Cantor Miriam Eskenasy brings her considerable gifts and knowledge as an ordained Cantor, musician, and teacher to the Jewish community. Born in Bucharest, Romania, to Zionist parents, Miriam immigrated to Israel when she was ten years old. It was there that she discovered her talent for languages, becoming fluent in Hebrew, French and English in addition to her native Romanian.
At sixteen, she and her family came to the United States. Miriam completed high school in Columbus, Ohio and resumed her French and music studies at Ohio State University. She graduated from Queens College of the City University of New York with a B.A. in Romance Languages, specializing in French literature and minoring in music. For the next twenty years, Miriam lived, worked, married and raised a family successfully in New York City.
Miriam continued singing and performing opera and eventually joined the Rottenberg Chorale, a Jewish choir in New York. During her ten-year involvement with the chorale, Miriam realized that singing Jewish music strengthened her own identity and passion leading her to choose it as her life’s work. In 1998, she was accepted at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York where she studied not only Jewish music in-depth but also Jewish history, philosophy, liturgy, Torah, biblical grammar and more. In 2002 Miriam was ordained as a Cantor. Her Master’s thesis focused on the music of the Sephardi community in Romania 19th and 20th centuries.
After serving congregations on the East Coast, Cantor Miriam came to Chicago, to become the Cantor of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in 2008. She has distinguished herself as a teacher of both children and adults always inspiring her congregants and students to deepen their understanding of God, Torah and Jewish music. Having retired from pulpit work, Miriam came to Portland Oregon in 2019 to be closer to her family.
In her spare time, Miriam enjoys the good company of family and friends especially her daughters, Carin and Erica and her grandson, Elias. She enjoys weaving, gardening, walking, and is passionate about opera and many other cultural opportunities, especially the Oregon Symphony!