How To Become a Cantor – Cantor Sherwood Goffin

A talk by Cantor Sherwood Goffin of the famed Lincoln Square Synagogue on Cantors, cantorial music and how to be a successful career cantor.


The Chazzan of The famed Lincoln Square Synagogue on Manhattan’s West Side since its founding in 1965. For almost four decades, he was one of America’s first and foremost artists in the world of contemporary Jewish music at concert venues throughout the USA and Canada, producing six successful record albums during that time. At 27 years of National Conventions of NCSY and at numerous youth and adult events across the country he popularized many songs that we all sing today, including: the “Ets Chaim Hi” we sing on Shabbat in shul, “The Little Bird”, “Keitsad M’rakdim” to “L’cha Dodi”, and many Bostoner Niggunim.

Sherwood Goffin was the first to introduce the niggunim of the Bostoner Rebbe of Brooklyn, with whom he spent almost every Shabbat in his teenage years. As a result, some of those niggunim, such as Hatov, Ma Naavu, Meheira, have become classics. He was also the “Voice of Soviet Jewry”, singing rally songs such as “Kachol V’lavan” at every Soviet Jewry rally from 1964 to 1991 before the UN and elsewhere. In 1995 he voluntarily “retired” from the stage to enter the academic world as Coordinator of Outreach of the Belz School of Jewish Music at Yeshiva University, where he teaches and has taught college-level classes in Jewish Liturgy and Folk Music since 1987. He is the Honorary/Past President of the Cantorial Council of America, the only Orthodox organization of cantors in the world, an affiliate of Yeshiva University. Cantor Goffin is recognized as an expert who has written extensively about Nusach Hatefillah, as well as on the utilization of congregational melodies for tefilla, and lectures widely on the subject at venues all over the USA.

Part 1

Part 2

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