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, 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 SLBC ’24! 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!
The J – St. Louis
Jewish Community Center
2 Millstone Campus Dr, St. Louis, MO 63146
Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel
191 W Port Plaza Dr, St. Louis, MO 63146
Sunday, February 18: 2pm to 10:30pm
Monday, February 19: 8:45am to 10:30pm
Tuesday, February 20: 8:45am to 3:30pm
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
• Ground Transportation (includes shuttle to/from airport and to/from hotel and conference site): $40
• Shared Hotel Room (Sun & Mon): $150
• Private Hotel Room (Sun & Mon): $300
• Additional Night Shared Hotel Room (Sat): $75
• Additional Night Private Hotel Room (Sat or Tues): $150
If you wish to cancel your SLBC National Conference registration ($425) on or before January 1, 2024 there is a $150 cancellation fee. No registration fees will be refunded after January 1, 2024.
* Expenses already incurred by SLBC will not be refunded after January 30 including hotel and ground transportation.
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.
SLBC requires participants attending in-person to provide proof of a negative COVID rapid test taken within 48 hours of arriving at SLBC. We strongly encourage everyone who registers for the 2023 SLBC National Conference in person to carefully review the SLBC COVID Policy. The policy WILL IMPACT your registration.
SLBC is housed at the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis (The J). The J staff is regularly trained for worst-case scenarios in Situational Awareness and for a variety of unlikely events including active shooters and bombs. In February, the J and SLBC will assess and take appropriate security precautions based on recommendations from local law enforcement agencies.
While it is the policy of the J not to publicly disclose specifics regarding security plans, it’s important that you know that they take security very seriously at the J and already practice best practices.
The J is supported by a large and well-run security team, led by Security Director, Scott Biondo who was engaged several years ago to assist all Jewish agencies in their security planning and preparedness. Scott and his team of security professionals are located primarily on the J Campus, but they also provide additional physical presence when appropriate throughout the community.
The J has a direct relationship with both St. Louis County and Chesterfield Police Departments, as well as the St. Louis Fusion Center, a collaborative effort that includes myriad law enforcement agencies to provide resources, expertise, and information to help detect, prevent, investigate and respond to terrorist activity. It is important to note that THERE ARE NO INDICATIONS OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY IN THE ST. LOUIS AREA AT THIS TIME.
Cantor Laurie Akers is celebrated cantor and Jewish Rock Radio artist whose compositions have received national acclaim. Her songs are published in seven liturgical anthologies. Cantor Akers is the founder of the Jewish Rock Radio Chicago Sings concert series and the Cantors Assembly program, Shir Chadash. In addition, Cantor Akers hosts her own Jewish Rock Radio program, Pathways to Prayer.
Cantor Akers is a member of the cantorial trio, Shul Sisters, whose performances include headlining the 2020 and 2021 International Lion of Judah Conferences, the JUF of Chicago Women’s Gala with Diane Von Furstenberg, the Neranenah/Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, the Jews4Joe Inauguration Party featuring Mayim Bialik, the Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Humanitarian Awards with President George Bush, and the JDCA Path to Victory program featuring Nancy Pelosi. Cantor Akers was among the four cantors who participated in the historical 2021 Hampton Synagogue’s Thanksgiving weekend concert in which female cantors were invited to sing on their bima for the first time
Rob Aronson is a Jewish singer/songwriter who loves to share his passion for Judaism through his music. Rob’s original songs are inspiring, foster congregational participation and provide a deep spiritual connection to Judaism. Annual song leading workshops, Hava Nashira and Songleader Boot Camp, fueled Rob’s musical drive, enhanced his song leading skills and techniques, and gave him the opportunity to network with numerous talented friends in the Jewish music community. Rob grew up at Congregation Temple Israel and for the past 12 years has been actively involved in bringing the joy of Jewish music to worship services.
Rob is a co-emcee of “SLBC Late Night” alongside Joe Buchanan.
Shira Berkowitz is an artist and social impact designer, policy strategist, and entrepreneur with an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. They have over a decade of experience leading civic and political strategy, from working within arts institutions, issues-based campaigns, and advocacy organizations. Currently, Shira is the Sr. Director of Policy and Advocacy for PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBTQ+ policy and advocacy organization. They are a co-founder of MaTovu, a Jewish cooperative neighborhood center in the City of St. Louis, serves on the Board of Directors for the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, and founded Camp Indigo Point – a residential summer camp for LGBTQ+ youth rooted in the Midwest.
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 ultimately led to Joe’s debut album, Unbroken. Since his conversion, he’s toured the country leading prayer, concerts, and workshops. Joe’s goal is to help drive connection to what connects us all and to hold the door for other seekers. A blend of Southern soul and country charm, his music is grounded in the belief that there is always more room at the table. His latest release is Back From Babylon and his website is www.joebuchananmusic.com.
