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The 9th Annual European Cantors Convention

took place from 10th - 14th July 2014 in Budapest, Hungary

View the Convention Programme
Read the Chief Rabbi's Message to the Convention

Go here for biogs of the participants
Go here for personal reflections

Budapest’s Rumbach Street Synagogue, unused for fifty years, burst into life again when the European Cantors Association (ECA) chose it as the venue for Shabbat services at their ninth Annual Cantors Convention earlier this month.

The octagonal unique Moorish Revival synagogue, designed in the 1870s by Viennese architect Otto Wagner, has an intricately patterned interior painted in Islamic style.  The last service on a Shabbat is believed to have been in approximately 1964, after which the shul fell into gradual disrepair.

The synagogue is owned by the Budapest Jewish Community, awaiting restoration. Its unique acoustics however made it the perfect setting for the services, led by various cantors and accompanied by the twenty-strong Jerusalem Cantors Choir conducted by Mancunian Paul Salter.

This year’s convention attracted some sixty cantors and their wives from all over the world and was led by renowned Chazzanim Asher Hainovitz of Jerusalem’s Yeshurun Synagogue and Yaakov Motzen of The Shul of Bal Harbour, Florida.  They took masterclasses and vocal techniques on this year’s theme – the High Holydays.

The cantors listened to a number of other talks, including Jerry Glanz, the son of late famous Chazzan Leib Glanz; Eric Moses from Toronto; Prague’s Rabbi Dr Michael Dushinsky; and Leeds cantor Yossi Saunders of Beth Hamidrash Hagadol Synagogue, who spoke on his experiences at the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute from which he graduated a few years ago, sponsored by the ECA’s Julian Klein Memorial Fund.

Cantors from all over Europe were joined by those from Israel and Canada over five days, and were hosted by the 80,000-strong Budapest Jewish community who in turn were treated to a Gala Concert at Bethlen Square Synagogue, where the chazzanim and choir demonstrated a wide repertoire to a packed synagogue.

The cantors also managed to fit in an afternoon tour of Jewish Budapest. This included a moving service at the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial.  This honours the 60,000 Jews killed by Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during WW2 who were ordered to remove their shoes and shot at the edge of the water, so their bodies fell into the river and were carried away.  Cantor Hainovitz recited the El Malei Rachamim prayer and Cantor Motzen sang Shir Hama’alotKaddish was also said.

The Cantors Convention was supported by the Jewish Music Institute and SOAS, University of London.  If you would like to know more about the European Cantors Association and its activities, please contact or see

Go here for biogs of the participants
Go here for personal reflections

This year's convention was organised and hosted by the Central and Eastern European branch of ECA headed by Rabbi/Cantor David Schwezoff and Cantor Laszlo Fekete.

Rabbi/Cantor Schwezoff said : I was delighted to welcome everyone to my beautiful city. We welcomed all the budding prayer leaders in emerging congregations in the region as well as our regular attenders both professional cantors and lay baal t’fila, who we hope enjoyed the new environment, the stimulating programme and the chance to visit this amazing city. Thank you for coming, we really enjoyed having you.

The European Cantors Convention is supported by the Jewish Music Institute, SOAS University of London, Bethlen Square Synagogue and others.

Updated 22nd July 2014