Education and Inspiration, Grounded in Strategic Planning
Education and Inspiration, Grounded in Strategic Planning
Songleader Boot Camp (SLBC) provides powerful Jewish leadership training for clergy, Jewish educators, religious and day school teachers, family engagement and early childhood specialists, teen leaders, Jewish camping staff, and veteran and new songleaders. Led by nationally renowned Jewish thought leaders, educators, and music artists, SLBC teaches participants specific skills and strategies to inspire transformative change in their Jewish communities. At SLBC, education and inspiration are grounded in strategic planning.
SLBC programs include SLBC national and regional conferences, individual coaching, and leadership training seminars for synagogues, synagogue board of directors, and Jewish conferences.
The SLBC National Conference, held every February in St. Louis, features a wide range of dynamic courses that explore a holistic approach to powerful and effective leadership in the Jewish world. The SLBC National Conference experience is soaked in inspirational Jewish music and communal singing. Participants do not need to sing or play an instrument to fully experience ALL that SLBC has to offer. Music is just one of many vehicles for connection and inspiration that is explored at SLBC conferences.
SLBC is a national signature initiative of the St. Louis Jewish Community Center.
Registration is NOW OPEN for the biggest SLBC of all time! More people than ever before will be able to experience the love, learning and leadership of the SLBC community through this multi-week virtual conference. All sessions will be recorded and available for 2 months AFTER the SLBC Virtual Conference.
SLBC Virtual Conference Experiences
Grab your SLBC All-Access Virtual Pass TODAY to take part in ALL of these incredible conference experiences.
Feb. 9-12: SLBC Tefilah & Shira Kallah (All-Access pass ONLY)
Tues.-Thurs. 6:30-8:30PM Central
Wed.-Fri. 11:30-1:30PM Central
Feb 14-16: SLBC National Conference
Sun. 12PM-11PM Central
Mon. 9:30AM – 11PM Central
Tues. 9:30AM – 4:45PM Central
Feb. 16-18: SLBC Songleader Summit (All-Access pass ONLY)
Tues. 6:30PM-8:30PM Central
Wed. 11:30AM-1:30PM, 6:30PM-8:30PM Central
Thurs. 11:30AM-1:30PM, 6:30PM-8:30PM Central
Learn tons of music from our expansive SLBC Repertoire Video Archive featuring hundreds of original songs taught by our core educators, presenters and participants! The SLBC Repertoire Video Archive will be available for two months following the conference to all registered participants.
SLBC group rates are offered to encourage congregations, camps, Jewish organizations, and entire Jewish communities to work strategically towards creating meaningful and lasting systemic change on an organizational or community-wide scale. SLBC group participants leave SLBC with a shared vocabulary, skill set, and strategy for creating lasting impact in their home communities. SLBC groups will have opportunities to work together as a group to draft a Strategic Road Map specifically created for their organization. This SLBC Strategic Road Map outlines a unified vision, goals, milestones, and specific action items.
Registration closes on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. If you wish to cancel your SLBC Virtual Conference registration on or before January 1, 2021 there is a $150 cancellation fee. No registration fees will be refunded after January 1, 2021.
The Songleader Boot Camp (SLBC) National Conference is one of the top immersive Jewish leadership training opportunities in the country led by nationally renowned Jewish leaders, educators and music artists. SLBC teaches participants about the many vehicles they have to create powerful, interactive connections, expand leadership abilities, and learn specific skills and techniques to inspire change in their communities.
*The SLBC National Conference includes the SLBC Repertoire Video Archive featuring hundreds of original songs taught by our core educators and presenters!
There are leadership skills that people are born with and there are leadership skills that people can cultivate. SLBC gives tangible, practical takeaways in how to be the best prayer-leader, how to be the best Songleader, how to be the best jewish leader you can be.
– Rabbi David Ingber, Romemu, New York, NY
I have never seen anything like SLBC in any other environment. The level of inspiration is so high and the commitment to translation is so significant.
– Rabbi Sharon Brous, IKAR, Los Angeles, CA
SLBC is proud to partner with Ramah National Commission to present the SLBC Tefilah & Shira Kallah (Feb 9-12) that leads the SLBC National Conference (Feb 14-16). Join Eliana Light, Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, and special guest presenters and educators as we explore the rich history of our liturgical heritage and discuss how to craft meaningful prayer experiences, no matter the time or place, virtual or in person. Where do we fit into our own prayer experience and how can we take others on that journey for themselves? As both pray-ers and practitioners, let’s sing, learn, move, create, and open our hearts together.
