Congregation Beth El welcomes new cantor

by | Oct 2, 2015 | Other News

Cantor Wendi Portman Fried joined Congregation Beth El on August 1 and has been in constant motion since her first day.

Cantor Wendi, as she is best known, most recently served the Congregation of Shaare Tefillah and the community of Olney, Md. for 10 years.

Originally from Houston, Texas, she was brought up through the Conservative movement. Being involved in the leadership of Kadima, USY, and her local synagogue Youth Chorale, Cantor Fried found a love and passion for Judaism and all forms of Jewish, Israeli and Sacred music. Love of Jewish music is engrained in her family as both of her parents and two siblings also sang in their synagogue choirs.

Fried is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a major in Middle Eastern Studies, and also spent a year on the USY NATIV program in Israel. Upon graduation, she launched her lifetime dream of becoming a cantor, graduating from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2004.

Fried and her Israeli husband, Giora (Gigi) Fried, have three boys, Nadav, 6, and nearly one-year-old twins, Rafi and Yoni.

Wherever she has been—college, camp, New York City, etc—Fried has involved herself in music. She also has been a frequent guest speaker and performer for Hadassah and Women’s League and serves on the executive board of The Cantor’s Assembly.

Fried brings a depth of experience creating programs to balance the needs of many generations with the use of traditional and modern approaches to prayer and spirituality. She has already established a choir at Beth El, coordinated a wonderful Selichot Service with the other area Conservative Synagogues, and has begun working with the B’nai Mitzvah students. In the future, she plans to hold classes in “Shabbat Skills” and to begin a “Yad Squad,” which will teach readers for all sacred texts.

“We feel very blessed to begin our next chapter here at Beth El and are very excited to be part of helping to bring ruach, joy, and music to our new community!” says Fried.

by Linda Samuels