Sarah Sager, the first invested Cantor in our temple’s history, has served the community of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple since 1980. Serving three generations of congregants, Cantor Sager is most deeply proud of the enduring relationships she has built with Anshe Chesed families, symbolized by her devoted service to our families at times of need, and her spiritual leadership to numerous members at namings, B’nai Mitzvah and confirmation celebrations in successive generations.
Education is a primary value for Cantor Sager, both in sharing her gifts as a teacher to adults and kids of all ages, and as a continuing student herself in sacred music, secular and Judaic studies. A native of Illinois, Cantor Sager received Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude honors as an undergraduate at Brown University, and a Master’s Degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. At the time of her investiture by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, she was one of the first women in the world to hold the title of Cantor. Now she deeply enjoys partnering with numerous men and women who serve as Cantors and who share with her board leadership of the American Conference of Cantors. In addition, Cantor Sager was elected in 2012 to the Board of Governors at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.
In addition to her love of Jewish music and leading our temple’s children and adult choirs, one of the things that Cantor Sager brings to our clergy team is a tremendous joy in teaching and guiding adult students as a popular instructor in ongoing women’s Torah study, adult B’nai Mitzvah, religious school parent workshops and holiday lessons. Many congregations across North America have sought Cantor Sager as a visiting lecturer or scholar in residence
, where she shares insights on Judaism & Feminism, Jewish music and Torah learning.
Her stirring charge to the 1993 Biennial Convention of the Women of Reform Judaism in San Francisco, “Sarah’s Hidden Voice: Recovering and Discovering Women’s Spirituality,” resulted in WRJ undertaking the project of a transformative publication, The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (published in 2007), which has engendered feminist commentary and a growth in interpretations and scholarship. Cantor Sager “charged” the women of our Reform movement with the goal of “uncovering and recovering women’s voices from our tradition and enable women to interact freely with our sacred texts in the future.”
Cantor Sager has been honored for her contributions to the Jewish community and for her spiritual leadership by the State of Israel Bonds, and the Commission for Women’s Equality of the American Jewish Congress. She is proud to have served on movement-wide commissions on Synagogue Music and on Worship, Music and Religious Life.
Cantor Sager recently led a Fairmount Temple Mission Trip to Cuba with 31 of our congregants, creating memories of a lifetime. Click here to see PHOTOS! You can read more about the trip on Fairmount Temple’s blog, If Not Now, When?
She is the proud mother of a son and daughter.