Rabbi Noah Diamondstein joined the Temple Sinai, Washington D.C. clergy team in the summer of 2020. He has had wide ranging experiences as a scholar of Judaism — from handling primary source documents from early 20th Century rabbis who wrote about the Mourners’ Kaddish, to teaching the leadership of Jerusalem’s Women of the Wall movement to blow shofar, to serving as a rabbinic intern at a Jewish Social Justice non-profit organization. His rabbinic thesis is entitled “A Tale of Two Liturgies: Placing Liturgical Development in the Reform and Conservative Movements in Conversation,” and focused on the differences and similarities between the ways these two Liberal Jewish movements approach the work of creating new prayer books. This project was meaningful for him, given that he was raised simultaneously in both the Conservative and Reform Movements.
Noah is also a published Jewish musician. His first album, entitled “Ashira L’Adonai,” was released in January 2019 and produced by none other than Dan Nichols. His second album, “My Whole Heart,” was released in four “chambers” in 2022, again with engineering by Mark Niemec. He is a Featured Artist on Jewish Rock Radio, and spent much of his final year before coming to Temple Sinai as a guest service leader or artist-in-residence in Jewish communities across the country. His musical work has helped him to fine-tune his skills as a service leader, and has taught him the power of leaving your ego at the door for the sake of holding space for the group.
Noah is a multi-instrumentalist who plays almost every instrument on his records, from guitar, to bass, to drums, to mandolin, to trumpet to vocals and more! His music crosses genres from folk to pop to hard rock, and his textual influences span liturgy, TaNaKh, and rabbinic texts. He works to create intentional prayer practice with communities he gets to serve and with whom he gets to sing, and is constantly searching for new ways to inspire people to think and feel deeply about life and how Jewish tradition, stories and thought can imbue it with meaning.
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.
Zoey Fleisher (they/them) engages in work that spans across disciplines emphasizing education, non-profit development, and social justice facilitation. In addition to directing the Day School Chavurah at SLBC since 2018, they are a program designer and strategist with Tiny Windows Consulting where they are able to work with clients such as JGirls+, NCJW, USCJ, & JFNA . Other notable professional roles include assistant director of Camp Indigo Point, hebrew tutor for local congregation Temple Emmanuel, songleader/relgious school teacher at Temple Beth Shalom in COMO, facilitator and middle school camp director at Cultural Leadership, board member of CHARIS, and youth specialist at Flourish. Zoey is a recent graduate of Webster University where they completed a bachelor’s degree in Choral/General Music Education with a minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Carla Friend is the Founder & Executive Director of Tkiya, an organization with the mission of creating joyful Jewish connection through participatory music experiences. Her team of 16 help thousands of families across the country find their unique connection with Jewish culture and community through Carla’s methodology. This year, Carla and Tkiya are opening up a training program which will allow educators everywhere to be trained in this unique approach. Carla is a 2018 recipient of the Young Pioneers Award from the Jewish Education Project, a 2019 recipient of 36 Under 36 from the Jewish Week, is on the board of JPro, and hosts a JKids Radio show called “Tkiya Town”. Check out her album of family-friendly Jewish music called “Challalalah”.
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.
Shira Kline (she, her) is a queer performance and ritual artist, recognized as a revolutionary educator and named one of the new re-engineers of Jewish life today. Co-founder and Spiritual Leader of Lab/Shul, Shira works in the field of sacred play. She is known in the sanctuary as a spiritual adventurist and to the under-five set as colorful kiddie-rocker ShirLaLa. In a synagogue or international conference near you, Shira tours extensively locally and globally with a vibrant invitation to connect, for a new and realized conscious world. At home in Brooklyn, unceded Lenape lands, she lives to dance, cook, and play with her beloved and their daughter.
Legally blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa, Charlie Kramer unites, magnetizes and elevates those around him. Recently featured in USA Today, Charlie is a life coach for the Disabled, helping his clients gain vital self advocacy skills, independence, acceptance, and guides them in effectively accomplishing their relationship and career goals.
An international touring speaker, performer and musical artist, Charlie has traveled across North America, Israel and Australia sharing his talent and powerful message. He utilizes his blindness as a tool to educate people on the importance of inclusion, equality and radical self-acceptance.
To learn more about Charlie, his offerings and to work with him, visit www.charliekramervision.com.
Boston based Jacob ‘Spike’ Kraus is a 32 year old singer-songwriter, producer, and educator. His music has been included in the cantorial curriculum of H.U.C. – J.I.R., and is featured on Jewish Rock Radio and PJ Library. His music is inspired by prominent pop, rock, and folk artists of the last 60 years, but also heavily influenced by jazz and classical traditions. Al shlosha d’varim…the three things that Spike stands on: deep understanding of Jewish content, musicianship of the highest caliber, and an infectious energy and joy for his work. Throughout the year, Spike tours Jewish communities across the country as a performer, teacher, composer, consultant, and energetically joyful individual. Find out more at www.jacobspikekraus.com.
