2010│ Ahavat ’Olam
Born in New York City and raised in Maryland, Jessi Roemer is training to be a second-generation cantor. Raised in a home filled with music, dancing, and Jewish life, and the daughter of Cantor Sue Roemer (z”l), she began composing and arranging songs when she was twelve. After receiving her B.A. in Judaic and Near Eastern studies, she spent nine years in Jerusalem, performing her own music, writing about Israel-Palestine, working for human rights, studying and teaching. She has sung and played with, composed and arranged for several choirs, bands, and a capella groups in Israel and the U.S., including The Oberlin Steel Drum Band, Kitka Jerusalem, The Underwires, Theallela, the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir, and the Kol Tzedek Kol Tehilla Band. She is also a poet and writing teacher and holds an MFA in creative writing. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her family, where she studies hazzanut and works as a cantorial soloist, guitarist, choir director and Jewish music educator.
2010│ Ahavat ’Olam
2016│ Va-anahnu • ‘Oseh Shalom 2010│ Lekha Dodi 2008│ Psalm 29
Lance Rhodes grew up in Florida and graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor in Music. He worked as a free-lance arranger for Warner Bros. Publications and worked on board the Rhapsody of the Seas for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. In 2009 he was invested as hazzan and received his Masters in Sacred Music from The H. L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. His Psalm 29 was published by Transcontinental Music, and he received the Max and Sol Feld Prize in composition for two consecutive years. He now serves as cantor for Congregation Brith Shalom in Bellaire, Texas and as interim cantor at Temple Emanuel in New York City.
Ernest Rakhlin studied piano, composition, music theory, and musicology at Moscow Conservatory Music College and Moscow Gnesin Musical Institute. After teaching in Moscow for almost 20 years, he moved to the U.S. In Buffalo, N.Y. he created the Rakhlin Chamber Orchestra & Ensembles. Several years later he moved to the Boston area where he is an organist at Temple B’Nai Israel in Revere, Mass. and continues to work as an accompanist and teacher. He has composed more then 80 compositions including concertos, symphonic poems, string quartets and vocal works. His compositions have been performed in Russia, Bulgaria, England, and the U.S., and he continues to create new music.
2010│Yismehu 2008│Shalom Rav & Anim Zemirot 2006│Hodu L’Adonai
Irene Steiner, who received a Master’s Degree in Music as a voice major, has performed as soprano soloist at religious institutions, in operas, oratorios, musical comedies, solo art song recitals and Yom Hashoah memorials in the NYC metro area. A 1999 journey to Krakow with her parents, Holocaust survivors from Krakow, inspired a passion for Yiddish art song and Hebrew liturgical music. In 2000, she produced the first of a series of concerts of Jewish song at Temple Beth Shalom in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., where she lives with her family. In 2002, invited by the Judaica Foundation–Center for Jewish Culture, her Yiddish vocal trio, The Katsenshprung Singers, performed a concert of songs by Mordechai Gebirtig in Krakow. She composed music for 12 poems written by Gebirtig from 1939-1942 for which no music was found; several were praised by Chana Mlotek in her column in NY’s Yiddish Forverts. At Sinai Leichter’s request, she composed music for 6 poems of Itzik Manger; she also set Yiddish poems by Simcha Simchovitch, at his request. Her work was selected for Shalshelet Festivals in 2006 and 2008. In 2009, Temple Beth Shalom commissioned her to compose a major choral work, which premiered in 2010. An attorney in Manhattan, she dedicates her efforts in performance and composition to her parents, as well as her grandparents and uncles, all of whom perished in the Holocaust
2010│ Esa ’Einai
Lori Sumberg is a cantorial soloist, a singer/songwriter/guitarist, and an English teacher. She received her first guitar at the age of ten, and has enjoyed writing and performing for over three decades. She earned an M.A. in English Education from Boston University and a B.A. in Creative Writing from SUNY Binghamton. Lori has been an educator for over twenty years and has taught students of all ages. A third-generation New Yorker, her love of Jewish music was inspired at her home synagogue, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, where she sang soprano in the choir for ten years. She received cantorial training at the Jewish Theological Seminary H.L. Miller Cantorial School and the Academy for Jewish Religion in new York. Since 2003, she has served Reform, Reconstructionist and Renewal communities. Lori now lives in Tucson, Ariz. with her family, where she serves as cantorial soloist at Temple Emanu-El and at Beth Shalom Temple Center, and teaches English at a private college. She recorded Love is a Danger Zone (a folk/rock CD available from CDBaby) and is working on an album of Jewish/liturgical music. She is the 2011 commissioned composer for the Women Cantors’ Network conference in Philadelphia.
