Cantor Ben is not only an outstanding Bar Mitzvah officiant for our son but also an excellent teacher, coaching him throughout the preparation process. Our son was nervous, had no experience with Hebrew, and Ben built a solid relationship founded on trust. Our son loved his modern teaching style. He made the process feel manageable and most importantly, meaningful. The experience helped our son pause and reflect, as well as give back to his community. It was such a meaningful service facilitated by Cantor Ben. Our guest remarked on the warm, connection-rich service he prepared. It was a very special day thanks in large part to Cantor Ben!
Ben did a fantastic job preparing our children for and then delivering a wonderful B’Nai Mitzvah service. He has an uncanny ability to work with and motivate (pre) teens to do their best. The virtual lesson program saved us a ton of travel time, meeting exposure (during a pandemic), and was fun for the kids. I have already recommended and will continue to recommend Ben for your simcha
Brie, Steve and Nathan (student)
We wanted to thank you again for all of your coaching of Nathan over these months. The broad view of Jewish education was especially a great approach to ‘catching him up’ on time lost through COVID.
Specifically we want to extend our appreciation for what was a beautiful service. Even though we walked through it with you were not aware of your singing prowess and not expecting all of the additional messaging you added. It was genuine and sincere. Many commented that the whole event was very ‘organic’, ‘personal’ and the ‘way it really should be’ as opposed to in a large synagogue service.
If you need any references, we are more than happy to do so.
One again, thank you so very much!!
Brie, Steve, and Nathan
Ben uses a unique way of teaching that is both fun and helpful. He made learning a breeze for me!
I was very worried about learning my Bat Mitzvah as I could not read or speak Hebrew before I started my lessons. Cantor Ben was great, he helped me to learn and gave me confidence I needed to never give up . He is very patient and always made me feel that I could do it. I also liked that we could use shared online videos, emails and voice recordings as that is how I learn best. I was very nervous on the day, but Cantor Ben made me feel that I could do it. Thank you Cantor Ben.
Rabbi Steven Schwarzman
As a rabbi, I have had the privilege of working closely with Cantor Ben Silverberg. He is that rare combination of a patient and gentle teacher who knows the synagogue service like the back of his hand and how to work with bar and bat mitzvah kids of every ability and background to help them be their best on their big day.
His students and their families love working with him, because he makes it a point to work with them: starting at whatever point the child is in terms of prior knowledge and ability, he guides them with exceptional understanding to not just learn the mechanics of chanting Torah and Haftarah, but to learn the significance of becoming bar or bat mitzvah in today’s world.
And most important: he teaches, by natural example, how to be a mentsh, a lesson that is not lost on the children and families who work with him. I’m delighted to recommend him, just as I am delighted to know him.
Cantor Ben is an exceptional teacher with the right amount of patience, encouragement and structure to teach our daughter Jasmine her Bat Mitzvah. With one of the longest parashas of the Torah. Jasmine recited her portion clearly and accurately making her whole family proud. We are indebted to Cantor Ben for his time and dedication to making the most significant day of her Jewish life so perfect.
Cantor Ben taught my all three of my children their Bar Mitzvah lessons, and I can honestly say they never needed to be prodded to attend. When all of their big days arrived, they were all tremendously prepared and breezed through the morning. He even coached me to participate in my twins’ B’nai Mitzvah and that was probably his most remarkable achievement.
Sam & Susan (Marr)
It is with pleasure that we recommend Cantor Ben Silverberg as a Bar Mitzvah teacher. Cantor Ben tutored our youngest son Adam for his Bar Mitzvah. He is very pleasant, patient, kind and helpful and Adam learned his Parsha and Haftorah beautifully. Cantor Ben’s lessons prepared Adam fully for his Bar Mitzvah and we enjoyed listening to Adam practice daily after each lesson. On the day of his Bar Mitzvah, Adam stood proudly on the Bimah next to Cantor Ben and did a stellar job reciting his Torah portion. Working with Cantor Ben was a wonderful experience for our family.
Cantor Ben Silverberg prepared our son Eric for his Bar Mitzvah while we were members of Shaar Shalom Synagogue. Cantor Ben was patient and caring and used a teaching approach that ensured our was son ready.
