Learn with Hadar
Rising Song Intensive

Hadar’s Rising Song Intensive

December 22-23, 2021

Registration for HRSI In-Person Beit Shira has reached capacity. Sign up for the waitlist

HRSI Virtual Beit Midrash will be held on Zoom





Reach new heights in song and spirituality at Hadar's Rising Song Intensive (HRSI). Led by Deborah Sacks Mintz, with Joey Weisenberg and a team of stellar faculty and musicians, HRSI offers the opportunity to study traditional melodies and sounds, bring new music into being, and climb the ladder of song together.

  • Enter a community of ba’alei tefilah, cantors, community organizers, lay leaders, musicians, rabbis, and students in an ongoing exploration of communal musical dynamics
  • Unearth the spiritual underpinnings of song and study the complex intersection between individual and communal voices
  • Explore with renowned musicians diverse voices within the global Jewish musical heritage

Hadar’s Rising Song Institute aims to cultivate the grassroots musical-spiritual creativity of the Jewish people. Read more about our Rising Song Institute.

This program is being held in partnership with Congregation B'nai Jeshurun.




Deborah Sacks Mintz is an educator, practitioner, and facilitator of Jewish communal music, supporting those who seek to deepen their practice of empowered song and connective prayer. As a musician, Deborah has partnered creatively with a diverse array of voices in the Jewish soundscape; in addition to collaborating on over two dozen albums, she released her debut record of original spiritual music, The Narrow and the Expanse, in 2020 on Rising Song Records. Beloved ongoing artistic projects include Rabbi Josh Warshawsky's Chaverai Nevarech, New Moon Rising with Elana Arian and Chava Mirel, and Joey Weisenberg's Hadar Ensemble. A candidate for rabbinic ordination and an MA in Women and Gender Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Deborah serves Hadar's Rising Song Institute as an artist, consultant, and teacher. Learn more at www.deborahsacksmintz.com.


Joey Weisenberg is the Founder and Director of Hadar’s Rising Song Institute. A multi-instrumental musician, prayer leader, and composer, Joey works with communities around the world to make music a vibrant, joy-filled force in Jewish life. He is the author of Building Singing Communities, a practical guide to bringing people together in song, as well as The Torah of Music, which received the National Jewish Book Award in 2017. A devoted student and teacher of ancient and traditional Jewish melodies, Joey also composes new nigunim that have moved and inspired Jews around the world. His seventh album with the Hadar Ensemble, Songs of Ascent, was released on Rising Song Records in fall 2019, and his eighth album, L'eila, is due for release this coming winter.


Rabbi Yosef Goldman: Raised in a mixed Orthodox Ashkenazi and Mizrahi home, Rabbi Yosef Goldman has served communities across the denominational spectrum as a leader and teacher of prayer and Jewish texts. Yosef received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2013, with a concentration in pastoral care and counseling and a Master of Sacred Music. He has served as a chaplain resident at Einstein Medical Center, on the clergy team at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Philadelphia, and as Co-Director of Hadar’s Rising Song Institute. Yosef and his wife, Rabbi Annie Lewis, are grateful to co-lead the vibrant Shaare Torah community in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Yosef performs and records with a wide range of Jewish artists, including as a vocalist in the Hadar Ensemble and a founding member of the Middle Eastern Jewish music ensemble, the Epichorus. Along with trombonist Dan Blacksberg, Rabbi Yosef was selected by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts for its 2018–19 Jazz Residency. His first album of original music, Open My Heart, was released by Rising Song Records in winter 2019.


Aly Halpert is a queer white Ashkenazi Jewish young adult musician, writer, educator, activist, and organizer living on Schaghticoke land in Millerton, NY, USA. A singer, pianist, drummer, and guitar player, Aly writes songs for building community, working for collective liberation, and visioning different worlds. Aly leads music and prayer for Jewish community, including Eden Village Camp, Let My People Sing, Kol Tzedek Synagogue, and Linke Fligl. Her songs have been sung in national gatherings, song circles, and quiet moments of personal prayer, and have moved people all over the world. Her forthcoming album with Hadar's Rising Song Records will be released this coming year.


