Cantor Jodi Schechtman of Albany, NY, died on March 16, 2021 at her residence with her loving family by her side. Born in Brooklyn, NY, on February 10, 1958, Cantor was the daughter of the late Jacqueline and Ralph Schechtman. She grew up in River Edge, New Jersey and had a very happy and fulfilling childhood.
Cantor Schechtman graduated from Bucknell University in 1980 and earned a Master’s Degree and was Ordained as Cantor from Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in 1988. Cantor received an honorary doctorate from HUC-JIR in 2013.
She has many professional accomplishments, serving as Cantor of Temple Beth Am in Framingham, Massachusetts from 1988 to 2016 where she was the sole spiritual leader. She later served as Cantor of Congregation Beth Emeth of Albany from 2016 to 2020. Cantor Schechtman was a member of the Executive Board of the American Conference of Cantors since the year 2000, having been the Chair of the Development Committee and also Chair of the Joint Cantorial Placement Committee, and a member of the Strategic Planning & Visioning Committee. She was Senior Staff Member (in the role of Director of Organizational Partnerships) for the ACC Reform Movement from 2008 to 2018, playing and integral role in getting Cantor’s ordained rather than invested. Being a Reform Jew was integral to the very core of her being.
In 1988, she married Gene Laks. Cantor Jodi along with her husband, Gene, traveled to China in 1995 to adopt their daughter, Madison. Besides being a Cantor and a great mom, her greatest loves were animals and entertaining. She was never as happy as when she could set a beautiful table, prepare delicious food and make her guests feel special and pampered. Anyone who had ever spent a meal around her dining room table could feel the love. In addition to her passion for music, Cantor enjoyed playing piano, guitar, flute and violin She will be remembered for her love for teaching, cooking, baking, entertaining and her love for her family.
Cantor Schechtman is survived by her husband, Gene Laks, her daughter, Madison Laks and her siblings, Russell Schechtman (Alison Mickle) of Monroe, NY, Neal Schechtman (Jennifer Mazzola) of Emerson, New Jersey and Nancy Schechtman (the late Brian Rubendall) of Oakton, Virginia. She was the aunt of Ethan, Zachary, Jake, Jonah, Jude, Ruth, Robyn and Jarah.
Cantor Jodi had a happy, loving childhood, a career which brought her fulfillment and satisfaction, a long successful marriage, and extraordinary daughter, and dear, dear friends. She was always aware of her blessings.
Those wishing to virtually join the live stream service may do so by visiting the following link, https://video.ibm.com/channel/bethemethalbany
commencing at 12:30pm on Friday March 19th. 2021. For those unable to view the service at that particular time, please know the link will be active following the service on Friday.
Those wishing to remember Cantor Jodi in a special way may do so by making a contribution to the Cantor Jodi Schechtman Music Fund at Congregation Beth Emeth, 100 Academy Road, Albany, NY 12208 or an animal rescue fund of your choice.
To plant a tree in memory of Cantor Jodi Schechtman, please click here.