Margaret Lenzi, HKF 2013 Coordinator on the Heschel-King Festival - Celebration, Learning, Performances, Worship, Action and Much More ... "And what a treat it was to see the first ever performance of a rap song by Mishkan Shalom and Mt.Zion teens that was based on the words and life of King and Heschel. Hazzan Jack Kessler and the band Atzilut really rocked the sanctuary and had people dancing in the aisles. Rabbi Waskow ended the Festival with the challenge to continue working for peace and justice."
Aaron Tornberg Ed.M. Ed.S. is an educator, performer, and instructional designer. He has written and performed Jewish Music in cities around the United States and Canada. Aaron has taught Jewish music in religious schools and summer camps for over 25 years in Kansas City, Toronto, Cincinnati, Charlotte, NC and for the last ten years, around Boston and New Hampshire. He currently hosts a public open mic near his home and also created an open mic event called "Finjan Coffeehouse" at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH.
Singing at various events wherever people want to join in prayer and song, Aaron also created a blog site to showcase his music and teach Jewish songs via audio.
Aaron has degrees from Virginia Tech in Instructional Design and Technology and another from Harvard University in Technology in Education. He uses his technology background to create Jewish music projects. One recent project yielded a podcast by students at Temple Beth Abraham about Jewish music they chose for its Judaic content. He continues to use his love of Jewish Music and Technology in his everyday life. Aaron Tornberg lives in Salem, NH with his wife, Kim and his 4 year old son Benjamin.
For two decades singer-songwriter Eric Komar has shared his unique brand of jazz-tinged Jewish rock at synagogues, JCCs, camps, Hillels, and conventions nationwide. His vast performance experience runs the gamut, from preschoolers to retirees, and his advanced guitar skills are recognized among the most prominent musicians in the field.
Eric’s music has been described as refreshing, superb and hip sounding, having a sophisticated pop sensibility, as well as compelling and truly Jewish. His debut CD Notes from the Underground (2003) is noted for a rock n’ roll “Mi Chamochah” and power-ballad for peace “Lo Yisa Goi.” His second effort Two Life (2007) features special guests Peter and Ellen Allard and includes social action anthem “Justice, Justice.” He ushered in 2011 with Ripples, containing the High Holiday hit “Return” and a contemporary setting of “Dayenu.” His long-awaited kids album Todah Torah, showcasing the talents of his students, was released in the Fall of 2013. Several of Eric’s pieces can be found in publications from Transcontinental Music, as well as Craig Taubman’s Craig n’ Co.
Eric lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children. He currently serves as a synagogue music specialist, does music transcription and typesetting, and teaches guitar.
“When a Jew is sad, he cries; when he is even sadder, he is silent; and if he is even sadder still, he sings.” — Abraham Joshua Heschel
“After silence, that which comes closest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” — Aldous Huxley
“Music: the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.” --Ludwig van Beethoven
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” —Victor Hugo
Cantor Ellen Dreskin is an innovative leader in today’s reform movement. Her expertise extends from music to synagogue transformation, from experiential education to enlivened liturgy and mysticism. She has worked as a scholar-in-residence with Jews of all denominations from Houston to Chicago and Los Angeles to Boston, has served as Cantor and Educator for congregations in Cleveland and New York, and has taught for many years on the faculty of URJ Summer Kallot, Hava Nashira, and the URJ Kutz Camp Leadership Academy. Ellen is graduate of HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, has a Master’s Degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University, and is proud to have received her honorary Doctorate of Music from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. She is currently the Coordinator of the Cantorial Certification Program at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR in New York.
Ellen Dreskin is married to Rabbi Billy Dreskin, and is extremely proud of their joint projects: Katie, Jonah (z”l), and Aiden.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, Cantor Lisa Doob has written songs in English, French and Hebrew since the age of eight. Her love of music as a communicative art has been expressed in performances – both planned and extemporaneous – while living in England, France, Israel, Canada, and around the United States.
Lisa earned her cantorial investiture from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2001. She has served congregations in the Baltimore, Brooklyn, and Chicago areas, and writes songs for all ages. Lisa’s teaching songs for children combine a love of Judaism with childlike, engaging enthusiasm. Her reflective music – in Hebrew and in English – give people a meditative entry point to experiencing the rest of Shabbat. Some of Lisa’s music can be found in The Complete Jewish Songbook for Children, Volume II; Tzedek Tirdof: The Social Action Songbook (URJ Books and Music; R’fuah Sh’leimah: Songs of Jewish Healing (Synagogue 3000), and at Tot Shabbat.com
Lisa is the Cantor at Temple Isaiah in Lexington, MA, and lives nearby with her husband and three children. She is a Kesher Shir fellow, and is currently working on her first recording project.
