Visiting Cantor Michael Kruk will join Rabbi Cookie Lea Olshein on the bimah at Temple Emanuel of Tempe starting with Erev Shabbat worship this Friday, September 23, at 6:30pm, and continuing with Rosh HaShanah, Erev Shabbat Shuvah, and Yom Kippur.

Cantor Michael Kruk was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in 1993 and is a member of the American Conference of Cantors.

TEOT President Karen Kahn said, “Retaining Cantor Kruk as our Visiting Cantor for the High Holy Days is one part of the musical mosaic we have in place this year at Temple Emanuel.  With a mix of tradition and modernity, he brings a level of worship and engagement we have never had the opportunity to experience at Temple Emanuel and we are excited to host him.”

Rabbi Olshein said, “Cantor Kruk and I worked together for five years in West Palm Beach, Florida.  In addition to his warmth and kindness, I am excited and honored to be working with such a learned and accomplished professional during this High Holy Days’ season.”

Cantor Kruk was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine.  He began his music studies at the age of six, attending music school for violin and piano.  He also completed vocal studies in a music college, and served in the Red Army Choir as a Soloist.

Unhappy with many years of prohibition and persecution, Cantor Kruk made aliyah to Israel where he continued his vocal studies at the Academy of Music of Tel Aviv University.  He later served in the Israeli Rabbinical Military Choir as a Soloist.

Cantor Kruk has performed leading operatic roles for the Israeli Rubin Opera Company, the National Radio and Television Orchestra, and Bronx Opera House, New York, as well as singing in many concerts and recitals throughout Israel and Russia. He represented Israel in the 10th International Vocal Competition held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In 1981, Cantor Kruk moved to the United States, where he continued to study voice at the Juilliard School – American Opera Center of New York.  Since graduation, he has sung at many concerts and performances in Israel, Canada, and United States.

In search of his Jewish identity and because of his love for cantorial music, he began a new phase in his vocal career in 1989, by becoming a student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Sacred Music.  He has served Reform congregations in New York, Florida, and New Jersey, before becoming Temple Emanuel of Tempe’s Visiting Cantor.

Cantor Kruk is married to Polina, who was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, who will be joining him in Arizona during the High Holy Days’ season.

RSVP links and more information about the High Holy Days at Temple Emanuel can be found at  RSVP links for this Friday’s special Erev Shabbat service welcoming Cantor Michael and Polina Kruk can be found at

Temple Emanuel of Tempe is the only full-service Reform Jewish congregation in the southeast Phoenix valley and is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism.  TEOT is located at 5801 S. Rural Road (approximately 1 mile south of US60, 2 miles east of I-10, and 2 miles west of SR101).  For more information, please call TEOT at (480) 838-1414 or visit TEOT’s website at


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