Cantor Annelise Ocanto-Romo is proud of her Latino and Sephardic heritage. Both of her parents grew up in Venezuela but did not fully embrace Judaism until after coming to the United States to study.
As a child, Cantor Ocanto-Romo identified strongly as both a Jew and a Latina. However, she did not realize how the two could intertwine or coexist. Hebrew school, Friday night dinners, and services were a major part of her life, but she could not see beyond her Jewish world. It was a visit to her home congregation in Omaha, Nebraska by Cantor Gaston Bogolmoni of Argentina that opened her mind. For the first time, she saw how music could bring together all the various aspects of her identity.
Canto Ocanto-Romo began her career as an elementary school teacher and brings her passion for education and serving families with young children to her work at Ohev Shalom of Bucks County (Richboro, PA). In the video below, she shares the Sephardic version of the order of the Passover Seder, which is sung at the start of the ritual meal to remind us of the order (“seder” in Hebrew) of the rituals. Feel free to add it to your Passover repertoire!