From Turntables to Temple: Meet St. Louis Park's DJ/Cantor

Cantor Yossi Ben Harush, DJ Yossi Ben Harush, bar mitzvah dj, bat mitzvah dj, cantor, Sephardi Minyan - Shaarei Rahamim
Cantor and DJ Yossi Ben Harush brings music to St. Louis Park.
Cantor Yossi Ben Harush views his work as a spiritual mission.

Yossi Ben Harush isn’t your average DJ. While he does spend time spinning tunes at parties, he reserves part of his weekends to observe Shabbat—the Jewish day of rest. When he’s not helping people get down on their big day, whether it be their wedding or bar or bat mitzvah, Ben Harush is a cantor for the Sephardi Minyan - Shaarei Rahamim congregation in St. Louis Park. While Ben Harush is able to split his time between the two worlds, he finds a connection between the two paths to create a life that’s truly fulfilling.

“It elevates me spiritually,” Ben Harush says of his work in the synagogue. “It makes me feel very good.” Ben Harush knew that he wanted to be a cantor after seeing his father practice the same art as a child. Growing up in Haifa, Israel, Ben Harush was inspired by seeing his father read the Torah and lead prayer in his own synagogue.

“All of my studying was due to him,” says Ben Harush. “I feel like I’m continuing [my father’s] tradition.”

When not leading prayer at his synagogue or at his job as a production planner at Flint Group in Rogers, Ben Harush fills his time by serving as a DJ for weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs in the area, mainly serving St. Louis Park. He started providing the soundtracks to people’s major life events after a friend asked him to sing at their wedding.

Playing keyboards and occasionally drums, Ben Harush brings a unique sound and style to events in his community. “What brings me the most pleasure is to make people happy on one of the best days of their life,” he says. “I feel like I’m a part of something very special.”

One of the things Ben Harush is most proud of about his work as a DJ for bar and bat mitzvahs is that he’s encouraged families to get back in touch with the traditional aspects of the ceremony.

Ben Harush hopes to inspire the younger generation to become more involved in the Jewish community through his work as a cantor. “[It’s] a huge responsibility,” he says. “Only so many people have the privilege to do this. To have the opportunity to make a blessing for sick people, for parents, for siblings that have been lost ... all of these opportunities have been very fulfilling. I’m fulfilling my father’s legacy.”

From walking with his father as a young child to Shabbat to leading prayer services with his own voice to hand-selecting the music people will remember for the rest of their lives, Ben Harush understands the impact he has in the St. Louis Park community and is happy to be of service. “I’m not looking at it as a job. I’m looking at it as a mission,” says Ben Harush.