* The SLBC Tefilah & Shira Kallah is open to participants from all denominations.
If you’re a person who knows that there is the transcendent and it is accessible to us and prayer is the way to reach toward it, then come to SLBC and they will show you the first rungs on the ladder. And the climbing? That’s yours.
– Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, CA
The capstone of the SLBC 2021 experience will be the first SLBC Songleader Summit (Feb 16-18), an intensive songleading skills development program for both new and veteran songleaders looking to take their leadership, teaching and presentation abilities to the next level. From its inception, SLBC has believed that songleaders are some of the most powerful educators in Jewish life. Especially in virtual spaces, our communities need engaging and captivating music leaders and educators more than ever. Learn techniques from some of the best Jewish artists and leaders in North America and share ideas and best practices with songleaders from all over the world! Courses will focus on skills/technique, leadership/presentation skills, song session preparation and planning, audio/visual equipment for songleading, personal care, and more.
I don’t know of any place like this place. SLBC is a blend of music and conversation and inspiration and worship and really collective thinking together about what are the needs of our time. SLBC is transformative!
– Rabbi Bradley Artson, American Jewish University, Los Angeles, CA
Ellen Allard, a multi-award-winning Recording Artist, Performer, Music Educator, Composer, and Coach, is one of the most influential performers on today’s Jewish music scene. With a strong commitment to building community through music, Ellen has a unique, charismatic, charming, and heartwarming way of encouraging audiences to join together in playful singing, whether she is performing a concert, presenting a workshop, conducting her On-The-Spot choir, or leading Tot Shabbat, Religious School or Intergenerational Wow Worship, or an adult worship service. Ellen holds a BA in music from Boston University and a Master’s in education from Arcadia University. She is a certified holistic health coach, baby/toddler yoga teacher, Kidding Around Yoga and Yoga Yeladim teacher, and a certified Rhythm ‘n’ Ruach teacher. She lives in Boston, MA and has two daughters and sons-in-law who have blessed her with six grandchildren and one rambunctious grand-dog.
Rabbi Brad Artson is one of the most prominent leaders of Conservative Judaism. A top rabbi, author, speaker and educator, Rabbi Artson brings 25 years of experience in leading and growing spiritual communities and educational programs. Rabbi Artson is Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California, where he is Vice-President. He also serves on the Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism; provides educational and religious oversight for Camp Ramah of California; and is Dean of the Zecharias Frankel College at the University of Potsdam in Germany.
At a time when many Jewish congregations are struggling to retain and engage their communities, Rabbi Artson has been incredibly successful in growing communities. During his ten-years as Rabbi of Congregation Eilat in Mission Viejo, the congregation tripled from about 200 families to over 600. During that period, his Introduction to Judaism course helped over 200 people convert to Judaism, and 10 of his congregants have since entered the rabbinate. In 2008, Artson ordained the first African Rabbi in Subsaharan Africa. While in Africa, he joined a Beit Din in converting 250 Africans from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Uganda.
Artson’s books, magazine articles and Internet articles garner audiences in the tens of thousands. He is the author of 7 books, a regular contributor to Huffington Post, and has written over 250 articles in several magazines. His weekly Torah commentary has over 13,000 internet subscribers!
Senior Rabbi,Temple Emanuel, Denver, CO
Joseph Black has served as Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Denver, CO since July, 2010 – previously serving as Rabbi of Congregation Albert in Albuquerque, New Mexico from 1996-2010. He served as Assistant and then Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel in Minneapolis, Minnesota from 1987-1996. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Education from Northwestern University in 1982 and his Master’s degree and Rabbinic Ordination from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1987. In 2012 he received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from HUC-JIR. Rabbi Black serves as a Chaplain in the Colorado House of Representatives and is Past President of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council. A Nationally recognized musician, he has recorded 5 albums of original Jewish music and published two songbooks. He also is an accomplished writer and poet. Rabbi Black has published several poems and articles in leading national literary and academic journals. He is a frequent contributor to anthologies and collections of Jewish writing. He has recorded five critically-acclaimed albums of Jewish music, a songbook and two videos. Two of his songs, Boker Tov and The Afikoman Mambo have been made into Children’s books and distributed by the PJ Library. His most recent book, There Once Was A Man From Canaan: The Five Books of Limerick, is a collection of Limericks based on each torah portion. He has performed his original music in many communities in the United States and Canada and has received numerous honors for his performance and composition. Rabbi Black is a pioneer of Jewish Contemporary music. He has performed for congregations and communities around the world. His recordings and books have received accolades from sources as diverse as The New York Times, Haddasah Magazine, Parent’s Choice, The American Library Journal and Kids First: The Coalition for Quality Children’s Video. As a musician, Rabbi Black 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.
