Cantor Sally Neff was born and raised in Queens, NY. She grew up at Temple Israel of Jamaica, where she served as substitute and summer cantor during her teenage years. She completed a double degree program through Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Oberlin College, where she studied Vocal Performance and Judaic Studies earning honors in both. Her great love for Judaism, spirituality, and music lead her to pursue cantorial school rather than a career on the stage. She attended the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion School of Sacred Music, completing her degree in 2002, with a thesis entitled, “Music as Midrash: Music as a Language for the Creation and Communication of Meaning.” She has served congregations in Edison, New Jersey, Worcester, Massachusetts and is now in her twentieth year as cantor at The Reform Temple of Rockland.
Cantor Neff was proud to be a project editor for the URJ’s book The Art of Cantillation Vol II. and has recorded for several collections through Transcontinental Music Publications. Her first published piece of music, entitled Modim, can be found in the Shabbat Anthology Vol. IX. She has composed over twenty-five pieces of music.
Cantor Neff has performed throughout the United States, in Israel, and in Rome. She has sung chorally in Carnegie Hall under the direction of Robert Shaw, and has performed alongside many well-known cantors such as Alberto Mizrahi, Jacob and Fredda Mendelson, and Richard Botton. She has also had the honor of hosting and working with well known composers of Jewish and secular music, such as Ben Steinberg and Samuel Adler. Cantor Neff believes that music is the primary language of God, and through it people of all faiths can come together to work towards a better world.
Cantor: I found your link via Ravelry. Saw your name. Neff, Neff, I said to myself. Why do I know that name? Because I have known Brian Beal since 1980 or so, and Naomi since 1990. The pair met at my wedding. I have heard you are a wonderful Cantor with a beautiful voice AND YOU KNIT. Take a moment or two to peruse my blog…. there are some knitting projects on there. I hope to meet you one day.
By the way, I grew up in Worcester MA and was a member of Emanuel (and Sinai too).