Micah Hendler (Forbes 30 Under 30 for Music) is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, an Israeli-Palestinian music and dialogue project featured for its innovative musicianship and integrity of purpose and process from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to the New York Times. Micah is also a Founding Partner of Raise Your Voice Labs, a creative culture change company that helps organizations, companies, and communities transform their cultures and embody new visions for their future through deep group process work, collaborative songwriting, and music video production. Micah writes for Forbes.com on music, society, and social change in a global context and serves in volunteer leadership capacities for the Justice Choir and Braver Angels grassroots movements. He currently lives in Washington, DC, where he is the Musician in Residence at Adas Israel.


Yahala Lachmish is a musician, cantor and paytanit, singer, conductor and actress. A graduate of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, Yahala teaches the Sephardic track of the Ashira Tehilot program for musicians and cantors at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem. Yahala has been performing from a very young age. She teaches Biblical trope and sessions on Jewish liturgical poems in Hebrew and English at the Conservative Yeshiva, Beit Avi Chai and other organizations. Yahala is co-head of prayer and musical director at Kehilat Zion in Jerusalem, head of prayer in Midreshet Beit Prat (previously Ein Prat) and serves as a cantor for the Masorti Movement.


Batya Levine uses song as a tool for cultivating healing and resilience in her work as a communal song leader, shaliach tzibur (Jewish prayer leader) and cultural organizer. Batya is a co-founder of Let My People Sing!, and composes original music made of Ashkenazi yearning, queer heart-medicine, and emunah (faith). www.batyalevine.com


Rabbi Roly Matalon was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and was educated in Buenos Aires, Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York City. After his ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1986, Rabbi Matalon came to BJ to share the pulpit with his mentor and friend Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer. They worked to revitalize the congregation and turn its focus to prayer, learning, service, social justice, and interfaith cooperation. After Rabbi Meyer’s death in 1993, Rabbi Matalon became BJ’s spiritual leader. Rabbis Matalon and Felicia Sol now lead a vibrant, diverse community of 1,700 households. Rabbi Matalon is a founding co-director of Piyut North America, a partnership between B’nai Jeshurun and Hazmanah Le-Piyut in Israel, which is dedicated to the dissemination of liturgical music from Jewish communities around the world. A student of Arabic and Turkish music, Rabbi Matalon plays the oud (Arabic lute). He has received awards from the New York Board of Rabbis, the Jewish Peace Fellowship, the New Israel Fund, and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.


Dan Nadel is an Israeli born, New York-based guitarist and composer, whose personal style combines flamenco, jazz, and Middle Eastern influences. He is a bandleader, a solo performing artist, and a collaborator with Tavche Gravche – his multinational neo-Balkan group. A busy musician on New York’s scene, Nadel has also worked with many world-renowned artists, including jazz musicians Chico Freeman, Dave Liebman and Anat Fort, Israeli-French pop star Yael Naim, jazz vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli, opera soloists Chen Reiss and Maya Lahyani, and genre-crossing musicians from around the world such as Frank London, Ismail Lumanovski, Souren Baronian and Satoshi Takeishi. Dan is the music director for Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in Manhattan, and leads multiple projects dedicated to introducing North American audiences to the beauty and richness of Mizrahi and Sefaradi traditions.


Rabbi Aviva Richman is a Rosh Yeshiva at Hadar, and has been on the faculty since 2010. A graduate of Oberlin College, she studied in the Pardes Kollel and the Drisha Scholars' Circle and was ordained by Rabbi Danny Landes. She completed a doctorate in Talmud at NYU. Interests include Talmud, Halakhah, Midrash and gender, and also a healthy dose of niggunim.


Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell is a vocalist, composer and arranger specializing in music in the Yiddish language. His work in traditional Ashkenazi Jewish musical forms led to a musical exploration of his own ethnic roots through the research, arrangement and performance of a hundred years of African American roots music, resulting in the EP Convergence (2018), a collaboration with klezmer consort Veretski Pass exploring the sounds and themes of one hundred years of African American and Ashkenazi Jewish music. Anthony also performs in a duo, Tsvey Brider (“Two Brothers”), with accordionist and pianist Dmitri Gaskin, composing and performing their original music set to modernist Yiddish poetry of the 20th century. An essayist in a number of publications including Jewish Currents and Moment Magazine, Anthony lives in Massachusetts with his husband of five years, Rabbi Michael Rothbaum.


