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Cantor Kenney Ellis

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Cantor Kenny Ellis

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Kenny is a graduate of Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts and also holds a certificate of Hebrew Education from Gratz College. He made quite a name for himself by his performances at hundreds of social engagements, having worked at every major resort, hotel, country club, Jewish Community Center and synagogue in the New York-Philadelphia area. He also performed for chapter and regional functions of all the major Israeli and Jewish organizations and at several of their national conventions. Kenny was the producer and host of a weekly Israeli radio program in Philadelphia for five years called “Song of the Sabras.”

Upon realizing that there was more to life than Philadelphia, Kenny moved north to the “Big Apple”! In between classes and auditions for Broadway musicals, he was able to find time to appear at the Copacabana, The Improv, Catch a Rising Star, Cafe Finjan and La Difference, the Kosher French restaurant in the Roosevelt Hotel. He then branched out to the hotel circuits in the Catskills, the Poconos, Atlantic City and in Miami Beach. Kenny has made seven trips to Israel where he performed on Kol Yisrael - Israel National Radio and was enthusiastically received at many kibbutzim, nightclubs, hotels, and at army camps and hospitals.

Now residing on the West Coast, Kenny has performed for many J.C.C.’s, synagogues and organizations, including B’nai Brith, Israel Bonds, City of Hope, Hadassah, Na’amat, ORT, USY, Camp Ramah, Brandeis Bardin Institute, the Synagogue for the Performing Arts, and the Creative Arts Temple. Kenny has been the M.C. for the L.A. Jewish Festival for its last seven years and he has been the M.C. for the national CAJE (Conference for Alternatives in Jewish Education) conferences since 1992 He has appeared at the Improv, the Comedy Store, the Laugh Factory, the L.A. Caberet and in the musicals -“Company” by Stephen Sondheim at the Wilshire Ebell Theater, “Runthrough” at the Coast Playhouse and “Pure Broadway”, a musical revue of Broadway shows.

In addition to his live appearances, Kenny has made several radio and television commercials and was seen in the films “Saturday Night Fever”, “Voices”, and “Basic Training” and on television in “Kojak”, “The White Shadow”, “Buffalo Bill”, and in two syndicated children’s shows, “Nuts and Bolts” and “Comic Book Kids.” He’s also made appearances on “The Mike Douglas Show” and “The John Davidson Show” and has been seen on the “American Jewish Hour” many times. Kenny plays the part of “Shenanigans” in Linda Arnold’s World of Make Believe video for A&M. His Jewish radio show “A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That” was on KFOX for several years and he was frequently the guest host of “L’chayim” radio on KCSN. 

In recent years, Kenny has become very active in Jewish Education. He directed the video department at Camp Ramah in Ojai, California in the summer of ‘88 and returned in ‘89 to direct both the video and radio departments. In ‘91, he directed the video department at Camp JCA Shalom in Malibu. From 1988 until 1996, Kenny wrote and directed musical revues at the Valley Beth Shalom Day School in Encino. He performed children’s Jewish Holiday shows with Cindy Paley and with the Shpeiler Troupe from ’89 through ‘99. 

Kenny is the creator and director of the Jewish Media Workshop, a non-profit endeavor, which provides young adults with classes in “hands-on” television production which ultimately leads to “Teens on Video” (TOV), a local cable television show. The JMW's Jewish Video Network will soon begin distributing videos on Jewish themes made especially for today’s kids to Hebrew schools around the world. He also produced video and audio tapes for the My Jewish Discovery Place children’s museum in Los Angeles.

In addition to all of his performing, teaching and directing, Kenny is the Cantor at Temple Beth Haverim in Agoura Hills, CA. He and his wife, Laura, a classical flutist, have been married for nine years and are proud parents of their five year old son, Adam, their one year old son, Aaron and their cat “Punim”.

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