Beth Shalom of Whittier
Rabbi Kenneth Milhander, Hon DDiv
Hazzan Lance H Tapper, Hon DMus
Hazzan Lance H. Tapper was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He received his early music, Jewish, and secular training in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. He is a graduate of UCLA with degrees and advanced coursework in History, Art, Literature, Music, and Education. He studied the Cantorial art with Hazzan Carl Urstein z”l of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles. He studied voice with Hazzan Nathan Lam and Dan Balestrero of the San Francisco Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Hazzan Tapper currently serves as Spiritual Leader and Hazzan of Beth Shalom of Whittier. Prior to accepting the position at Beth Shalom, Hazzan Tapper served congregations in Fresno, San Jacinto, Bermuda Dunes, Downey, Simi Valley, and Tujunga, CA, in some cases both as Spiritual Leader and Hazzan.
Hazzan Tapper was elected to membership in the Cantors Assembly in 1987 and has served many posts within the organization. On a regional level he served the Cantors Assembly Western Region as Secretary, Vice-Chair, Chair, and Executive Vice-Chair. On a national level, he has served three times on the national Executive Council. He currently serves as a ranking member of the national Membership committee. He also serves as the co-chair of the national Convention Management Committee.
Hazzan Tapper has performed in and produced several major programs and concerts for his and other congregations, the Cantors Assembly, and the San Gabriel Valley and Orange County Jewish Federations. He has been invited over time to lecture on Jewish Musicological issues for Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, CA and the Pasadena Jewish Temple in Pasadena, CA among others. His areas of focus include the synagogue choral tradition, the organ in Jewish worship, the German synagogue traditions, Louis Lewandowski, Solomone Rossi, the Italian Jewish Rite, and Ancient Mesopotamian religion and culture. He is well known for his ability to teach Judaism and history through a lens of music and culture.
Hazzan Tapper was honored by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2022 when they conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa (Hon DMus) for his many years of service as a Hazzan in the
Rabbi Kenneth Milhander was born and raised in Los Angeles, growing up and later working at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills where his parents were married. He earned a BA in Sociology from UCLA, an MA in Jewish Studies from the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University), and an MA in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. Rabbi Milhander was ordained at HUC-JIR in 1995, and served congregations in Ohio and Ventura County before coming to Orange County in 2001 to serve the Fullerton Temple. From 2014-2023, he served a congregation part-time in Banning and began his affiliation with Beth Shalom of Whittier in 2019.
In 2014, Rabbi Milhander began a new professional chapter as a hospital and palliative care team chaplain for Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Center. In May 2020, Rabbi Milhander was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion to recognize 25 years of dedicated service to the Jewish community.
Rabbi Milhander’s “Kaddish for September 11th” prayer composed in 2002 on the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America has been used by Jewish and non-Jewish congregations and communities across the country. He has also written several articles that have appeared in national Jewish magazines.
Rabbi Milhander served as President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Fullerton Interfaith Ministerial Association and continues to serve his community as a chaplain with the Placentia and Fullerton Police Departments and an associate chaplain with the Orange County Fire Authority. He is also a board member and Treasurer of the Southern California Chaplains’ Association. Rabbi Milhander is dedicated and devoted to making the world a better place for all of God’s children.
Rabbi Milhander’s interests include sports, music, and genealogy. He lives in Orange County with his teacher/author wife Laura, and together they have two daughters and twin sons.