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Hi I’m Jenna McMillan

5th Year Cantorial Student
Masters in Sacred Music '21

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About Me

Hello everyone! My name is Jenna McMillan and I am quickly approaching Cantorial ordination as I am completing my 5th year at the DFSSM, Hebrew Union College: Jewish Institute of Religion. On this website you'll be able to find my resume, sound files I have recorded, videos of myself leading at Central Synagogue, my vision statement, and more. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read through what is here, and I am so looking forward to hearing from you!
I grew up in SE Michigan, attending religious school, singing in the teen choir, and leading services as a soloist at Temple Israel of West Bloomfield, which is where I fell in love with Jewish Music and the cantorate. I grew up very involved in choir, musicals, and participated in solo and ensemble festivals to further my passion for music. I continued my education at University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, where I completed a dual degree in Judaic Studies and Anthropology. Throughout undergraduate, I still volunteered my time at my home synagogue, leading Shabbat services and shiva minyanim. In my senior year, it became clear to me that my next step would be applying to HUC. Since then, I have been learning and growing each year in my cantorial studies, interning in Glen Cove, NY for two years, and Central Synagogue for my final two years of school.

Home: Bio

Experience

What I’ve Done

September 2020-present

Cantorial Intern, Central Synagogue

In my time at central, I have led Shabbat services, 20s and 30s Shabbatot, Mishkan services, B'nei mitzvah services, tot Shabbat,  shivas, as well as taught Hebrew classes, tefilah for K-6, and tutoring.

August 2018-August 2020

Cantorial Intern, North Country Reform Temple

In my time at NCRT, I co-led services with Rabbi Janet Liss, in the sanctuary pre-pandemic and online after. I co-officiated occasional lifecycle events such as B'nei mitzvah and funerals, and created my own virtual Shabbat programming in the summer of 2020.

August 2018-August 2020

Before becoming a cantorial intern at Central, I tutored several nights a week, taught Hebrew and co-led a 6th grade class, and two nights a week I led tefilah for K-6.

B'nei Mitzvah Tutor, Hebrew Teacher, Tefilah Leader, Central Synagogue

Home: Experience

Academic Experience

My Studies

July 2017-May 2022

Cantorial Ordination, Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion

I will become an ordained cantor in May of 2022 after 5 years of intense study of Jewish music, Jewish liturgy, and of Torah. In 5 years, I have developed greatly as a Jewish professional, as a musician, and as a leader.

August 2013-May 2017

Bachelor Degree in Anthropology, Bachelor Degree in Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

I received two degrees from the University of Michigan, seeking to expand my knowledge of Judaism and to also deepen my cultural awareness and sensitivity through anthropology.

May 2021-August 2021

Clincial Pastoral Education, NYP Columbia Hospital

I volunteered at New York Presbyterian Hospital as a Multi-faith chaplain, completing 400 hours of clinicals and instruction as I deepened my pastoral skills and provided comfort through song and prayer.

Home: Education

Skills

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Piano Player

Cantillation

Proficient in torah, haftarah, high holy day, eicha, song of songs, megillat ruth and megillat esther trope.

Working with Youth

I have years of experience teaching a variety of subjects to young students from preschool age to high school. My experience teaching Hebrew, Judaic studies, tefilah, music, and torah trope all contribute to this skill.

Working with a Volunteer Choir 

At North Country Reform Temple, I was tasked with leading the High Holy Day choir for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, leading our choir rehearsals, warming them up, and making sure we stayed on task in order to prepare us to the greatest extent.

Working with an Accompanist and Band

At both my student pulpits, I had to coordinate the worship music with a music director with whom I had to cultivate a relationship, building trust and working together to rehearse and prepare for services. At Central, I have learned how to lead a rehearsal with a robust band including quartet, woodwinds, bass, drums, and more.

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Torah
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Working as Part of a Clergy Team

At my first pulpit, I worked one-on-one with Rabbi Liss, working as a team to plan and lead services together. I am also accustomed to being a part of a larger team after leading at Central, learning to work with the different leadership styles of multiple rabbis and cantors.

Liturgy

Through my education at HUC and my time at my pulpits, I am proficient in all our liturgy, including Shabbat evening, morning, weekday, mincha, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and festival liturgy.

Pastoral Care

Through my 11 week unit at New York Presbyterian, I acquired tools and skills related to pastoral care, particularly visiting patients waiting for transplants and women who are postpartum.

Nusach

I am proficient in nusach for Shabbat evening and morning, weekday morning and evening, mincha, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and festival.

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Interfaith Work

At both of my pulpits, I was a part of community interfaith events and worship, including interfaith thanksgiving and passover services with surrounding churches, working with diverse faith leaders and local politicians to improve community connections.

Guitar

Starting from no knowledge prior to cantorial school, I used my guitar lessons at HUC and my various songleading jobs to further my guitar skills. Now, I am confidently leading services with guitar, flat picking as well as finger picking for more contemplative moments.

Working at Jewish Summer Camps

For two summers in a row, I worked at JCC Day Camps, in Detroit one summer, and Manhattan the next. I was a Judaics specialist as well as a Music specialist, and was able to lead campwide shabbat programming for the campers.

Home: Skills

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”

Kahlil Gibran

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Home: Quote
Home: Music Player

“Hayashan yitchadeish v’hechadash yitkadeish – The old shall become new and the new shall become holy.”

Rav Kook

Home: Quote
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Home: Selected Work

Contact

2489128178

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