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Musicians

Catch live performances, dance to, and meet the hottest musicians in the contemporary Jewish music scene (list in formation)

A composer, multi-instrumentalist, prayer leader, and recording artist, Elana inspires communities across the country with her soulful songwriting and spirit. Her work has been included in many Transcontinental Music publications, including both the Ruach and Shabbat Anthology series, and her compositions are sung in synagogues, summer camps, and spiritual communities throughout the world. 

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Nefesh Mountain is the place where American Bluegrass and Old-time music meet with Jewish Heritage and tradition. Band leaders, genre-pioneers, and husband and wife Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg are the heart of this eclectic offering, and share their love for American music, their own cultural heritage, and each other with audiences throughout the world.

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Rick Recht is one of the top touring musicians in Jewish music playing over 150 dates each year in the US and abroad.  Rick has revolutionized and elevated the genre of Jewish rock music as a powerful and effective tool for developing Jewish pride and identity in youth and adults across the US. 

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There's a reason why Time.com listed Michelle in their Top Ten list of Jewish rock stars. Michelle is best known as a pioneer of celebrating Jewish culture on YouTube with viral videos reaching millions of hits. From deeply introspective moments of prayer to encouraging conga lines down the aisles, Michelle enjoys “taking what’s old and making it new and holy” with her innovative Shabbat residency program, “Eat.Pray.Sing.”

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Cantor Ellen Dreskin (HUC-JIR ’86) is a teacher, coach, and consultant in the areas of liturgy, ritual, and contemporary, innovative communal worship and deepening prayer practice. She teaches and serves as Artist/ Scholar-in-Residence at congregations across the country, and is also proud to have taught for many years at HUC-JIR, SongLeader Boot Camp, Hava Nashira, Shabbat Shira, URJ Kutz Camp, the JCCA Sheva Center, and online for the URJ.   

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Billy Jonas’ initiative “Bridging Divides” uses rhythm and song to heal divisions within ourselves, families, communities, and world. A songsmith, multi-instrumentalist, Jewish educator, and multi-faith advocate, he has captivated audiences worldwide since 1987. He currently tours with “The Billy Jonas Band,” and with the Muslim/ Christian/ Jewish super-trio, “Abraham Jam”. When home, Billy is a cantorial soloist at Congregation Beth Ha Tephila in Asheville, NC.

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Rabbi Noam Katz has been one of the most influential voices in contemporary Jewish music over the past two decades.  From the meditative "Layehudim" to his African-infused "Am Yisrael Chai", his music is sung widely at schools, camps, and congregations around the globe.  Noam serves on the faculty of Hava Nashira, Shabbat Shira, and FJC's Cornerstone seminar.  He works full-time as the Dean of Jewish Living at The Leo Baeck Day School in Toronto, Canada. 

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Daniel Cainer is a multi-award-winning songwriter, storyteller, performer, and broadcaster based in London. He tours his ever-evolving, Jewish themed, one-person-show of unique stories-in-song around the world in theatres (including three off-Broadway runs), temples, JCCs and anywhere else that will have him. His music features brilliant rhyming and wordplay, great musicianship, and haunting tunes you won’t forget.

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Jacob “Spike” Kraus is a 28 year old singer/songwriter, educator & innovator from Boston, Ma with two albums of original Jewish music. Jacob currently serves as the Artist in Residence at Temple Israel of West Bloomfield, Michigan. His music has been included in the cantorial curriculum of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, and is featured by Jewish Rock Radio & PJ Library.

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Ahavat Hinam is a supergroup of Jewish educators and musicians Max Jared (Dallas TX, USA) and shannyn.art (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) who create sacred moments using music inspired by Judaism, pop, rock, love, and social action. Max graduated from HUC-JIR with a masters in Jewish Education in 2016 and Shannyn completed her Bachelors of Education (Primary) in 2018. They have just launched their debut album, Oconomowoc!

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Mah Tovu is Rabbi Ken Chasen and Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback. For more than two decades, their original, contemporary Jewish music has been sung in synagogues, schools, and Jewish summer camps throughout North America, Europe and Israel. They will celebrate the release of their fourth full-length CD at this year’s URJ Biennial. 

