Cantor Shanna Zell believes in creating a warm, passionate, uplifting community to all seekers and lovers of Judaism. She loves crafting intentional worship with her clergy partners, overseeing the b'mitzvah program, and relishes every minute of singing with the youngest members of Gan Elohim. With roots as a singer/songwriter, Cantor Zell incorporates classic Americana into her worship while drawing upon the rich heritage of chazzanut and the robust canon of Jewish music.
She received her BA in both European Cultural Studies and English & American Literature from Brandeis University. Before embarking on her cantorial journey, Cantor Zell performed live shows with her pop-rock ensemble, Shanna & the Zellots, releasing one full length album (Hurricane Season, 2005) and one EP (Coming Undone, 2011).
She received her ordination from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music (HUC-JIR) in May 2017. Concurrent to her studies, Cantor Zell served as cantorial intern for Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She served as a member of the Worship Working Group and as student liaison to the Reform Movement’s Commission on Worship, Music and Religious Living. She was a Be Wise Fellow, working with the institution and classmates to digitize the Sacred Music Press. From 2014-2016 Shanna served as a UJA Federation PENS fellow, meeting monthly with other fellows to explore issues facing local and global Jewish communities as well as innovating for a bright Jewish future.
Cantor Zell upholds that one can find the sacred in all things secular, loves keeping her pulse on the underground music scene...and sushi. She lives with her husband Josh and their Golden Retriever, Toby in Natick, MA.