2016│ Angel Blessing • ‘Oseh Shalom 2010│ Gesher • Berikh Rahamana
Judith Silver performs at venues and Festivals throughout the U.K. and abroad. She works across a range of styles. She started her musical journey as a singer/songwriter, reflected in her first album, The Day Will Dawn Again and in elements of moonchild released in 2005. She also works in harmony singing, including songs from around the world that she teaches at workshops. The trio Anam.Cara, in which she sang for ten years, has this work at its core as does the 4-piece a capella group she more recently joined, Far Flung Voices, with co-members of the Natural Voice Practitioners’ Network (NVPN). After years playing and singing other people’s songs, she began writing and performing her own in the early 90’s. She now writes, teaches and performs Jewish music – in Hebrew, Yiddish and English. In 2008, she became the Director of the World Music Choir at SOAS (School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London). Her most recent CD, gathering, was released in 2009. www.judithsilver.com
2010│ It’s All Good 2008│ Love Adonai • Ma’Ariv ’Aravim with Katy Jordan
Cantor Robbi Sherwin grew up in an Air Force family in small towns all over the U.S. and was first exposed to the riches of Jewish music at summer camp. Currently the spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Butte in Crested Butte, CO she has also served congregations in Austin, San Antonio and El Paso, Texas, as well as Denver and Evergreen, Colo. Her songs have found their way into synagogue worship, concert halls and summer camps from Tulsa to Tel Aviv. She leads women’s retreats, Shabbaton, and writing new melodies with kids and with congregations. She recently joined Storahtelling’s Mile High Maven Company. Discography includes: Todah LaChem (Thanks, Y’all – 2000) and Aish HaKodesh (the Holy Fire 2005). Also, as one-third of the Jewish folk/rock band Sababa with bandmates Steve Brodsky and Scott Leader, she and her music can be heard on Pray for the Peace (2007) and It’s All Good (2010). Two of her compositions were honored at Shalshelet’s 2008 Festival. She serves on the board of the Women Cantors’ Network.
2010│ Yom Zeh le-Israel
With musical roots on both the Sefardi-Iraqi and non-Jewish sides of her family, Merit Yasmin Shalom finds that her spirituality is most often expressed in music. She has composed songs ever since she could get her hands on a tape recorder. Although she mostly writes her own lyrics, she began to create new melodies for Shabbat zmirot (Sabbath table songs) when she grew tired of hearing the traditional ones, although she never expected her tunes would traverse beyond the family Shabbat table. Merit attended the Montgomery College Scholars Program and then transferred to Mount Holyoke College. There she co-founded a music composition club in order to increase the visibility of and support for student-written music. She also designed and led a lyric-writing workshop for English-language learners while fulfilling an internship in La Plata, Argentina. She graduated from Mount Holyoke in 2010 with a degree in psychology and education and an elementary teaching license. She looks forward to a future of teaching and songwriting.
2010│ You Shall Love
David Sanders is a composer, musician, and professor at Montclair State University, where he teaches sound design, audio production and video production. He has written electro-acoustic scores for film, television, commercials, and modern dance. Most recently he has focused on creating musical settings for Jewish, Christian and Islamic sacred texts. He regularly leads music for Kabbalat Shabbat in Montclair, N.J. He is Director of the National Music Council, an umbrella organization of fifty of the nation’s most prestigious music associations. He recently produced the music for the New Jersey Rally and Vigil for Darfur where he conducted a 70-voice interfaith choir performing two of his original compositions. His Song For Darfur is included in the new Social Action Songbook published by Transcontinental Music. His musical settings for Psalm 102 and You Shall Love were featured at the 2010 American Conference of Cantors/Guild of Temple Musicians national convention.
2010│ Petah Lanu Sha’ar
Whether in her role as cantor, teacher, performer or composer, Ilene Safyan weaves the multicultural musical strands of the Jewish experience into a harmonic tapestry of sound. She has shared her music in communities throughout the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Her six CDs of Jewish music have been recognized by such publications as Entertainment Weekly, the American Library Association and Parents’ Guide to Childrens’ Media. Parents’ Choice Magazine awarded her recording Just in Time for Chanukah! the Gold Medal for excellence in children’s recordings; Where Dreams are Born was awarded the Silver Medal. Both were recorded with longtime singing partner Margie Rosenthal. Her music has been featured on XM radio’s Hanukkah station, Children’s Media Network, WQXR, CBS and NPR and is included in the Dartmouth and Florida Atlantic University Jewish Sound Archives. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., she currently lives with her family in Portland, Ore., where she serves as cantorial soloist at Congregations Neveh Shalom and Havurah Shalom. www.ilenesafyan.com
2013│Birkat Ha-Derekh • Hallelujah • Yedid Nefesh 2010│Lamdeni Elohai • Ahavah Rabbah • Esa ’Einai 2008│Song of the Omer • ’Ozi Ve Zimrat Yah • Ve Ten Tal
Orit Perlman is a cantorial soloist, singer, composer and lyricist who specializes in Jewish musical traditions. She has served congregations including Hebrew Union College Jerusalem, Ohel Avraham (Haifa), and Sulam Yaakov (Zikhron). Her recordings include M‘ayin Yavo, original Jewish music based on traditional texts (including five pieces honored at Shalshelet festivals), Ot Azoi! – Yiddish with a zest of jazz, and Tfilotai, traditional and original prayers, created in collaboration with HUC Jerusalem as a resource for educators. Forthcoming is a double cd of Ladino from Saloniki, a project supported by Haifa University and the Recanati family under the musical direction of Dr. Suzanna Weich-Shahak. Her compositions appear in Transcontinental Music Shabbat Anthologies IV and V. She lives with her family in Haifa, Israel. www.oritperlman.com