Cantor Amanda Edmondson grew up in Roanoke, Virginia where there was a small Jewish community, being one of only eight Jews in her high school. Despite this, she was highly involved in Temple youth group as a founding member with her closest friends also being involved. Her rabbi at the time was one she greatly looked up to and encouraged Amanda to go to Kutz Camp, a Reform Jewish youth leadership camp in Warwick, New York. During her time spent embracing Judaism at camp and getting to know some cantors, she knew, at the age of 15, that she wanted to pursue the cantorate in the future. Having previously been involved in school choirs, in musical theater, and in Temple choir, music was already a love for Cantor Winter from a young age.
When it came time for college, Cantor Amanda attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics, with minors in both Music and Spanish. While there, she was involved in Hillel, and also became a religious school teacher and choir member at the Temple near campus. She was able to return to Kutz Camp as a staff member in the summer of 2005. Throughout the entire time in college, she was wholeheartedly committed to becoming a cantor—it just felt right, saying “I knew I loved music, I knew I loved to teach, and I knew I loved Judaism.”
When she graduated, the rabbi in Roanoke, who was Amanda’s mentor as a teenager, offered her a position at her home Temple. The job description included: cantorial soloist, B’nei Mitzvah tutor, office assistant, camp assistant director, junior youth group director, preschool teacher, and plenty of unnamed roles! When it was finally time to submit the application for cantorial school, she felt much better equipped and ready to begin the great journey ahead of her.
Cantor Amanda moved to Jerusalem in the summer of 2008, where she began her studies as a cantorial student. In the fall of 2009, she continued her studies in New York City until the spring of 2013. During that time in school, Cantor Winter held student pulpit positions in Bloomington, Illinois, Port Washington, New York, and Neponsit, New York. She also had the great opportunity to spend some time on senior staff for two summers at another Reform camp: Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, California. For the past three years she has been the full-time cantor at the Temple Congregation Shomer Emunim in Sylvania, Ohio. Cantor Amanda Winter made the difficult decision to leave this warm congregation, as she met the love of her life, Ted Edmondson. He and his family live in California, and Cantor Amanda and Ted are very happy to be living closer to them.