Rabbi Hazzan Gabrielle Pescador
I was raised in Windsor, Ontario and attended Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, a synagogue co-founded by my maternal great grandfather. Jewish tradition and religious practice were central to my upbringing, and that grounding has continued to inform my perspective on community, ethics and spiritual life through adulthood. After the passing of my beloved mother and father, I became particularly drawn to deepening my connection to Jewish community, as I was no longer able to celebrate holidays, rituals and life cycle events with my family. I responded to my grief by immersing myself in Jewish studies and ancestral wisdom, which eventually led me to enroll in rabbinic school at the ALEPH Ordination Program.
In the middle of my rabbinic studies, I became re-acquainted with Ashkenazi hazzanut, which called up beautiful memories of the soundscape of my childhood synagogue. But it was only after having the life-changing experience of serving as cantorial soloist for Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation in 2019, that I decided to enter the AOP’s cantorial program and become a double track rabbinic-cantorial student. I received smicha as a Hazzan in 2023.
I have had the opportunity to serve in leadership roles in recent years. This past July I stepped into the role of rabbi of the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation. Before that I served as Spiritual Leader of Temple B’nai Israel of Petoskey MI and as guest cantor in synagogues throughout the country. I also founded Pardes Hannah’s Rosh Chodesh minyan in 2018, which I led every month for four and a half years.
Around the time I began my rabbinic training I learned to play the harp and gradually started including the instrument in my service-leading. I consider the harp to be an instrument of healing because of its soothing sound quality and biblical resonance, and use it as a tool for heart opening and easing the pathway to religious experience and devekut.
I am committed to helping people find meaning through engaging in Jewish life. I see many pathways to meaning-making in Jewish tradition – through prayer and celebration of Shabbat and holidays, through the study of Torah, Jewish thought and Jewish history, through Jewish art and creative ritual, and through the many expressions of tikkun olam.
I am grateful to many people for supporting me on this journey. First and foremost, I want to thank my husband and life partner, Javier, who is my rock and constant source of love, encouragement and wisdom. I also want to thank my teachers and classmates, who have helped me to stretch my mind and heart, and expand my consciousness in all four worlds. And finally, I want to thank my mashpia, Reb Ori Har, for helping me to awaken to the role that the body plays in my spiritual development.