Hazzan Ramón Tasat: Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ramón was trained in five different countries. He studied at the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, the Manuel de Falla Conservatory of Music and the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a DMA in Voice Performance. Hazzan Tasat serves Shirat HaNefesh (Song of the Soul), a congregation in Montgomery County, MD. He is also the musical Director of Kolot HaLev, a Jewish Community choir in the Greater Washington area and the former president of Shalshelet: The Foundation for New Jewish Liturgical Music. Ramón has toured Europe and participated in music festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to television and radio appearances, Ramón produced fifteen CDs and two books. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a NEA Grant. Ramón offers a wide spectrum of concerts, lectures, and workshops. These range from “Echoes of Sefarad” to “The Music of Modern Israel.”


Rabbi Miriam-Simma Walfish is faculty at Hadar and a Senior Coach for Pedagogy of Partnership. She is completing her PhD in Rabbinics at Harvard University. Her interests include rabbinic approaches to gender, parenting, and education. She has published several articles, including, "Upending the Curse of Eve: Reframing Maternal Breastfeeding in BT Ketubot" (2017). Rabbi Walfish has taught Tanakh, Talmud, and Jewish Law in numerous settings including the Conservative Yeshiva, Hadar, Harvard University, Hebrew College, and the National Havurah Committee's summer institute. She revels in the process of learning Torah with and from her students.


Rabbi Ariel Root Wolpe is a mother, musician, and spiritual educator. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA, where she founded and directs Ma’alot, a growing community of folks who crave creative, radically welcoming, in-touch Judaism. Ariel studied Jewish music at Hadar's Rising Song Institute's full-time residency in Philadelphia, and released her third album, Ruach Neshama, through Rising Song Records this past summer. Ariel is currently completing a book on Jewish texts and rituals to usher in motherhood.


In-Person and Virtual Options


This year’s HRSI will feature both in-person and online components. You are welcome to attend either or both aspects of the program.

HRSI Virtual Beit Midrash

December 22-23, 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM Eastern

All sessions will be held on Zoom

HRSI In-Person Beit Shira

December 22-23, 2:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern

All sessions will be held at B’nai Jeshurun, 270 W 89th St, New York, NY
Registration has reached capacity -- Sign up for the waitlist in case spots open.

Registration includes a complimentary ticket to Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble, Live in Concert on December 23rd at 7:30 PM. The concert will be performed in front of a live audience and available to view on Zoom.

Sample Schedule


HRSI Virtual Beit Midrash

December 22-23, 2021

Subject to change


HRSI In-Person Beit Shira

December 22-23, 2021

Subject to change

Session Titles and Descriptions


HRSI Virtual Beit Midrash

Grow Your Skills:

Hidden Sparks: Songwriting as Midrash

Rabbi Ariel Root Wolpe

What leads to sparks of spiritual and musical inspiration? How do we fan the flames of textual curiosity into creations enjoyed by others? In this guided songwriting workshop, we’ll discover wisdom through text, beauty in song and together imagine how our creativity can support spiritual & musical space.

Kol Atzmotai Tomarna/All My Bones Declare: Vocal Health and Wellness

Hazzan Ramón Tasat

Enter into the world of singing from deep inside your body. We will explore the vital effect of breathing when we sing, searching within ourselves the unique imprint of our voice. Let’s connect with our entire body, from head to toes, so we can serve the Creator of the Universe as each one of our bones declare in profound awe: “Hashem, Mi khamokha,” Who is like You, Oh God! (Psalm 35)

Music as a Vehicle for Change:

Loosen Loosen: Songs for Healing, Music for Liberation

Aly Halpert

How can songs help us create a liberated world? Join Aly for a session exploring how song can hold us, heal us, and expand our imagination of what is possible. We will sing together, share what’s on our minds and hearts, and listen to songs from Aly’s forthcoming album, to be released on Rising Song Records.

