Cantor Wendi Fried
Fiterman B’nai Mitzvah Program & Ritual Director
Cantor Wendi Fried comes to Beth El from her previous position as Cantor in Beth El of Norfolk VA where she was for 7 years and Congregation Shaare Tefila in Olney, MD where she was the Cantor for 10 years. Cantor Wendi hails originally from Houston, Texas and was brought up through the Conservative movement. Being involved in the leadership of Kadima, USY, and her local synagogue Youth Chorale, she found a love and passion for Judaism and all forms of Jewish, Israeli and Sacred music.
She went to Israel on the Nativ program and then to the University of Texas in Austin for her Bachelors Degree were she was a member of the prestigious Longhorn Singers. Launching her lifetime dream of becoming a cantor, Wendi graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2004. Cantor Wendi has her musical roots in choral music and the joy of seeking out new harmonies and groups began in high school and continued through college and JTS. As staff at Ramah Wisconsin, she directed and founded the camp’s first acapella group called Ramah-keyla, which is still in existence today.
She was a member of the Zamir Chorale in Manhattan under the direction of Mati Lazar for four years performing in both Israel and the United States. Being a spiritual leader in today’s complex world is a challenge Cantor Wendi understands and addresses by balancing the needs of many generations with the use of traditional and modern approaches to prayer and spirituality. She has included this approach in her daily activities as well as special programs. She has formed adult and youth choirs for every congregation she has served which were involved not only in High Holidays, but throughout the year.
Some examples of innovative services she has created in the past include Shabbat Unplugged, Healing Through Havdalah, and Shul Lab. Other multigenerational programs include co-writing and directing congregational Purim Spiels, organizing interfaith concerts and services, presenting to our seniors during Lunch and Learn, and teaching in the Teen Midrashah.She is very involved on the regional and national levels in the Cantor’s Assembly where she has been on the Executive Council. She is now heading up an international project called SongSwap which is in its third year of bringing clergy and lay people alike closer to their davening experiences by exposing them to a cornicopia of Jewish spirtiual leaders sharing their best settings and melodies for all services. Cantor Wendi and her Israeli husband, Giora Fried, met and fell in love at Ramah Wisconsin and have three boys – Nadav and twins Rafael (Rafi) and Yonatan (Yoni).