Nancy Abramson serves as director of the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary and the director of the Women’s League Seminary Synagogue at JTS. She trains future hazzanim in prayer, nusah and religious leadership, and oversees the School’s curriculum development in Jewish education and teaching, pastoral care, and modern Israel. Cantor Abramson is helping JTS shape cantorial arts and practices for the 21st century. She received undergraduate degrees from the joint program of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, earned a master’s degree from Columbia University's Teachers College and received her cantorial training at JTS.
Cantor Abramson is a past president of the Cantors Assembly and was the first female president in the Assembly’s history. She serves on the board of the Zamir Choral Foundation and is a member of the Women Cantors Network. Cantor Abramson has performed at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, and with the Selah Vocal Ensemble, and the Rinat Choir in Israel. Before coming to JTS she served as cantor at the Park Avenue Synagogue and West End Synagogue in Manhattan and Congregation Sons of Israel in Westchester. She has taught at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York and directed the music program at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and in New England. A true product of the Conservative movement, she has been a cantor/scholar-in-residence in communities throughout the United States. Cantor Abramson has served on the staff of Song Leader Boot Camp and teaches every summer at the North American Jewish Choral Festival.
Cantor Abramson was raised in Milwaukee and her love of Jewish music was nurtured by Max Janowski in her synagogue’s choirs. She is married to Mitch Glenn. They have three children and one delightful grandson.
Suzanne Katz and Richie Friedman are the proud parents of Schechter Manhattan Middle School students Caleb (eighth grade) and Nathaniel (sixth grade), who began school there as kindergartners. Suzanne is the immediate past president of the Schechter Manhattan Board of Trustees, and continues to serve on the Board as a trustee and member of the Executive Committee. She is also a member of the Marketing Committee, which she previously co-chaired, and the Real Estate Committee. After graduating with Bachelor’s degrees from Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, Suzanne remained on the Upper West Side and became involved in the lay leadership of her synagogue, Congregation Shaare Zedek, eventually becoming the youngest ever and first woman to serve as its president. She subsequently obtained a Master of International Affairs from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She has served on and led Barnard alumnae groups dedicated to advancing women’s leadership in the workplace. In her professional life, Suzanne is a Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch.
Richie is currently the president of the Board of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, and has been an active Board member for over two decades. Beginning as a camper and then staff member, his longtime involvement with Camp includes co-founding the Ramah Berkshires Alumni Association, and starting the weekly Shabbat basketball pick-up game in Goat Park on the Upper West Side, which soon led to the formation of the Ramah Basketball Association. Like Suzanne, Richie is also a past president of Congregation Shaare Zedek (though neither the youngest nor the first male to serve in that capacity). A graduate of Brandeis University and Hofstra Law School, Richie is Senior Counsel and Agency Chief Contracting Officer at the New York City Law Department. He has served in senior advisory roles in numerous City and State agencies, including the Port Authority, the NYC Comptroller’s Office, and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.
Alumni Leadership Award
Ariel Kaminsky is a senior at Cornell University with a passion for working to make a difference in the world. Ariel graduated from Schechter Manhattan in 2011, where she learned the power of menshlichkeit and the importance of supporting the members of her community. Since graduating, she has continued to visit the Dorot senior she worked with as a Schechter Manhattan student, taught Karate to children, worked for two summers as a camp counselor at Camp Settoga, and led youth Torah services at B’nai Jeshurun.
At Cornell, Ariel is a Teaching Assistant (TA) in the Psychology Department, tutors university students at the Knight Institute for Writing, teaches off campus at a preschool for refugee children and is a second year as an engagement intern for Cornell Hillel. She was the Head of Engagement for the Jewish Greek Council, where she led events and initiatives, until she left campus to spend a semester abroad in Jerusalem. Ariel also taught at a Hebrew school in Ithaca, and privately tutored children from the school for two years. In her free time, Ariel loves attending campus events, especially those run by Hillel, as well as exploring Ithaca’s gorges and parks.
In the summer of 2018, Ariel worked at a non-profit organization in New York City called Community Access, which works with adults with mental health conditions. As a member of the health and wellness division, Ariel was responsible for running programs, leading fieldwork, and making connections with clients.
To quote Ariel, “Community service, menshlichkeit and Judaism are huge parts of my life. It is my goal to continue to make a difference and improve our society and I look forward to becoming more involved in the Jewish not-for-profit world, after I graduate from Cornell in May.”