

Birkot Hashachar: Giving Thanks Each Morning

This series of blessings are a beautiful expression of gratitude for the opportunity of experiencing another day.

The Majesty of Adon Olam

This poem, familiar to many worshippers as the closing hymn of the Shabbat service, conveys a complete framework for our relationship to God.

The Shema: A Model of Moral Development

The prayer's three paragraphs seem unrelated, but they lead us on the steps of a spiritual journey.

Kol Nidrei: The Power of Words

Why does the holiest day of the Jewish year begin with a dry legal formula renouncing vows?

Hineni: A Prayer for the Ability to Pray

This meditation traditionally recited by the cantor on the High Holidays is unique for being worded in the first-person singular.