Cantor Ilan Davidson has served Temple Beth El since 1995. The youngest in a long familial line of cantors, he began his training at the age of five with his mentor, Hazzan Philip Model z”l. With a strong performing arts background from the University of California, he is also a talented secular musician and contemporary Jewish singer and songwriter. He released his first album, Stained Glass, in 1995.
Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Cantor Davidson claims both the South Bay and Rishon LeZion, Israel, as his home. He brings his love of Israel into his work through pro-Israel activism and leading our congregational tours to Israel. These tours are distinguished by their focus on family, on interfaith aspects of Israeli life and showcase the many facets of this beautiful country. The goal of our congregational tours is to expand understanding of Israel from its role as the Jewish state to a state that is the home to many world religions, bringing the love of this country that Ilan learned from his father to generations to come.
In leading our congregational worship in partnership with our rabbi, Cantor Davidson incorporates traditional modes of Jewish prayer, along with contemporary Jewish songwriting, weaving a variety of musical genres through several devotional styles – traditional Shabbat service, musical Shabbat service, as well as healing and meditation services. This effort to integrate the full range of our tradition into the spiritual experiences of our congregation engages congregants that may have responded to just one kind of service. As Cantor Davidson often says, “I want to please everybody some of the time.”
Among Cantor Davidson’s responsibilities include coordination of the adult and youth choirs. He selects the music, rehearses the vocalists, and brings their full expression of prayer in song to our High Holidays services. To the delight of his students and the congregation, the choir’s repertoire incorporates contemporary Jewish music to enrich our musical Shabbat services, Hanukkah celebrations, and family Shabbat services. In addition, each spring Cantor Davidson takes the choir on tour to locales in the Western U.S.
Cantor Davidson teaches our B’nai Mitzvah students, helping them learn the art of Torah and Haftorah cantillation, preparing them to lead the community in prayer. Also, working with the Temple’s Torah School, Cantor Davidson nurtures his students from preschool to adulthood, instilling in our children love for the vibrancy of Judaism in their lives and a love for Jewish music. Currently, he is also the Youth Engagement Coordinator for the Temple. In this capacity he teaches love of Judaism through formal educational, youth programs, and his relationship with Camp Newman and other URJ camps.
Cantor Davidson is a consummate artist and a devoted social activist. Often these two passions combine in a beautiful way. Ilan takes his masterful art to the community; he has given concerts in Israel as well as throughout the United States. Performing sacred as well as secular music, from Bimah to Broadway, he shows the world how beautiful music warms hearts, stirs souls, and heals the world. In 2008 Cantor Davidson created a nonprofit organization, Kindred Spirits, a humanitarian foundation that has produced concerts and golf tournaments – events designed to raise awareness and funds for partnering aid organizations. Cantor Davidson is a past the president of the South Coast Interfaith Council and, in 2017, he was appointed Vice President of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations by Supervisor Janice Hahn.
In 2001 Cantor Davidson married his beautiful wife, Jodi. They are the proud parents of Jordan Rebecca and Zoe Lauren. It is in this loving and supportive family that Cantor Davidson finds the balance, joy, and help that are indispensable for the work that he does at Temple Beth El and in the broader San Pedro and Los Angeles communities.
Cantor Ilan may be reached by email at email@example.com.
Here you can listen and see Cantor Ilan performing:
Shabbat Koleinu 8-30-2019 On a very special Shabbat Koleinu we welcomed cantorial student and composer Josh Goldberg for an evening musical worship featuring some of his beautiful original compositions. Josh Goldberg is a singer, songwriter, producer and cantorial soloist. He has performed with Grammy-Award winning musicians Macy Gray, Lamont Dozier and Melissa Manchester, and toured […]
The “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin passed away August 16, 2018 at the age of 76. She was an incredible singer and performer whose Jewish ties may not be generally appreciated. It was American Jewish producer Jerry Wexler (1917–2008), born in the Bronx of Polish and German ancestry, who took Otis Redding’s original material, transformed […]
This musical Shabbat evening started with a BBQ dinner on the patio. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and veggie burgers were served up with all of the usual accouterments and then some. Afterwards, the first musical Shabbat at Temple Beth El San Pedro with our new interim Rabbi Douglas Kohn and our longtime Canor Ilan Davidson together […]
The last Friday night service of the calendar year 2017-2018 was a very special Shabbat Koleinu with visiting musician Rob Aronson, Cantor Ilan, and the Moody Jews band. It was an arousing and inspiring service of new music and sounds we all recognize from our traditional musical Shabbat’s but with a twist. Following the service […]
Here are some of Cantor’s articles that have appeared recently in the Kol Beit El:
In-Dependence Day Cantor Ilan Davidson firstname.lastname@example.org Every year on July 4, we, the United States of America, celebrate Independence Day. It wasn’t until my wedding day, 19 years ago, on the 4th of July, that I ever even started thinking of the meaning of Independence. And now, in 2020, I’m realizing this meaning even more. […]
Blessing of a Virtual Summer? Cantor Ilan Davidson email@example.com As I write this article, the sun is shining on a glorious Southern California spring day, my family is sleeping safely in their rooms, I’ve spent some wonderful time with friends and colleagues, and, while it’s virtual, our work at the Temple marches onward, serving the […]
Z’man Matan Torah, The Gift of Interpreting Torah Cantor Ilan Davidson firstname.lastname@example.org In ancient, more orthodox days of Judaism, when somebody wanted to understand what the Torah was teaching, they would ask the Rabbi. The Rabbi would then provide them “the” answer, and they would go home, satisfied (or perhaps not) that they were “told” […]
Music Speaks Louder Than Words Cantor Ilan Davidson email@example.com In 1983, Peter, Paul, & Mary recorded their song, Music Speaks Louder Than Words. In it, they professed that “it’s the only thing that the whole world listens to” and that “when you sing, people understand.” It never fails, when I visit somebody who is ill, […]
Four Mitzvah — No Waiting! Cantor Ilan Davidson firstname.lastname@example.org Every Jewish holiday is typically surrounded by customs, traditions, and mitzvot – commandments. Purim is no exception. On this festive holiday there are four mitzvot, or commandments that the Jewish people should fulfill. I know what you think they are – silliness, drunkenness, spieliness, and costumes! […]
Jewish Valentine’s Day? Cantor Ilan Davidson email@example.com As we enter into the month of February, it seems appropriate to discuss a little known holiday, the Jewish Valentine’s Day, Tu B’Av. Often, I’m asked if and how Jews celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s right up there with Halloween on everybody’s list of questions regarding whether or not […]