A hazzan (ˈhɑːzən; χaˈzan, lit. Hazan) or chazzan ( ḥazzān, plural ḥazzānim; Yiddish khazn; Ladino Hasan) is a Jewish musician or precentor trained in the vocal arts who leads the congregation in songful prayer. In English, this prayer leader is often referred to as a cantor, a term also used in Christianity.
Sh'liaḥ tzibbur and the evolution of the hazzan
The person leading the congregation in public prayers is called the sh'liaḥ tzibbur (Hebrew for 'emissary of the congregation'). Jewish law restricts this role to adult Jews; among Orthodox Jews, it is restricted to males. In theory, any lay person can be a sh'liaḥ tzibbur; many synagogue-attending Jews will serve in this role from time to time, especially on weekdays or when having a Yartzeit. Someone with good Hebrew pronunciation is preferred. In practice, in synagogues without an official hazzan, those with the best voice and the most knowledge of the prayers serve most often.
As public worship was developed in t