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Rising Song Fellows, 2017-2019
About the Fellowship
The Rising Song Fellowship aims to raise the musical-spiritual creativity of Jewish culture by developing music that both connects to the energy of the Jewish community and is also artistically inspiring. The Fellowship further strives to model and articulate a paradigm for mid-21st century musical-spiritual leaders and to develop a network of leaders who will affect the hearts and ears of the Jewish world and beyond.
Aviva is a Ba’alat Niggun, award-winning musician, and mindfulness educator based in Toronto. Alongside an active performing and touring career, she has served in and around Toronto and as a guest in communities across North America, leading and teaching about the voice in prayer. Aviva completed her training as a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and is the founder of two mindfulness programs in Toronto — the Mindfulness Minyan, and the sitting and singing community neySHEV. Aviva facilitates adventures for freeing the voice at home in Toronto and with diverse communities while on her many travels. http://avivachernick.com/
Shir Yaakov Feit
Ulster Park, NY
Shir Yaakov Feit is a singer, composer, designer, producer, and teacher. Shir Yaakov has recorded and released four albums of original music; as co-founder he performs with The Darshan Project. His song “Broken-hearted” won the Forward’s Soundtrack of Our Spirit '16 songwriting contest. His music is foundational to the sound of Romemu, where he served as Musical Director. He is a student in the ALEPH Rabbinic and Spiritual Direction ordination programs and a Wexner Graduate Fellow. http://shiryaakov.com/
Multi-instrumentalist and composer Yoshie Fruchter has made his mark with a style of playing and composing all his own. He is a busy guitarist, bassist and oud player who has released two albums on John Zorn’s Tzadik records as a leader and played on three others. Having grown up an Orthodox Jew, he is notable for his work in composing, performing and interpreting Jewish song and has constantly forged new directions with his music, regardless of genre. He recently released an album on the new Jewish record label Blue Thread Music of post-rock arrangements of old cantorial recordings entitled Schizophonia www.yoshiefruchter.com
Gayanne Geurin serves as music director and lay cantor at Atlanta's Congregation Bet Haverim, directing a uniquely relevant program that is rich in innovation, collaboration and ruach. She works relationally with communities as organizer of creative and spiritual endeavors. Also as a former psychotherapist who is now a vocal coach, Gayanne offers a multidimensional approach for singers. As a vocalist herself, you can hear recordings of her on Beyond the Veil: Chant and with Bet Haverim's celebrated chorus. http://www.gayannegeurin.com
Rabbi Yosef Goldman
Yosef Goldman is a spiritual artist, activist and community builder. Raised Orthodox in New York City in a mixed Ashkenazi and Mizrahi home, Yosef has taught and facilitated sacred prayer space in communities throughout the Jewish denominational spectrum.
He performs as a vocalist with Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble and is Creative Advisor to Hadar's Rising Song Institute. He is a founding member of the Middle Eastern Jewish music ensemble the Epichorus, and the Philadelphia Jewish music collective the Shir Singing Circle. Yosef serves as Rabbi & Director of Sacred Music at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Philadelphia.
Aly Halpert is a queer, Jewish, young adult musician based out of Millerton, NY. A singer, pianist, and guitar player, Aly writes songs for community, collective liberation, and for visioning different worlds. She believes deeply in the power of music to both awaken us to the loss and hope we carry, and shift what we can tell is possible. Over the last five years, Aly has been immersed in Jewish song communities and has had the privilege to co-lead music at Eden Village camp. Whether the songs she writes or leads are serious or seriously goofy, her awe at the importance of this work to mark time, heal grief, connect, and bring more life only grows.
Anat Hochberg grew up in the Boston area with family roots in Israel, Yemen, Poland, and Hungary. She grew up playing piano and singing, and went on to study Music Education and Piano Performance at UMass Amherst. Anat has taught music in high school and elementary school settings. Anat has served as the Jewish Life and Ritual Team Leader at the Moishe Kavod House Boston and Music Director at Eden Village Camp. She is a member of the Hadar Ensemble and recently recorded the CD Elul Album. Anat is a current fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in New York City.
Batya Levine is a Jewish educator, ritual leader, facilitator, and musician. She is a founder and organizer of Let My People Sing!, a project which brings together a diversity of Jewish cultural and ethnic music for the sake of learning, sharing and creating powerful singing space. Currently, she is recording an album of original Jewish music. Coming from the Jewish lineage of the tribe of Levi, who were the musicians in the Holy Temple, Batya is dedicated to music for the sake of healing and growth on the individual and communal levels.