Rabbi Sharon Brous, spiritual leader of IKAR in Los Angeles, was recognized in 2013 as the most influential Rabbi in the United States by Newsweek and the Daily Beast, and as one of the Forward’s 50 most influential American Jews. Rabbi Brous has been on the list of America’s 50 Top Rabbis every year since 2008. In 2012, she became the first female rabbi to break into the top 10. In 2013, she blessed the President and Vice President at the Inaugural National Prayer Service. Rabbi Brous is co-founder of IKAR in Los Angeles – one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in the country.
Texas born and southern raised, Joe Buchanan makes country music that is steeped in Torah and the trials of the human spirit. He grew up struggling with religion and his place in the world until one day outside of the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., and 13 years into their marriage, his wife revealed that she was Jewish. An exploration of faith led the way home for the whole family and kicked off a whirlwind of songwriting, ultimately leading to Joe’s debut album, Unbroken. Since his conversion, he’s toured the country leading services, concerts, and workshops. Joe’s goal is to help drive connection to what connects us all and to hold the door for other seekers. His latest release is Back From Babylon and his website is www.joebuchananmusic.com
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 with Jews of all denominations from Houston to Chicago and Los Angeles to Boston, both as a scholar in residence and in her capacity as past Director of Programs for Synagogue 2000, a national, notfor-profit institute dedicated to revitalizing and re-energizing synagogue life in North America.
Ellen 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. She is a native Texan, a graduate of HUC-JIR 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.
A native of Los Angeles,California, Rabbi Rebecca L. Dubowe was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Dubowe has served several synagogues including Thousand Oaks, CA, Hollywood, CA and New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Currently, she is the rabbi for Moses Montefiore Congregation in Bloomington, Illinois. Since Rabbi Dubowe’s arrival during the summer of 2015, she has played an active role as the spokesperson on behalf of the small but vibrant Jewish community in Bloomington.
Rabbi Dubowe serves as the co-chair of the Faith and Outreach committee associated with the Not In Our Town organization. Not In Our Town is a grassroots movement about stopping hate, addressing bullying, and building safe, inclusive communities for all. In addition, Rabbi Dubowe co-founded the McLean County Interfaith Alliance which promotes interfaith dialogue and fellowship within the greater Bloomington Normal faith communities.
In 2016, Rabbi Dubowe was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Delaware Valley University, PA and received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion in 2018.
Besides serving the rabbinate full-time, Rabbi Dubowe offers her time to the greater Jewish Deaf Community. This community has a special place in Rabbi Dubowe’s life as she is the first female deaf Rabbi ordained in the world. Rabbi Dubowe has spoken at numerous synagogues throughout the country, written various articles, and led webinars about the importance of inclusion within the Jewish community.
Hazzan Joanna Dulkin is committed to innovative musical and spiritual leadership that inspires joy, connection and meaning at all ages and stages. She has taught and performed internationally as a Cantor-, Musician- and Scholar-in residence, and her music is sung in congregations and kehilot all over the world. Her background as a Jewish camp songleader, musician and educator led her to the Cantorate. She currently serves Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka, MN and is a proud mentor and teacher both within the walls of the congregation and beyond. She is a Vice President of the Cantors Assembly, was on the editorial committee for the Conservative movement’s Siddur Lev Shalem,
Joanna grew up in the Reform movement in Northern California, and was the first Head Songleader in the history of URJ Camp Newman. While studying at JTS’s H.L. Miller Cantorial School, Joanna spent four summers as the Rosh Shira of Ramah Darom. She has worked with Institute for Jewish Spirituality as a student and faculty member, and recently completed her Yoga teacher training.
Rabbi Ed Feinstein is delighted to return to SLBC. He works as senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California and lecturer at the Ziegler Rabbinical School of the American Jewish University. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he earned his doctorate in education, he served as the founding director of the Solomon Schechter Academy of Dallas and director of Camp Ramah in California. He teaches for the Wexner Heritage program, the Shalom Hartman Institute, and lectures across North America. Rabbi Feinstein is author of five (good) books, father to three (married & employed!) children and one small dog, and husband to Rabbi Nina Bieber Feinstein. Every Friday, he bakes brownies from a recipe revealed to his ancestors at Mount Sinai.