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Known for his unique, engaging, and deeply soulful approach, Noah Aronson is considered one of the most sought after Jewish musicians in North America, making over 65 community appearances each year. Music from Noah's albums are sung in progressive communities and summer camps worldwide and have been included as part of the curricula in all of the major progressive cantorial schools in the US.

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Hadar and Sheldon is the brand new crossover collaboration of NYC based husband and wife duo Sheldon Low and Hadar Orshalimy. The couple first met at Hava Nashira in 2001 when Hadar was sent as a shlichah to summer camp in the US while serving as a nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare defense trainer in the IDF and Sheldon was on his way to becoming a mechanical engineer. Their single "Body Is A Temple" was featured on the Ruach 5779 compilation album. 

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Joe Black is Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Denver, CO. He also is an author and a poet. His most recent book is There Once Was A Man From Canaan: The Five Books of Limerick. Rabbi Black has performed his music around the world.  He is known for his guitar virtuosity, soaring voice and lyrics that are at the same time, funny, inspirational and thought provoking.  His music is an extension of his Rabbinate.  

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Shimon Smith is the Songleader / Cantorial Soloists at The Daniel Centers for Reform Judaism in Tel Aviv leading musical services and teaching Bar Bat Mitzvah students. Head of music for Tlamim, the IMPJ's young adults. Songleader for JAFI Summer camp Shaliach program. Host of “The Best in Israeli Rock” on Jewish Rock Radio. Made Aliya when he was 6. IDF Captain in the reserves. Dubbed “Scar” in Hebrew, Lion King, 2019.

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Julie Silver is one of the most celebrated and beloved performers in the world of contemporary Jewish music today. She tours throughout the world, engaging audiences with her gorgeous compositions and liturgical settings, her lyrical guitar playing, her dynamic stage presence, and her megawatt smile for over 25 years.

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Ellen Allard, award-winning performer, workshop presenter, composer & music coach, is one of the most influential musicians and early childhood educators on today’s Jewish music scene. Strongly committed to building community through music, Ellen has a charming & heartwarming way of engaging audiences in playful song. 

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Through meaningful music, powerful prayer, excellent education, and creative consulting, Eliana works with Jewish communities worldwide to unlock the wonders of our sacred heritage. She is the founder and director of the G!D Project, an educational initiative focused on accessible, meaningful conversations about G!D and spirituality through ritual, text, and creative expression.

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Beth Schafer has performing contemporary Jewish music for over 2 decades. Whether as a featured performer at national gatherings or leading an intimate service, Beth helps people find the Jewish soundtrack to their lives. She produced the URJ show 100 Years of Women in Reform Judaism and was the co-founder of Harmony in Unison, an online virtual stage bringing live Jewish music to its 14,000+ members. 

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Originally from Jerusalem, Mattan is winner of the 1st prize in the 2018 international ‘7 Virtual Jazz Club Web Community Award’! His original compositions have also earned him awards such as the John Lennon songwriting contest, and the USA Songwriting competition. In 2016 he was a featured soloist with the UK Jazz Flute Big Band, his music and arrangements were performed at the London Jazz Festival. 

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Laurie Akers is a soprano, multi-instrumentalist, cantorial soloist and composer. Laurie’s music can be found in numerous publications including the Shabbat Anthology IX, Chazak V’Ematz, and Nigun Anthology III. Laurie is the host of the Jewish Rock Radio Chicago Sings series. She proudly serves as the cantorial soloist at Congregation Or Shalom in Vernon Hills, IL. Laurie recently released her first album, The Key of We. 

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Josh Goldberg is a musician, producer, and cantorial soloist in Los Angeles, California. After graduating from University of Southern California, Josh released an album of Jewish music called ONE and he has performed with Grammy winning musicians Macy Gray and Melissa Manchester as well as  with renowned Jewish musicians Craig Taubman, Rick Recht, Danny Maseng, Noam Katz as well as with his own band. 

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Dan is a product of the URJ Jewish camping movement. He has toured Jewish summer camps across North America for the last 21 years. In 1995, Dan established the Jewish rock band Eighteen. Since that time, Dan and Eighteen have released 11 albums. 

