Rachel Nelson became Senior Cantor Emerita of Temple Beth Am during summer 2021, following a 29-year career uplifting our congregants with her voice and original music.
A native Floridian, Rachelle is a cum laude graduate of the University of Miami in both music education and music theory composition. After graduation from the University of Miami in 1979, she continued on to Hebrew Union College/School of Sacred Music in New York City and graduated in 1984.
Cantor Nelson is the first female Cantor and graduate of Hebrew Union College to serve in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. She presently is celebrating her 28th year with Temple Beth Am. She is skilled in several instruments: voice, piano, flute and guitar. She has performed in concerts and workshops throughout the United States and Europe, and has taught Jewish Music history at the University of Miami.
She is highly recognized throughout the United States as a composer of Jewish music, with several compositions published by Transcontinental Music in New York City. She also has helped lead services for Shabbat evening, Shabbat morning and Havdalah services at URJ Biennials.
In 2005, Cantor Nelson was honored by the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science as a “Woman of Valor.” In Spring 2008, she was featured in the University of Miami’s alumni magazine in the article ”Cut from a Different Cloth.” In 2010 she was honored by the Jewish Museum of Florida with its Glass Ceiling Award. Most recently, Cantor Nelson created the Intrafaith Choir of South Dade, which consists of 35 singers from area synagogues throughout Miami. They have sung in major concerts in both synagogues and churches. On December 12, 2010 she was the featured soloist with the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami.
In June 2015, Cantor Nelson received her S’micha from the Rabbinical Academy in New York.
Cantor Nelson is an extremely proud mother of twin daughters, Leah and Rebecca.