CICA - CANTORIAL INTERN PROGRAM OF THE CANTORS ASSEMBLY (updated June 2020)

The Cantors Assembly recognizes the need of reaching out to shlihei tzibur who do not qualify for membership in our organization when such individuals demonstrate that they are sincerely committed to this sacred calling. We elevate the Cantorate by increasing their knowledge and skills. The purpose of this initiative is to train and prepare such individuals so they can acquire the knowledge needed to pass our examinations for membership. At the same time, we will strengthen our organization with the infusion of additional new members. For these reasons, the Cantors Assembly has established the Cantorial Intern of the Cantors Assembly (CICA) program.

Who is Qualified to Participate and Apply for CICA?

1. One who did not graduate from a Cantorial school recognized by the Cantors Assembly; and
2. One who meets the “Requirements for Entrance into the CICA program” as listed below.

Requirements for Entrance into the CICA program 

  1. Graduation, with a four-year degree, from a recognized and accredited college or university
  2. Applicant must be at least 26 years of age
  3. A practicing Jew, who is shomer mitzvot, according to the standards of the Conservative movement. (If a convert, the conversion must meet such standards of the Conservative movement. If married, the spouse must be Jewish by the same standards.)
  4. Hebrew language reading fluency
  5. Background in music
  6. Minimum of two years in a full-time Cantorial position
  7. Inability to attend either in-person or online full-time classes at a recognized Cantorial school. Applicant must give convincing reasons and show cause why they are unable to enroll.
  8. Recommendations by three individuals

Application Process

Each CICA candidate shall submit an application that includes years of study, job experience, religious background and future goals, for review by the Membership Committee. In addition, an application fee is required, a signed CICA Applicant/Mentor Agreement and three letters of recommendation should be submitted with the completed application.  An applicant should also include his/her official transcripts which show degree earned and college or university attended.  These transcripts may also be used to grant exemptions for courses taken and passed, which correspond to specific sections of the Cantors Assembly Membership exam.  The Membership Committee shall review the applicant's packet and determine eligibility. If deemed eligible, the Membership Chair, or another member of the Membership Committee, shall interview the applicant. At this interview, the candidate will be tested to determine the basic level of proficiency in the following areas: Music Theory; Hebrew; Cantillation; Nusach and Davening Skills; and Jewish Music.

Determination of Admittance into the CICA program
Approval of a candidate for the CICA program shall be made by the Executive Council after a recommendation from the Membership Committee. The Code of Professional Conduct of the Cantors Assembly shall be applicable to participants in the CICA program.

Mentoring
To ensure a proper course of study and successful completion of the CICA program, each candidate must have a mentor and abide by the following guidelines:

Mentor Guidelines: For the CICA Intern and Mentor

  • Mentor must be a member of the Cantors Assembly and chosen from the list provided by the Membership chair.
  • Mentor must be in place, and the “CICA Applicant/Mentor Agreement” must be signed before a CICA Membership application will be accepted
  • Mentor will meet with the candidate prior to acceptance into the CICA program and create a framework for study, which must be submitted in writing to the Membership Committee before CICA applicant is recommended for participation in the program.
  • A mentor must sponsor the candidate.
  • The CICA participant, after acceptance into the program must plan to meet with his/her mentor on a regular basis, and the CICA participant should compensate the mentor at the current per hour rate, which is listed on the CICA Membership application.
  • Mentors will submit progress reports for their mentee to the Membership Chair on a quarterly basis
  • A CICA/Mentor relationship is an important and vital part of the CICA’s journey toward attaining full membership status in the Cantors Assembly and should not be taken lightly. In the event, circumstances arise that the CICA and mentor on record are unable to work together, the CICA participant must submit, in writing to the Membership Chair, a request to change mentors. After review of this request by the Membership Chair, in consultation with the Membership Committee, the Membership Chair will appoint a new mentor for the CICA participant
  • A mentor may allow his/her mentee to work with another individual on specific sections of the Cantors Assembly Membership exam or take online courses to meet the requirements of a specific exam section; however, this will be done only with the full knowledge of the mentor on record and the Membership Chair. If a CICA participant does not follow these procedures, the CICA participant is subject to dismissal from the program
  • A mentor may not serve as a proctor, or serve as an administer for any sections, Written or Oral, of the Cantors Assembly Membership exam

Study Requirements
The intern, in consultation with the mentor, shall review the exam syllabus and prepare a five-year course of study. The outline of study, as stated above, shall be submitted to the Membership Committee for approval. Each participant in the CICA program will be given five years in which to pass all components of the Cantors Assembly Membership Exam. If there are extenuating circumstances, due to illness, or the need to retake an exam section, the CICA participant may be granted an additional year to complete the program. The testing portion is divided between Written and Oral Exams. There are a total of 10 exams. Program participants shall be required to take at least one exam per year to retain their status as a CICA participant; however, to pass all the exams in a timely manner, the CICA participant, in consultation with their mentor, should plan on taking at least two exams per year. Failure to take at least one exam per year may result in that individual being dismissed from the CICA program. The Membership Committee, or another individual approved by the Membership Committee, shall proctor and/or administer the examinations. If the intern does not pass a section, he/she will have an opportunity to retake the exam within one year. This shall not cause a delay in taking the next exam. The intern must pass all components of the Membership Exam by no later than the end of the sixth year, after which he/she will be subject for dismissal from the program.

CICA Program Participants Rights and Privileges

CICA program participants shall enjoy all the rights, privileges and advantages of membership in the Cantors Assembly with the following modifications and/or exceptions:

  1. They shall not receive Hazzan status and commissioning and are not permitted to use the title of “Hazzan.”
  2. They shall be subject to dues and other assessments at the current rate.
  3. They are prohibited from directly, or by inference, representing themselves as full members of the Cantors Assembly. They may indicate that they are enrolled in the CICA program.
  4. If an intern does not ultimately fulfill the requirements for membership, it shall be up to the Membership Committee to notify the Executive Council, and the participant shall, without prejudice, be recommended for dismissal from the program.
  5. An intern shall not have voting privileges at the Annual Meeting but may attend.
  6. An intern shall not have Placement privileges through the Cantors Assembly until after they become full members of the Cantors Assembly.

With whom do I speak about CICA?
You may contact Hazzan Bruce Braun at 330-864-8533 ext. 202 or brucebraun@cantors.org

To access the syllabus for each of the exams click:   Written Exam or Oral Exam