Erica Goldman has been an engineering linguist, a high school English teacher, an Israel exchange program coordinator, and through it all, a joyful Israeli dance teacher. A two-time Brandeis University graduate, Erica holds an MBA and a Masters in Jewish Professional Leadership and is a grateful Wexner Fellow. Erica is an Educator for the Cornerstone Fellowship, a program of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and in May 2015, she launched Ma’agal, an initiative to improve Israeli dance education at schools and camps across the nation. Erica is currently the Director of Program and Operations for JPRO Network and is delighted to help support all those who work for the Jewish community in the US and Canada.
Congregation Shaare Emeth, St. Louis
Rabbi Andrea Goldstein has served Congregation Shaare Emeth, the largest Reform synagogue in St. Louis, for the past 20 years. For over 10 years she has been weaving mindfulness practices such as meditation, tikkun middot study and yoga into her personal and professional life. She is a graduate of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Rabbinic Leadership Program and the Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teachers’ Training Program. Rabbi Goldstein finds that these practices bring Judaism alive for her and her community in new and meaningful ways. She is proud to be the founder and director of the Jewish Mindfulness Center of St. Louis, which officially opened in the spring of 2018. The Center offers classes, workshops and holiday celebrations to all, and she is excited and honored to be bringing two workshops to SLBC this year. Rabbi Goldstein is married to Brett Goldstein and is the mother of Macey, Eli, and Lila.
Rabbi Greenstein has served Temple Israel, Memphis’ historic 165-year-old synagogue, for three decades, sustaining its position as the largest congregation in Tennessee and the Deep South. Reflecting Temple Israel’s commitment to serving the greater community, Greenstein was recognized as Memphis Magazine’s first “Memphian of the Year” in 2013. Greenstein was the first rabbi to preach at the Washington Cathedral on a Major State Day for Tennessee in 2005. Other honors include the 2011 Memphis City Council’s Humanitarian Award, 2012 President’s Humanitarian Award by Memphis Theological Seminary, and 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Be The Dream” Legacy Award. He was named among America’s Top 50 Rabbis in 2012 and 2013 by Newsweek/The Daily Beast. Greenstein served as two-time president of the Memphis Ministers Association, on the national board of the NAACP and executive board of the National Civil Rights Museum. In 2019 he was named him one of the “Top 40 Change Makers for Memphis.”
Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann is the founder of Mishkan, an independent, post-denominational spiritual community in Chicago whose mission is to reimagine and breathe new life into Judaism, leading people toward greater purpose, connection and inspiration. She was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, an alumnus of the Laboratory School, Stanford University and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, and is excited to be returning to the stellar faculty of SLBC with her husband Henry Bernstein and budding song leaders, Judah Lev and Adira Hannah.
Director of Jewish Engagement & Adult Programs at the Ruth & Harold Sher Center of Jewish Life
Rabbi Brad Horwitz began his current position at the St. Louis Jewish Community Center in 2005 where he directs the JCC Ruth & Harold Sher Center of Jewish Life and supervises all JCC Jewish adult, cultural, senior services, community and family education programming. He graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary (New York) in 2000 but is originally from Los Angeles, CA. In addition to his rabbinic ordination, he earned a Master’s in Jewish Education (MJE) and has leadership experience at many Jewish camps and day schools. As a graduate of the Day School Leadership Training Institute, Rabbi Brad is well versed in Jewish educational leadership both in formal and informal settings. He has particular expertise in prayer education and is the author of With All Your Heart: A Weekday Siddur that is currently in use at over fifty Jewish schools and religious institutions worldwide. Brad is a loving husband and proud father of three boys who has a penchant for cycling.
Founder/Spiritual Leader, Romenu
Rabbi Ingber was named by Newsweek as one of 2013’s top 50 most influential rabbis in the United States as well as by The Forward as one of the 50 most newsworthy and notable Jews in America, Rabbi David promotes a renewed Jewish mysticism that integrates meditative mindfulness and physical awareness into mainstream, post-modern Judaism. A major 21st Century Jewish thinker and educator, his rich perspective, open heart and mind, and full-bodied approach to Jewish learning has brought him to speak throughout the United States and worldwide throughout Canada, Europe and Israel.
