Cantor Clissold Welcomes YOU!

I grew up in South Orange-a child of artists Jo and Carol Jochnowitz. I began studying classical voice at age twelve and was active in Congregation Beth El. I loved religious school and went on a six-week trip to Israel at age sixteen. This opportunity profoundly influenced me.

I attended Columbia High School, UNC-Greensboro, and worked as a cantorial soloist in the reform congregation Temple Emanuel. From this work as a soloist, I realized I wanted to become a cantor. In 1994 I came to Monmouth Reform Temple as a substitute cantor before my formal studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and was ordained in 1998. I stood on the bima, and felt like my hair was blown back by the congregation’s active participation. On that Shabbat, I met Rabbi Priesand (now Rabbi Emerita) and lay people who are still involved in our temple. The genuine warmth and energetic worship style at MRT stand out in my memory.

When I joined the temple clergy team in 2002, I was delighted to find that the warmth I had experienced so many years earlier was still here – and so was the eagerness people had to learn more about Jewish music and its many eclectic styles. I cherish the freedom given me by the temple to introduce new music and programs, utilize the best of traditional and contemporary Jewish composers and technology, and create Shabbat experiences that are unique and joyful. I appreciate the willingness of the congregation to participate with enthusiasm and, when appropriate, just to listen and be touched by the beauty of our music. However, music is only part of what I do.

I am incredibly proud of some programs I helped develop and/or nurture:

  • Our strong participation at URJ Camps
  • Visual worship
  • Live Streaming and technology
  • Torah and Haftarah readers and service leaders
  • Our junior and senior Youth Groups
  • Preparation of all B’nai Mitzvah
  • Shir Chadash Band
  • Adult Purim Shpiel
  • Volunteer choir
  • Music and Hebrew teacher
  • Adult Education
  • Pastoral Care
  • Life Cycle Officiation

If you are interested in joining the choir or band-we are eager to welcome you! Our volunteer choir is composed of temple members who like to sing. It is always a joy to work with them and have them join me on the bima on MLK Shabbat, High Holy Days, and Thanksgiving.

Children at our temple meet me in religious school and at services. I teach all ages and am involved in every aspect of religious school. I enjoy working in class and one-on-one with our sixth and seventh-grade students as they prepare to become B’nai mitzvah. Teaching is one of the most exciting and satisfying parts of my work at MRT because I get to know each child and adult personally. Our students do a fantastic job; many stay on for confirmation and later return to chant Torah and haftarah at services. I take great pride in their accomplishments and look forward to continued participation in our choir, band, youth group, and Torah and Haftarah reading.

As one of the co-clergy at MRT I share in the pastoral care of our temple family. Being there for you and your loved ones is very precious as we walk through this life. Please know how much I care.

When you join our congregation, you will become part of a great jewel in Monmouth County. As I embark on my twenty-first year as your Cantor, I feel fortunate to be part of this community and grateful that my entire family is also part of our temple. Indeed, we consider the temple to be our extended family – and I am sure you will too! Please stop in, drop me a message or email me, I would love to meet you and hear your story.