Musical Conflict Transformation and Culture Change

Micah Hendler

This session will explore how to build a musical container for conflict transformation and culture change and infuse it with group process work that can power shifts on personal, interpersonal, and systemic levels. We will explore the music and methods of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus (http://jerusalemyouthchorus.org), an Israeli-Palestinian music and dialogue project, as a primary case study. We will also broaden our discussion to encompass a variety of contexts beyond Jerusalem, through the lens of Raise Your Voice Labs (http://raiseyourvoicelabs.com), a creative culture change company that helps groups in transition find their musical north star. No matter where you are based and what issues your community is grappling with, this session is designed for you.

Fresh Approaches to Traditional Sounds:

B’shir U’mizmor: Where Piyyut and Prayer Mingle

Yahala Lachmish

In this session, we'll take an uplifting journey through diverse liturgical traditions from the Mizrachi and Sefaradi world, and beyond. Learn several piyyutim in their original contexts in prayer, and practice combining them in innovative and creative ways.

Mayko-mashmelon: Yiddish Art Song as Resource

Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell

In the 20th century, Yiddish art song acted as a kind of performative repository of Ashkenazi Jewish music-making of all kinds, containing elements of khazones and liturgical music, Eastern European folk song, Yiddish theatre music and Chassidic music, as well as popular and art music of the time. In this session, we’ll take a brief survey of the genre and explore how it can be used as a resource for today’s Jewish musicians.

Process and Share:

Open Space: Shelichei Tzibbur Processing

Deborah Sacks Mintz

Looking for an opportunity to explore and process with other like-minded prayer leaders? Join our facilitated open space, where we'll reflect, goal-set, and share.

Open Space: Song Share

Batya Levine

Have a nigun you'd love to share with others? Excited to learn songs from other participants? Join our facilitated open space, where all are welcome to share, sing, and listen.


In-Person Beit Shira

Songful Prayer:

From Psalm to Song: Uncovering the Hidden Melodies of Our Texts

Joey Weisenberg

Ancient Jewish prayer-songs and poetry - such as the Psalms - are often rollercoaster-like expressions of the human soul that vary as widely in their musical meters as they do in their thematic consistency. This class will explore how we can draw out coherent ideas from the Psalms and other ancient texts, and fit them into contemporary musical expressions and song structures.

Harmony and Hiddur: Deepening the Soundscape of Communal Prayer

Deborah Sacks Mintz

Whether the prayer-leader or a member of the kahal - the community -we all have the opportunity to contribute to the process of hiddur mitzvah - beautification of the mitzvah of prayer. How do we hear the expansive layers of harmonies and unearth the potential textures of sound in the real-time act of prayer and communal song? In this experiential session, we'll explore strategies and tools for realizing this potential in our communities.

Melodies and Narratives:

Crafting Your Musical Autobiography, Singing Your Personal Story

Rabbi Yosef Goldman

How do the songs of our own narratives shape our identities? Through song, story, and guided process, we’ll weave together the songs that comprise the soundtrack of our personal stories. Whether you’re a songwriter, prayer leader or performer, or you use music solely for your own spiritual practice, this session will help you explore and expand your musical-spiritual toolbox.

Singing Our Way Home

Rabbi Aviva Richman

Through midrash and raising our own voices in song, we'll explore the ways niggunim anchor us and help us find our sense of home even as we confront shifting realities. Our core text will be the transformative journey described in the Psalms of Hallel, and the broader narratives midrash weave from these verses about how we integrate change in our lives.

Exploring New Entrypoints:

BJ's Piyyut Project: Weaving Liturgical Poetry into Jewish Life

Rabbi Roly Matalon with Dan Nadel

B'nai Jeshurun's Piyut Project is centered on the global sacred music of the Jewish people, with an emphasis on the communities of North Africa and the Middle East. At BJ, a deep dive into depth and breadth of this poetry and music and its use in the living, breathing act of communal prayer continues to be a cornerstone of the musical tapestry of this congregation's identity. In this session, we'll learn about the project and sing together some of these beautiful melodies, with an eye towards cultivating their integration into North American communal life.