Chicagoland native and NYC based Cellist Jessie Reagen Mann is a member of the Om Shalom Trio, Musician at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun (NYC), and a founding member of cello duo 2VC. Jessie recently completed the left-hand technique book 60 Seconds to Excellence and has composed 2 works for Carolyn Dorfman Dance. Part of the Adele Live 2016 tour, Jessie has performed with Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Savion Glover and more on stage and TV. Jessie is on faculty at BIMA at Brandeis University and the United Nations International School.http://www.cellochic.com/
Rabbi Miriam Margles
Miriam Margles is an artist, educator and activist and has been serving as the rabbi of the Danforth Jewish Circle in Toronto since 2010. She is graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and the Jerusalem Fellows at the Mandel Leadership Institute. Miriam earned a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in creative writing from York University in Toronto.
Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer
Jessica Kate Meyer serves as a rabbi at Romemu in New York City. She strives to build community through prayerful music, and music through prayerful community. Jessica has studied and performed sacred (and profane) Jewish music with rabbis, paytanim, and klezmorim in Jerusalem and in the US. In her previous life, Jessica appeared in many film, theater, and television projects in Europe and the United States: most notably, as a principal role in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist.
Chava Mirel is a singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist who combines rich, luxurious vocals with deep pocket rhythms to bringing a new approach to Jewish music. With themes of gratitude, self-acceptance, balance, and responsibility for each other, Chava’s songs bring comfort and uplift the spirit. Chava’s songs are featured on the URJ Dunst Social Justice Music Project album, the Behrman House "Hebrew in Harmony" and the "Gift of Music" curated by Jewish Rock Radio. She has recorded two albums, as well as writes and records with Josh Niehaus. www.chavamirel.com
Cantor George Mordecai
White Plains, NY
Born in Sydney, Australia to Iraqi and Indian Jewish immigrants, Cantor Mordecai was immersed from an early age in the musical liturgical traditions of his family and weaves this rich cultural heritage into his work. Cantor Mordecai, who received his investiture from JTS in 2000, has sung with internationally renowned music ensembles. He has worked as a cantor in Philadelphia, Miami, Stamford and is currently the cantor at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY, Co-creator of the performance project Shalom/Pax, George continues to pursue devotional music that speaks to the sacred interconnectedness of all humanity.
Rabbi Bronwen Mullin
Rabbi Bronwen Mullin serves as the Rabbinic Artist-in-Residence at Town and Village Synagogue and at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is a Myers Grant Award and JTS Seeds of Innovation Grant recipient for which she has developed numerous artist programs and development residencies at both institutions. She is a musical theater composer and will premiering her latest project, "Bat Yiftach: A Tragic Punk Opera" in October 2018. She is honored to be a part of this inaugural cohort of Rising Song fellows.
Chana Raskin lives in Israel. Her song-filled Chasidic upbringing infuses her with tefila (prayer) and niggun (Jewish melody), and carries her in each moment of work and rest. Her appreciation for quiet spaces that invite deep listening, receiving, and connecting in with our simple selves, with Higher, and with our communities, has moved her to lead tefila spaces, as well as teach and perform niggunim in and around New York, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. Still on a journey of her own self-healing from injury and trauma, Chana strives to hold a space with others recovering from illness or traumatic injury, through the healing powers of quiet, laughter, humming, singing and movement. Chana is currently a Kollel member at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Dorothy Richman
Dorothy Richman serves as Rabbi of Makor Or: Jewish Center for Meditation in Northern California, and teaches Torah widely throughout the Bay Area and beyond. She is a soulful leader of traditional and creative ritual, and recently released an album of original music called Something of Mine. Through Songcycle, which started in October, she is writing and recording a new song video each week in partnership with BimBam. Dorothy is also working on a performance piece exploring The Jazz Singer, Aretha Franklin, and medieval law to question what it means to pray and how to find your voice.
Rabbi Micah Shapiro
Rabbi Micah Shapiro received his rabbinic ordination from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in June. A multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader, Micah has recorded multiple live albums of original settings to Jewish prayer and is founder of Boston’s Shabbat Sing Out and Jewish Songwriters’ Collective. Upon ordination, Micah moved to Philadelphia where he is Rabbinic Fellow for Innovation at Penn Hillel.
Taya Shere, Co-Founder/Director, Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute
El Cerrito, CA
Taya Mâ Shere co-founded and co-directs Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute. She is co-author of The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient & New Paths of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership and Siddur HaKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook. Taya Mâ’s chant albums Wild Earth Shebrew, Halleluyah All Night, Torah Tantrika and This Bliss have been heralded as “cutting-edge mystic medicine music." She teaches at at Starr King seminary and is a practitioner of Somatic Experiencing and Ancestral Lineage Healing.