Dr. Warren Fingrut
Internal Medicine Resident Physician, University of Toronto
I have known Cantor Ben Silverberg for over 22 years (since I was five years old). Over my life, he has been an inspiring and loved cantor in our community, an outstanding mentor for me, an inspiring teacher for me and my peers, and a phenomenal support for both me and my family.
Since I was a child, I have always been moved by Cantor Ben’s davening. I remember listening to him daven at the high holiday services at Shaar Shalom Synagogue in Toronto. At the time, I didn’t understand the meanings of the prayers, but his passion, style, and beautiful singing voice engaged me to participate and follow along, and introduced me to my love of Judaism as well as music and singing. My family has always greatly enjoyed and looked forward to his beautiful and skillful davening. He made the prayers and services especially meaningful, and I know that this feeling was shared by our entire congregation.
As a high school student, I participated in my synagogue’s chapter of the United Synagogue Youth (USY), and I served as chapter president. Cantor Ben led a monthly program on our calendar called “Torah with a Twist”, where he taught and led discussions on Judaism’s views on a range of issues that related to our age group. His sessions were the most popular on our chapter’s event calendar (despite competing with a host of social and other events!), and regularly attracted attendance of 15-30 Jewish youths in our community. I recall that I had never been so excited about learning Judaism. My peers felt the same way, and I remember everyone in the group always had their hands up, ready to contribute, ask questions, and learn together. Our chapter received an award at our regional spring Shabbaton for the success of this programming, an achievement which would not have been possible without Cantor Ben’s innovative and engaging Jewish teaching.
Cantor Ben also served as my Bar Mizvah tutor, meeting with me for weekly lessons to prepare. Ahead of my Bar Mitzvah, I knew very little about davening and about reading Torah. Cantor Ben taught me how to read Torah and Haftorah, including how to read the trops. I found my lessons with him to be so much fun. He practiced my sections with me and guided me to pronounce the words correctly, and with the right emphasis. He was patient, warm, and supportive throughout. Through our lessons, Cantor Ben realized I had an aptitude for music, and he encouraged me to develop it further. He taught me several duets, which we performed in front of our congregation at Shaar Shalom during Musaf services. He went on to teach me how to lead Shabbat Shacharit services as well. During my Bar Mitzvah I led Shacharit for my congregation. This was a really wonderful experience for me and my family, and it would not have been possible without to Cantor Ben’s instruction and guidance.
Following my Bar Mitzvah, my congregation invited me to lead Shabbat Shacharit Services, Haftorahs, and Torah regularly, and Cantor Ben was always there to help me prepare. Seeing my enthusiasm to learn more, and how receptive the congregation was to my participation, Cantor Ben taught me how to lead Rosh Hashanna Shacharit services – one of the same services that captivated me so many years ago as a child. I went on to lead these services for my synagogue, and continued to lead it annually for many years. Leading this high holiday service has been one of the most meaningful experiences in my life, and I was so excited and honoured to serve my community and apply the lessons that I had learned from Cantor Ben.
Cantor Ben’s support has also been instrumental in my professional life. Cantor Ben wrote me a letter of reference outlining my experiences leading services for the congregation, which helped me to secure an interview with University of British Columbia’s medical school. I went on to gain acceptance there and complete my medical training. He also supported my application for a Hillel Jewish leadership trip to Vienna, which allowed to develop important personal and professional skills. Overall, Cantor Ben’s mentorship over the years has had a strong impact on my personal growth and development, Jewish identity and sense of community, and professional development as well. I am deeply grateful to him for the important role he has played in my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him.
Cantor Ben has always been there for my family, too. He has been there for all of our simchas, sharing in our excitement. Our family was overjoyed as he led the Aufruf for my brother and his now wife, and he led my niece’s baby naming ceremony too. He was also there for the difficult times too, including the passing of a close family friend, where he offered us support and let our family know we were not alone. My family continues to think of him as one of the most important members of the community to us, and we have deeply valued his relationship over the years.
Overall, Cantor Ben has gone above and beyond as a phenomenal cantor, teacher, mentor, role model, community member, and support. He introduced me to Judaism, guided me to become a Bar Mitzvah, and mentored me to go on to lead high holiday services for my congregation. My family and I are lucky to have had him in our lives, and couldn’t have asked for a better cantor. I emphatically recommend him in the strongest possible way, and we wish him all the very best in his life too!