Rabbi David’s distinct approach to Torah, rabbinical teaching, and ritualistic practice is informed by his own personal seeking and learning from a wide cross-section of sacred traditions and faiths. He is enlightened by Jewish mysticism and Chassidut, fusing these beliefs with those of other ancient philosophies and world views. Particular influences include 18th Century Kabbalist and Founder of Chassidut, Rabbi Yisrael Ba’al Shem Tov; the great 19th Century Ishbitzer Rebbe, R. Mordechai Leiner; and leading 20th Century thinkers from Kabbalist, Rav Abraham Isaac Kook to psychologist, Carl Jung and integral philosopher, Ken Wilber.
Rabbi David has taught at such eminent institutions as the Academy for Jewish Religion, Columbia University, CUNY, Jewish Theological Seminary, Limmud LA, New York University, the 92nd Street Y, Pardes, The Skirball Center at Temple Emmanuel, and Yeshivat HADAR. He sits on the Board of Directors of Aleph and Synagogue 3000 Next Dor’s Working Group of Sacred Emergent Communities where he continues to teach.
Raised Modern Orthodox in New York, Rabbi David studied at several distinguished yeshivot in Jerusalem and New York including Yeshiva University, Beit Midrash L’Torah, Yeshivat Chaim Berlin, and Yeshivat Chovovei Torah Rabbinical School. He also studied philosophy, psychology and religion at New York University. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of Renewal Judaism, ordained Rabbi David in 2004. Prior to founding Romemu, Rabbi David was Rabbi-in-Residence at Elat Chayyim Retreat Center.
Touring Artist/Educator, Asheville, NC
Billy Jonas is “Bridging Divides,” through rhythm and song, to heal divisions within ourselves, families, communities, and the world. Ask him about “Songs for Bridging Divides 2020 and Beyond!” Billy has captivated audiences worldwide since 1987, using voice, guitar and “industrial re-percussion” (instruments made from found objects). 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 HaTephila in Asheville NC. From the White House to the Middle East and beyond, each concert is a soul-spelunking, heart healing, joy-filled journey.
We are proud to bring back beloved, featured presenter, Shira Kline, to the 2017 SLBC National Conference. An award winning New York-based performer and music educator, Shira travels both nationally and internationally with her kiddie-rock band, Shir LaLa, delivering a dynamic, interactive program of joy and spirit, story and song.
Shira is an outspoken supporter of active learning and practicing presentation skills in a real-world setting in order to achieve mastery. “Doing it in front of the mirror will only get you so far. SLBC is a really great safe environment for people to climb up those steps, trip fall down, smile get back up, try it again and make their way to the top,” she said.
Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.03.39 PMRaised in the world of music and the tradition of Torah, Shira has worked for over a decade with a diverse array of Jewish communities to enliven rituals, holiday celebrations, and love for Jewish life and prayer. Shira’s innovative approach was recognized by The Jewish Week in 2011 when they honored her as one of their “36 Under 36: The New Re-Engineers” of Jewish life.
Shira is a worship leader and presents engaging programs for all ages, including Tot Shabbat, adult Jewish music meditation and professional development workshops for early childhood and music teachers. She is also on the faculty of Hava Nashira, URJ Jewish Music Institute, and the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Cantorial Certification Program. Shira is a founding company member of Storahtelling and Lab/Shul in which she is an actor, writer, and ritual leader.
Charlie Kramer is song & spirit.
Legally blind and armed with an acoustic guitar, Charlie Kramer unites, magnetizes and elevates the communities around him. As a touring songleader, songwriter & spiritual leader. Charlie has sung with communities throughout North America, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.
Founder and Creative Director of the blindfolded singing and healing experience, Singing in the Dark, Charlie shares the story of his blindness across the world through music and meditation, helping others to face their challenges and uncover the many blessings within their lives.
Visit www.charliekramermusic.com to learn more about Charlie’s story, music and offerings.
Rabbi Sandra Lawson is a native of St. Louis and serves as the campus rabbi for Elon University, She is an opinion writer for the Jewish publication The Forward and a public speaker on diversity in the Jewish community. Rabbi Sandra’s vision as a Rabbi is to help build a more inclusive Jewish community where all who want to come are welcomed, diversity is embraced and we can come together to learn and to pray. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from Clark Atlanta University and is an Army Veteran In her free time you can either find me at the gym, biking or hiking.