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 her at the gym, biking or hiking.
Eliana is working towards a world of One-ness, guided and inspired by Jewish heritage. She is the founder and head T’fillahsopher at the Light Lab and the co-host of the Light Lab podcast. 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, with two new ones on the way. Eliana offers artist-in-residence weekends, learning, and professional development centered on making Jewish liturgy and prayer practice accessible and meaningful to all seekers. Eliana received her Masters in Jewish Experiential Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2016, and is based in Durham, North Carolina.
Rabbi Jackson is the Rabbi of Base BSTN – a community run out of his home in Cambridge with his partner Rachel. Jackson was Ordained at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, MA with a Specialization in Spirituality and Social Justice and a Masters in Jewish Education with a concentration in Israel Education in conjunction with the iCenter. He has worked to build singing prayer communities across the country in California (Congregation Rodef Sholom, URJ Camp Newman, University Synagogue, and NFTY), in New York (at Kehillat Romemu as the Joseph S. Ingber Rabbinic Fellow) as well as here in Boston (Asiyah Jewish Community, Temple Beth Sholom of Framingham, Temple Beth Zion, and Mishkan Tefilah). When not recording his own music, like his most recent album – “Notnim B’ahavah Reshut”, Jackson sings with the Chaverai Nevarech Band featured on R’ Josh Warshawsky’s albums.
Rabbi Myra Meskin is the Director of the Ziering BCI Program at AJU, a once-in-a-lifetime summer program for Jews in their 20’s from around the world, who come together to build intentional community and explore identity through Jewish learning and the arts. A graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University, she holds a Masters in Experiential Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and studied in the Pardes Experiential Educators Program. Rabbi Myra loves yoga, hiking, and singing – whether alone in the car (preferably with country radio turned up and the windows down) or with friends around a shabbat table, though her singing highlight of the year is in the BCI rotunda (ask her how to apply!). She recently moved back to Los Angeles, her favorite blended landscape of ocean and mountains, with her husband Rabbi Ben Gurin and their daughter Eleanor (2 yrs).
Chava Mirel is a unique being in the world of music and spirit, defying classifications of style or genre. A multi-award winning musician and composer whose voice was recently featured on a Grammy award-winning album, Chava is highly sought-after for collaborations and recordings.
Celebrated for her rich, luxurious vocals, lush harmonies, and rhythmic phrasing, Chava is also known for her loving and compassionate presence. Regardless of setting – spiritual gathering, concert hall, classroom or jazz club – she imbues her music and teachings with the universal themes of hope, caring, connection and inclusion.
In October 2021, Chava released her fifth full-length album, “Chava Mirel: The Quarantine Sessions,” an album recorded in an electrifying live session with her jazz sextet. Chava is also proud to be the Cantorial Soloist and Musician In Residence at the historic Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle, WA.
Craig Parks has been a Jewish educator and musician for 30 years. He has created and directed Jewish summer camps, created engaging curriculum for teens, led parent groups for parents of both teens and those with special needs kids. Craig also leads weekly Jewish meditation groups both in person and online. He recently was hired at Congregation Beth El in San Diego to create a robust musical culture as well as inspire educators and create curriculum for the K-12 graders. Craig is honored to have his bar mitzvah year of being a core educator for SLBC this year and celebrate with our SLBC mishpocha!
Mikey Pauker (pronounced pow-ker) is a Devotional Rock artist from Laguna Niguel, 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.
Growing up in Orange County, Mikey’s early experiences at underground shows exposed him to the intense, primal energy of live music, as well as the strong community bonds that form in an authentic and close-knit scene. Inspired by teachers who blend yoga and mystical practices he went to study in Jerusalem, soaking up the hidden teachings of his ancestral lineage. These spiritual dimensions guided his artistic development as he explored ecstatic music festivals and mystical religious traditions.
Pauker has shared the stage with artists including: Matisyahu, Rebelution, Stephen Marley and has performed at Red Rocks, Envision, Bhakti Fest and more! Visit mikeypauker.com.
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.
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, 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 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 for 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, SLBC is excited to expand the Teen Chavurah at SLBC. Led by Jacob Spike Kraus, the goal of the Teen Chavurah program is to build strong, vibrant, future leaders of the Jewish world.
For the last 10 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.
In 2018, SLBC launched the SLBC Day School Chavurah for day school students in grades six through eight. Classes from St. Louis and Greensboro joined together for this inaugural SLBC pilot program exploring roles and leadership skills necessary for students to effectively lead tefilah (prayer) and shira (song), as well as a variety of programs in a day school setting.
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