Site Search:

Using Personal Titles #12: Jewish Religious Titles, by Dennis Oliver


Using Personal Titles #12:
Jewish ReligiousTitles


There are also special titles used in the Jewish religion,
but not many that are common in the English-speaking
world. Here are the only two that are in general use:

In speaking,

for . . .   use this title:
a rabbi*  


Rabbi (surname)

a cantor*  


Cantor (surname)


In writing a letter,

for . . .   use this title:
a rabbi*   Rabbi (name)
a cantor*   Cantor (name)


In writing a letter,

for . . .   use this greeting:
a rabbi*  

Dear Rabbi:

Dear Rabbi (surname):

a cantor*   Dear Cantor (surname):



Special Notes:


A rabbi is not the same as a priest or minister.
A rabbi is considered a teacher of Jewish law,
not, primarily, someone who conducts ceremonies.

A cantor leads the congregation in singing
prayers in a synagogue or temple service--
or sings prayers that the people do not know.
Cantors have both musical and religious training.

2.   There are several subgroups within the Jewish
religion--Orthodox, Reform, Conservative,
and others. The practices and traditions within
each subgroup are different. In some Jewish
subgroups, for example, only men may hold the
office of rabbi, cantor, and so on, but in others,
women may also hold these offices. The title for
a woman rabbi or cantor is the same as for
a man: Rabbi or Cantor.
3.   Other titles are used in the Jewish religion, but
they are not commonly known or used outside
the religion. One of these terms is Tzaddik
(not used in many branches of Judaism)--a chief
rabbi with mystical powers. Another one is
Shammos--the caretaker of the temple or of
the synagogue.


Dave's ESL Cafe is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Banner Advertising | Bookstore / Alta Books | FAQs | Articles | Interview with Dave
Copyright 1995-2007 Dave's ESL Cafe | All Rights Reserved | Contact Dave's ESL Cafe | Site Map