Touring Artist/Worship Music Leader/Educator, Brooklyn, NY
Naomi Less, (Lab/Shul Founding Ritual Leader) is a Brooklyn-based, internationally celebrated singer/songwriter, ritualist and educator. Her original music, sung in worship communities worldwide, is melodic with both high energy hooks and soulful vulnerability. She hosts the Jewish Women Rock show on Jewish Rock Radio. Naomi co-created TRYmester, a touring performance piece, bringing hidden stories of fertility challenges to light. Known for her warm smile and inviting presence, communities comment on her imagination and innovation as well as tenderness and pizzazz!
Eliana Light envisions a joyful, vibrant, heart-centered Judaism that speaks to the soul and moves the spirit, reminding us that we all are One. She offers professional development to educators, clergy, and lay leaders to elevate and deepen their prayer gatherings, allowing them to offer more meaningful experiences to more people. She is also a sought-after songwriter and performer of catchy, content-rich tunes for all ages, and has put out three albums of original music. Eliana received her Master’s in Jewish Education from the Davidson school at JTS in 2016, and is based in Durham, North Carolina.
Elana has been working at the intersection of special education and Jewish education for over 15 years. She directs the Tikvah program for kids with disabilities at Camp Ramah in California, which includes a camper program, a vocational program for young adults and a camp for families that have children with special needs. Elana is an adjunct faculty member in the Special Education department at San Francisco State. Elana has consulted with multiple Jewish institutions to aid them in thinking about how to be more inclusive of Jews of all abilities. She has taught professional development courses in differentiated instruction, behavior management and teaching Hebrew. She is Co-Founder of Edah, a Jewish after school program located in Berkeley, California, and lives there with her husband and three boys, Yair, Nevo and Etai.
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.
Touring Children’s Music Artist/Educator, San Diego, CA
Mikey Pauker (pronounced pow-ker) is a Jewish Rock artist from Fairfax, California. Pauker has been described as one of “The 10 Stars Of The New Jewish Music via TIME Magazine. He has released multiple albums including Sim Shalom, Mikey Pauker & The JoyMachine, Extraordinary Love, The Sages EP & ASCENSION. His “Sim Shalom,” Hinei Mah Tov (Eeoohh),” and “Shalom Alecheim” were all featured in the Transcontinental Ruach compilations. Many of his melodies have gained global popularity within all of the major Jewish youth group and summer camp movements.
Pauker has shared the stage with artists including: Matisyahu, Trevor Hall, Rebelution, Chronixx, Stephen Marley, Donavon Frankenreiter, Ayla Nereo, The Polish Ambassador, Mike Love and others. Notable performance highlights include Red Rocks, Hullaween, Cali World Fest, Electric Forest and more. He is currently the music director of Or Shalom in San Francisco.
Informal Education Expert, SLBC Program Director
Elisa Heiligman Recht is a Jewish community leader and educator with extensive experience in Jewish youth programming, camping, and teaching. Elisa regularly serves as a consultant for Jewish organizations throughout the US helping to develop powerful and effective strategies for creating exciting youth engagement experiences in Jewish settings. Elisa creates Jewish educational curricula and sprearheads the educational programming of the Songleader Boot Camp. Elisa holds undergraduate degrees in social work, Hebrew and Jewish studies, as well as a masters degree in social work from Washington University. Elisa is the founder of Soul Sparkler Jewelry and presents interactive, educational programs in Jewish communities throughout the US, inspiring audiences to achieve life balance through intention, gratitude, and wellness strategies.
Touring Artist/Educator, SLBC Founder & Executive Director
Rick Recht is the executive director of SLBC and the top-touring musician in Jewish music playing over 150 concerts a year in the United States and abroad. Recht is widely recognized for his appeal to youth and family audiences not only as an exceptional musician, singer/songwriter, and entertainer, but also as a role model for involvement in Jewish life. He has become an icon for Jewish youth in the United States, elevating the medium of Jewish music as a powerful and effective tool for developing Jewish pride and identity among the masses. Recht is the national music spokesman for The PJ Library and the founder and executive director of Jewish Rock Radio (501c3), the first high-caliber, 24/7, Jewish rock internet radio station.