Breath, Body, and Song

Batya Levine

Singing opens us to a myriad of internal textures, emotions, and sensations in our bodies and in our felt experience. This has always been true, but it feels especially relevant these days, when the embodied experience of singing in a room together is so rare. In this session we will be merging embodiment and somatic tools with our singing practice. We will move slowly and spend time in song and silence, noticing and grounding in our bodies and our experience as we go.

Unleashing the Song Within:

Nigun Hannah: From Whispering to Joy

Rabbi Miriam-Simma Walfish and Deborah Sacks Mintz

The narrative of Hannah in Tanakh paints the picture of a yearning journey through prayer as dynamic expression - one of varied posture, volume, intensity, and presence . Through an exploration of rabbinic sources, punctuated by learning and singing together a newly composed Nigun Hannah, we'll dig into the prayers of our own hearts.

Kli Zemer: Instruments as Vessels of Song

Joey Weisenberg

How can timeworn Jewish melodies be expressed through modern instruments? Can the electric guitar daven? In exploring how modern instruments express old melodies and prayers, we might explore how we ourselves can become vessels of the ancient divine song.

Open Space: Song Share:

Have a nigun you'd love to share with others? Excited to learn songs from other participants? Join our facilitated open space, where all are welcome to share, sing, and listen.





  1. “This program was an exceptional spiritual experience that gave me new ways of looking at Judaism and so many ideas for leading and improving my community.”
  2. “I felt immersed in new ways of singing that can be used for both new music and traditional music. The quality of musicianship in the faculty was tremendous. The variety of styles from contemporary to Moroccan to Bagdadi was a spectacular surprise to me and well worth making the trip.”
  3. “I had never sang with this amount of Jews nor had I ever sang with other Jews so beautifully and for so long.”
  4. “The nigun singing in every session was incredible and gave me a totally new way of thinking about Jewish music both intellectually and spiritually. These sessions sparked endless questions and discussions that helped me and my peers to grow and understand our own and each other’s Judaism.”


Sample Photos



The cost for the HRSI In-Person Beit Shira is a sliding scale between $72 and $360.

Tuition includes access to the full range of musical programming, the Virtual Rising song Beit Midrash, and a free ticket to Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble, Live in Concert immediately following the Intensive.

The cost for the HRSI Virtual Beit Midrash is a sliding scale between $18 and $180.

Tuition includes the full range of online musical programming, and a ticket to Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble Live in Concert either on Zoom or in-person.

Hadar tries to ensure that cost is never an obstacle to participation in our programming. If you would like to participate and need financial aid, contact [email protected].



Is it for me?

If you have a passion for Jewish communal music: yes! If you’ve come before, yes! Come again to learn new music and to review your favorite tunes and melodies.

What precautions are you taking around Covid-19?

  • All participants must show proof of vaccination against Covid-19, a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the intensive, and must agree to wear masks in order to attend the in-person elements of the intensive and annual concert.
  • We will be checking all participants' proof of vaccination and Covid test results at the door.
  • All other participants will not be permitted to attend the in-person aspects of the program, but are welcome to attend any virtual components.
  • We reserve the right to change protocol and/ or cancel the program if it is unsafe to host as planned. In the event of cancellation, we will offer a full refund.

What is the cancellation policy?

Before December 1, 75% refunds are available. Between December 1 and December 15, 50% refunds are available. After December 15, we are sorry but we cannot refund payments as we have already made down payments for the program that assumed your participation. Please note that refunds may take up to two weeks to process. We appreciate your patience.

Is there a cap on attendance?

Due to increased demand and safety concerns due to Covid-19, we will be placing a cap on the number of participants for the HRSI in-person Beit Shira and the in-person elements of Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble, Live in Concert. Register today! Participation will be granted on a first come first serve basis. There will be no cap on the HRSI Virtual Beit Midrash.

I have more questions. Who should I ask?

Write to us at [email protected].