about CANTOR LAURA STEIN, LMSW
My work is dedicated to helping others find wholeness in their mental health and spiritual practice. My approach draws upon past experiences, professional training and personal passion and is non-judgmental and balanced at its core. Here’s a bit more of how I arrived here:
I arrived at the cantorate by way of a Reform Jewish upbringing in a vibrant Jewish community in Scarsdale, New York. As a child, I was drawn to the accessibility of Jewish music, which shapes our calendar, guides us through lifecycles and provides context for prayer.
Community has always been a crucial part of my connection to Judaism and today I feel at home in Jewish spaces that pride themselves on progressive interpretation of Jewish living and that encourage me to embody my identity and show up with my whole self. I knew I wanted to be a cantor while I was preparing to become Bat Mitzvah and I always knew that my own goals were to create similar spaces within which others could live Jewishly and as themselves.
I spent my college years studying Spanish Literature at Washington University in St. Louis and trying to understand my place in the world. I've lived in Iceland, Chile, Tanzania, Peru and Israel and I bring everything I gained from my adventures into my work - (especially a fun and wandering spirit and an appreciation for hiking!).
Throughout my various educational and extra-curricular experiences within the Jewish world, I have served as cantor and educator in camps and classrooms, at informal retreats, in hospital and nursing/rehabilitation facilities and in Jewish communal service. With a guitar or an organ as accompaniment, sitting around a campfire or in a large performance hall, I am comfortable facilitating Jewish ritual that is right for the occasion and that helps to create a sense of community that is comfortable for everyone in attendance.
In addition to holding a Master of Sacred Music and Cantorial Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature from WashU, I also hold a Master of Social Work from New York University. As a licensed social worker, I am deeply passionate about social justice as well as individual healing in an effort to repair the world.
My experiences as a social worker and LGBTQ-focused therapist inform my work to make me a more compassionate and strengths-based clinician and cantor. I approach each of my congregants and clients with a desire to learn what makes them unique. There’s never a concern too minor, an issue too urgent or a celebration too small. I am here for you.