Cantor Sheila Pearl, M.S.W. served Congregation B'nai Jeshurun (The Barnert Temple) in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey for 13 years and Temple Beth Jacob in Newburgh, New York for five years, retiring in 2004 from congregational life and reinventing her professional niche. She is currently a Keynote Speaker, Author and full-time Relationship Coach, with a private practice in Newburgh.
Sheila Pearl has dedicated her life to serving others: for over 50 years with music, singing, and using her voice to inspire others as her focus. In her early 20's she came from California to New York to pursue a career in opera. In her late 20's Sheila converted to Judaism and then looked for a Jewish husband. She met Rabbi Aaron Pearl. After marrying Aaron, Sheila shifted her focus from opera and chose to become both a Psychotherapist and a Cantor. She returned to graduate school, earning her Master's in Clinical Social Work. During the same week she earned her Master's Degree, Sheila was presented in concert at Carnegie Recital Hall and received critical acclaim from The New York Times for her NYC recital debut, singing in 7 languages. She knew her destiny was to integrate her love of music with her desire to be a psychotherapist.
Sheila found her way to use her singing voice and her counseling skills: being a Cantor. She had an opportunity to serve The Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey as cantorial soloist. After several years of full-time service, she participated in the Hebrew Union College's Certification Program for Cantors. During her career as Cantor, Sheila developed adult and children's choirs and instrumental ensembles, plus curricula for the Hebrew schools. At the Barnert Temple, Sheila began a concert series of Jewish music, inviting colleagues including Cantors Rochelle Nelson, Faith Steinsnyder-Gurney and Lisa Levine to her pulpit to share their music and talent.
Born Sheila Akin, she is the daughter of two singers and ministers of music in the Church of Christ Church. She was surrounded by liturgical and classical music, poetry and philosophy. In college she majored in English Literature, Philosophy, Music, Psychology, Sociology and Religion. While in college, she began a ten-year odyssey of conversion from Christianity to Judaism. From childhood, Sheila was multi-faceted and that has remained her nature, as she currently expands her activities as a speaker and author. For over 30 years Sheila has been mentoring and coaching adolescents and adults, teaching effective success attitudes and strategies for possibility thinking. Sheila has had a private coaching practice in Newburgh since retiring from congregational life 2004. She was married for 32 years and is the widow of Rabbi Aaron Pearl, with two grown stepchildren and five grandchildren. Busy in her full-time private practice, Sheila spends her professional life dedicated to coaching individuals, couples and families on ways to build and maintain loving relationships.
Sheila is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with seven B.A. Degrees including English Literature and Philosophy. She received her Masters in Clinical Social Work from Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work.
The author and co-author of several books, Sheila wrote A Primer for AGELESS & SEXY: How to Begin Creating Quantum Mindsets for Growing Young; STILL LIFE: A Spiritual Handbook for Family Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients and other Difficult Challenges; and co-author with Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff, Chris Attwood, Janet Bray Attwood, and Kimberly Burnham in Pearls of Wisdom: 30 Inspirational Ideas to Live Your Best Life Now. Sheila is also co-author in WAKE UP WOMEN! BE Happy, Healthy & Wealthy: A Guidebook. Her forthcoming book Ageless & Sexy: Loving Relationships in the New Mid-Life, is scheduled for release in late Summer, 2014.
Visit Sheila's websites, Ageless & Sexy Book, blogs and Facebook pages
Hannah Seidel is a writer and native of Washington, DC. As the daughter of a rabbi with a tendency to compose new tunes when dissatisfied with the traditional ones, she has been surrounded by Jewish music all of her life.
Hannah recently graduated from Oberlin College, where she studied Religion and English. Her time at Oberlin exposed her to new tunes, new prayers, and new opportunities for Jewish leadership. At Oberlin Hannah led High Holiday services, regular Shabbat services, and taught many of her peers to leyn Torah and Megillat Esther. She was also a member of Oberlin's Kosher-Halal Co-op, which piqued her interest in interfaith cooperation and friendship.
Hannah's senior thesis explored modern Jewish prayers for healing, delving into questions of theology, history, tradition, and the ultimate value of prayer. In the process of research, Hannah discovered dozens of new and rare Jewish prayers, and was inspired to begin writing her own.
After graduating, Hannah became the Jewish Student Life Coordinator at Oberlin Hillel, continuing to serve the community to which she had become so attached. She is currently working on her first novel.