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Seattle-based Chava Mirel is a nationally touring singer, guitarist, composer, prayer leader and recording artist. She bridges communities with her universal approach to spirituality through song. From electrifying concerts to engaging educational sessions to transcendent prayer experiences, she connects with communities with an inclusive message of love and compassion. 

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Maxwell Street Klezmer Band is the Jewish Big Band of the Midwest. From Carnegie Hall to London's Barbican Centre to Lyric Opera of Chicago, their performances sparkle with warmth and humor. They are now celebrating their "double chai” anniversary. In 2008, Maxwell Street collaborated with Rabbi Joe Black to create "Eight Nights of Joy," an eclectic holiday concert and CD.

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Love, spirit, and emotion infuse the passionate melodies of Natalie Young. She brings a powerful new depth to Jewish music in her evocative compositional style, which is rooted equally in contemporary and traditional influences.  Cantor Natalie Young’s songs are at home both in worship and in our most introspective moments. She serves as the Cantor at Temple Beth El in Aliso Viejo, California.

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Alan Goodis is a touring Jewish musician playing over 150 events a year. Alan is a proud product of URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute. Noted for his dedication to building relationships and community through music, Alan tours throughout the US to serve as an Artist-In-Residence and performer at Temples, Youth Conventions and Jewish summer camps. 

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Shira Kline, a.k.a. ShirLaLa, is an internationally acclaimed performance and ritual artist, recognized as a revolutionary educator and named one of the new re-engineers of Jewish life.  She tours extensively locally and globally performing concerts and presenting across the denominational spectrum, specializing in sacred music, creative worship and early childhood spirituality for clergy, educators and lay leaders.

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Yoel studied music at the Center for Eastern Music in Jerusalem and flamenco guitar in the Fundacion de Christina Heeren school of Flamenco Arts in Seville, Spain.  He is a main prayer leader in the Nava Tehila Jerusalem based community, and travels to many Jewish communities around the world to lead musical prayer services, concerts and workshops. 

    Ten years after releasing children’s “Jewgrass” album, Challah Challah, multi-award winning, NYC-based singer-songwriters Joanie Leeds and Matthew Check have teamed up as Americana duo, Joanie & Matt. Their debut album adapts inherently misogynistic texts from the Hebrew Bible for a soulful and inspired new record, Sterling.

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    Rabbi Josh Warshawsky is a nationally touring Jewish musician, songleader, and composer. Josh seeks to build intentional praying communities, and travels to synagogues, camp and schools across the country sharing his music and teachings on prayer. Josh considers himself a seeker, pray-er, gatherer, music creator, and lifelong Torah learner. He is originally from Chicago, and has released three albums of Jewish music.

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    Susan Colin is an award-winning singer, songwriter, cantorial soloist, service leader and engaging performer. Susan has released 5 CDs, and several of her songs have been published in Transcon’s Shabbat and Nigun Anthologies. As the owner of oySongs, she is a champion of all Jewish music and musicians. Susan and her husband live in Tempe, AZ. 

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    Naomi Less (Brooklyn) is one of the Founding Ritual Leaders of Lab/Shul in NYC. She is a singer, composer, musician, educator and radio host of the Jewish Women Rock show on Jewish Rock Radio. She co-created and is touring with TRYmester, an important interdisciplinary show about fertility challenges. Naomi serves as a spiritual leader, music director and educational facilitator across Jewish communal and multi-faith settings. 

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    Biennial Worship Director

    Cantor Rosalie Will

     

    Cantor Rosalie Will is the Director of Worship and Music for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).  She consults congregations on issues of worship and music and mentors clergy in the field. Rosalie served from 2001 until 2017 as Cantor of Temple Emanuel in Kensington, MD, just north of Washington DC and was ordained Cantor from the School of Sacred Music of HUC-JIR in New York.  

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    Biennial Music Director

    Josh Nelson

     

    One of the most popular performers and composers in modern Jewish music, Josh Nelson brings his extraordinary message of hope, unity and spirituality to concert stages and worship services across the globe. Josh is a gifted multi-instrumentalist and songwriter whose work is celebrated and integrated into the repertoire of congregations, camps and communities around the world. 

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