Founding Rabbi, Central Reform Synagogue: St. Louis, MO
Rabbi Susan Talve is the founding rabbi of the only Jewish congregation located within the City limits of St. Louis, Central Reform Congregation. When other congregations were leaving the city for the suburbs, Rabbi Talve joined with a small group to keep a vibrant presence in the city to be on the front line of fighting the racism and poverty plaguing the urban center. Today she performs life cycle events, leads worship services for the seven hundred fifty plus households that comprise the congregation, and is actively involved in the teaching of young and adult members. She also teaches courses on Jewish life and thought and in both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities.
Rabbi Talve has led her congregation in promoting radical inclusivity by developing ongoing relationships with African-American and Muslim congregations, and by fostering civil liberties for the LGBTQ community. Rabbi Talve attributes her success to the relationships she has built by showing up, from street corners where violent crime has taken lives to rallies for worker’s rights, gun control and access to health care to the bedside of the suffering regardless of religion or membership in her community.
Rabbi Talve was ordained by Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 1981, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Letters and a Doctor of Divinity. She was honored with the college’s Stephen Levinson Award for Community Service after founding the Jewish Early Learning Cooperative, Ohio’s first licensed infant childcare program in the workplace. She was the first non-Christian to receive an honorary Doctorate from Eden Theological Seminary in 2011 for a career of visionary and bold leadership and supporting interfaith relations in the St. Louis community. She has received many awards for her efforts on behalf of the Jewish and non-Jewish communities.
Rabbi Talve and husband, Rabbi James Stone Goodman of Neve Shalom Congregation, are proud parents of three wonderful adults.
Touring Jewish Musician, Songleader, and Composer
At the SLBC National Conference, participants are encouraged to choose their own adventure by selecting courses in the Worship Leader, Jewish Educator, Early Childhood, Day School or Songleader Tracks. Participants are welcome to attend electives from any of the SLBC Tracks throughout the conference.
The SLBC Chavurot (Ramah Chavurah, Staenberg Camping Chavurah, Day School Chavurah, and Staenberg Teen Chavurah) are cohorts that have their own independent team programming during SLBC National Conference. Chavurot participants apply for these cohorts separately from SLBC general registration.
The Worship Leader Track, directed by Cantor Ellen Dreskin, was created to support the spiritual, educational, and professional goals of worship leaders including rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators, teens, songleaders, and lay leaders. Topics for worship leader sessions include theology, prayer expansion and interpretation, diversity in text study, Shabbat repertoire, leadership in prayer, building a singing community and more.
All SLBC attendees are Jewish educators – some teach on the bima, at synagogue, in classrooms, at camp, in song, or other areas of Jewish life. SLBC Jewish Educator Track features courses that teach skills, cover topics, and explore strategies that touch on a broad range of Jewish settings.
Jewish songleaders are some of the most powerful educators and leaders in Jewish life. From its inception, SLBC National Conference has featured a diverse offering of courses for both new and veteran songleaders including general leadership, songleading skills, repertoire, the business of songleading, the equipment of songleading, songession planning, songleading resources, and personal care.
The SLBC Day School track shares a variety of courses geared toward Jewish day school teachers including curricular planning, presentation skills, mindfulness, planning and leading engaging tefilot, utilization of music in the classroom, honoring students with special needs, and more.
The SLBC Family Engagement/ Early Childhood Track offers a variety of courses for individuals who work with young children and their families. Courses in the track focus on leadership skills, strategies, and resources that are particularly unique to this demographic. There are also courses in this track that focus on early childhood repertoire and the utilization of music for young children and their families.
With gracious support from the Staenberg Family Foundation, Songleader Boot Camp and the JCC Association are excited to offer Jewish over night and day camping a program to transform the musical cultures and leadership of Jewish camping.
For the last 8 years, Ramah constituents have gathered annually in the SLBC Ramah Chavurah for 3 days of immersive learning, t’fillah (prayer), strategic road-mapping, song leadership, and spiritual exploration at the SLBC National Conference.
With gracious support from the Staenberg Family Foundation, SLBC is excited to expand the Teen Chavurah at SLBC ‘21. Led by Naomi Less and Charlie Kramer, the goal of the Teen Chavurah program is to build strong, vibrant, future leaders of the Jewish world.
In 2018, SLBC launched the SLBC Day School Chavurah for day school students in grades six through eight. Over the last two years, Jewish day schools from St. Louis, Milwaukee, Rochester, and Greensboro joined together to explore the roles and leadership skills necessary for students to effectively lead tefilah (prayer) and shira (song), as well as a variety of programs in day school settings.
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