Hazzan Yehuda Abittan has been the Cantor at the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue since 1984. Born in Casablanca, Morocco, Hazzan Abittan moved to the United States as a teenager, and studied at the Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland, Ohio and in Chicago, Ilinois, earning a degree in rabbinical studies. He subsequently moved to Montreal in 1980.
As the Hazzan of the synagogue, he takes part in most life-cycle events, from birth onwards. He is a mohel, and presides over the Brit Milah services, he teaches bar and bat mitzvah lessons, and he officiates weddings. On a more regular basis, he conducts the choir, and recites the weekly Parashahs in the traditional Spanish and Portuguese style.
Beyond his usual duties at the synagogue, Hazzan Abittan is president of the Sephardic Association of Hazanim, and won le prix de la culture Sépharade in 2010 for his excellent work in keeping these traditions alive.
Hazzan Abittan taught at United Talmud Torah for 25 years, until the year 2000, where he decided to open the Beit Hamidrash Helwani as a part of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. This program teaches torah lessons twice a day, and discusses all manner of Judaism, including the Talmud, the Tanakh, Moussav (Jewish values), and occasionally delving into the Kaballah.