Cantor David Presler of Temple Emeth, Delray Beach. (James D. Davis / September 2, 2011)

Cantor David Presler

Title: Cantor, Temple Emeth, Delray Beach.

Other job experience: Served as cantor at synagogues in New York for 28 years; former music teacher at New York City public schools.

Other community posts: Private voice teacher.

Education: Bachelor's and master's degrees in music, Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College, N.Y.; specialist certificate in Jewish educational leadership, Yeshiva University; doctoral candidate in Jewish education and administration, Yeshiva University.

Personal: 49.

Family: Married to Shira, an actress, singer and parttime cantor for High Holy Days. No children.


How did you get into your vocation?

I was having a conference with my dad and he said, "Why don't you become a cantor?" I started on my journey. It was really the only marketable skill I had.

If you couldn't be a cantor, what would you be?

A songleader, a dancer, maybe a pop star or a movie star. I keep the inner child alive. It ain't over yet.

Do you have an overall philosophy of ministry?

The clergy set the tone for the prayer and for the level on which people will open their hearts. Music is mystical and meant to be an inspiration. People get connected through the ancient melodies. If I'm focused on God, and on a really honest prayer, the congregants can tune in. God can be in the room, but the leader has to be the conduit.

How do you like to relax?

Swimming, nature, composing, good food, friends. And in a way, performing. It's a of a release.

What's your favorite cuisine?

I like soups. I would love to eat raw food, but it's not so easy to find raw food restaurants around.

Favorite pastime?