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Cantor Michael Kasper


Cantor Michael Kasper serves as Dean of Cantorial Studies and Student Life at AJR. Michael was born in Newark and raised in West Orange, NJ.  The great grandson of a Hassidic Rebbe from Odessa, he grew up playing the trumpet and drums and found dance in a phys-ed class in college after working all through high school as an accompanist at the New Jersey Ballet.  His career has taken him from New York City’s modern dance world, where he moved after having won a National Society of Arts and Letters Choreographer’s Competition, to private practice as a psychoanalyst, and finally to the cantorate.  Along the way he worked with several major choreographers and directed his own dance company for ten years, having toured the United States and Israel as a performing dancer.  He spent a year as Artist in Residence at George Mason University and taught in Hunter College’s Post Masters Program in Clinical Social Work.  Michael was ordained by AJR, led Congregation Sons of Israel-Nyack as its hazzan, and retired from the pulpit in 2019.  He joined the Academy in 2014 and feels honored and humbled to have the opportunity of being the Dean of both the Cantorial School and of Student Life.

Senior Lecturer, Full-Time, Professional Skills


Hazzan, Academy for Jewish Religion; M.A. in Jewish Studies, Gratz College; B.S. in Dance Education, George Washington University; M.S.W. in Clinical Social Work, NYU; Psychoanalytic Certification from the New York Center for Psychoanalytic Training


Michael is the author of “The Language of Love” in Controversies On Countertransference; “Light and Peace in our Daily Liturgical Declarations” in Ra’u Or: Essays in Honor of Dr. Ora Horn Prouser; co-author, with Ora Horn Prouser and Ayal Prouser, Circus Texts/Sacred Arts: Bodily Arts as a means of Studying Sacred Texts.