Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Cantor Bryce Megdal joins CRJ


Cantor Bryce Megdal

"Today is the day: The moment I (and many of you) have been waiting for! I begin my journey as the cantor of CRJ," posted newly hired Cantor Bryce Megdal in celebration of her first day on the job at Orlando's Congregation of Reform Judaism. While the cantor's interview process took place on video from her home in the Los Angeles area due to the ongoing corona virus pandemic, the Tucson native noted that she felt "right at home" with committee members and Rabbi Steven Engel leading the virtual tour. "While FaceTiming with the rabbi, I felt like I was meeting not only a colleague, but also a mentor who would help me grow. He seemed like he would be a wonderful bima partner." She also noted that Fred Schott, the Search Committee chair, was so warm and welcoming. He was one of the reasons she could see herself joining CRJ's community.

Megdal and husband, Marc Tanne, moved across the country in mid-June in preparation for her cantorial role at Central Florida's largest Reform synagogue, which began July 1.

With her first Shabbat service livestreamed from CRJ on July 3 to more than one thousand viewers worshipping from a safe distance at home, the cantor received a warm welcome from Rabbi Engel. His introductory remarks noted, "I am so delighted, so honored to be here on the bima with Cantor Bryce Megdal ... When things are tough, Judaism has an idea that we should look at all the blessings that surround us on each and every side. And tonight, we are blessed as the Congregation of Reform Judaism family officially welcomes our new cantor, Bryce Megdal."

Drawn to Jewish music since joining the Tucson Jewish Youth Choir in the fourth grade, Cantor Megdal's passion for Judaic music led her to a Bachelor of Arts in Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona. Since her other passion is photography, she also received a BA in Studio Art. A year later, she moved to Los Angeles to attend the Academy for the Jewish Religion California. In May 2015, she received a master's degree in Jewish Studies with an emphasis in Music in Jewish Life, and in August 2015, she transferred to the Cantorial program. She was ordained as a cantor in May 2019. Most recently, "Cantor Bryce" was a b'nai mitzvah teacher at Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Synagogue of the Pacific Palisades, a cantorial soloist at Hollywood Temple Beth El, and interned at Temple Akiba in Culver City and Valley Beth Shalom in Encino.

Cantor Megdal commented that she is musically versatile, capable of singing both traditional and modern Jewish music. Additionally, a self-described "Jewish music nerd," Cantor Megdal is always eager to learn new renditions of Jewish text, whether old or new. Her goal during every Shabbat service is to have a nice balance of the two. Moreover, she is a passionate writer and composer of Jewish music. She released an album, titled "Shine Forth," in 2016 and is ready to record another album of original Jewish music.

Cantor Megdal looks forward to a time when congregational seats can be filled again. "Starting a new position during this pandemic has been strange and has presented its challenges. But until it is safe for us all to be together in person, I plan to do all that I can to build relationships with my congregants through online discussions, emails, and sharing music. Rabbi Engel, the executive director, the rest of the staff, and many, many congregants have been so hospitable and supportive, for which I am tremendously grateful."

Cantor Megdal hopes to also connect with the broader Orlando Jewish community as well.

Cantor Bryce Megdal can be reached at bmegdal@crjorlando.org. Her website is http://www.brycemegdal.com.


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