With the start of the 2022-23 school year upon us, we are highlighting members of the incoming class of students. Click here to see all of the articles in this series.
Today we’re talking with incoming Rabbinic student, and AJRCA alumna, Cantor Jessica Hutchings (’14).
Q1) Where do you live?
Henderson, NV (It’s a suburb of Las Vegas)
Q2) How did you first hear of AJRCA? (way back when)
I knew I wanted to go to Cantorial School, and had always thought that would be HUC in NYC, but when I was a Junior in my undergrad at Cal State Long Beach, Dr. Cantor Jonathan Friedmann, who was a Religious School teaching colleague of mine at the time, enrolled in Cantorial school at AJRCA. It was then that I learned that we had a place to study the cantorate on this coast. The school was small, and the reputation wasn’t quite established, but after meeting people like Cantor Anker and seeing the school (then located in the Hillel House at UCLA), and then meeting alum, Rabbi Yocheved Mintz (who I interned with for four years)… I had a good feeling that AJRCA would be a great fit for me, so I took a leap of faith.
Q3) What was it about AJRCA that drew you to enroll here? (this time around)
During the pandemic, I began to feel like my spiritual tool box needed a refresher… perhaps an enhancement or change. After much discussion with my clergy partner, the senior Rabbi, and a strong sense that I was being called to something, I decided to re-enroll at AJRCA and add the rabbinate to my clergy repertoire. While I did look into other seminaries, I knew it wouldn’t feel like home if I did not go back to where I started it all!
Q4) What were you doing prior to enrolling?
I have served as the Cantor, and now Senior Cantor, at Congregation Ner Tamid in Henderson (Las Vegas), NV since ordination in 2014. I am continuing at my pulpit full time while I embark on Rabbinic school.
Q5) As you embark on this experience, what are you most excited about?
I am the most excited about getting to learn from amazing professors, teachers, mentors, and colleagues who can impart their vast wisdom on me.
Welcome back Jessica!