Education and Inspiration, Grounded in Strategic Planning
February 14-17: SLBC Tefilah & Shira Kallah (Virtual)
February 17: SLBC Shabbat (Virtual)
February 19-21: SLBC National Conference (In-Person/Virtual)
February 22-23: SLBC Songleader Summit (Virtual)
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 ‘23! This year, we are thrilled to announce that SLBC is BACK in person! In addition to our in-person conference, we will be offering virtual and hybrid opportunities for those who are not planning to attend in person. This will allow more people than ever before to experience the love, learning and leadership of the SLBC community!
All virtual and hybrid sessions will be recorded and available for 2 months AFTER the SLBC Virtual Conference.
SLBC Conference Experiences
Grab your SLBC All-Access Pass TODAY to take part in ALL of these incredible SLBC conference experiences.
Feb. 14-17: SLBC Tefilah & Shira Kallah (All-Access Pass ONLY)
Tues.-Thurs. 6:30-8:30PM Central
Wed.-Fri. 11:30-1:30PM Central
Feb. 17: SLBC Shabbat
Feb 19-21: SLBC National Conference (In Person & Virtual)
Sun. 2PM-12AM Central
Mon. 9:00AM – 12AM Central
Tues. 9:00AM – 3PM Central
Feb. 22-23: SLBC Songleader Summit (All-Access Pass ONLY)
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 Songteach Video Archive featuring hundreds of original songs taught by our core educators, presenters and participants! The SLBC Songteach Video Archive will be available for two months following the conference to all registered participants.
IN-PERSON REGISTRATION OPTIONS
VIRTUAL REGISTRATION OPTIONS
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 vaccination and a rapid test. 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.
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!
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 14-17) that leads the SLBC National Conference (Feb 19-21). 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 experience is the SLBC Songleader Summit (Feb 22-23), 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.
There are leadership skills that people are born with and there are leadership skills that people can cultivate. And without cultivation, it doesn’t matter how talented you are…you really can’t become the best that you can be. 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
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.
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.
Cantor Ellen Dreskin (ellendreskin.com) is a communal prayer leader, educator, and professional mentor in the areas of liturgy, communal worship, and deepening prayer practice. Ellen has worked as a scholar-in-residence at dozens of congregations across the country, and serves as an educator and worship leader at numerous Institutes, Camps, and Conferences, including the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, HUC-JIR, SLBC, Hava Nashira, URJ Biennials, and the JCCA’s Sheva Center for Early Childhood Education.
Ellen was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1986, and has a Master’s Degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University. She is married to Rabbi Billy Dreskin, and is extremely proud of their joint projects: Katie, Jonah (z”l), and Aiden.
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.
Creating community and building empathy through story and song. Zac Gondelman is an educator, song leader, activist, and do-er based in Boston, MA. A student at Brandeis University, Zac believes deeply in the power music has to create change. Zac works to create a warm, welcoming, uplifting, and youthful space for prayer and discussion. He feels fortunate to be a part of many tight-knit communities. Zac loves keeping his finger on the pulse of the music scene, exploring new places, baking french desserts, playing with his dog, and making music.
Carla Friend is the Founder & Executive Director of Tkiya, an nonprofit organization that uses participatory music experiences to help thousands of families find their unique connection with Jewish culture and community through Carla’s educational approach. She holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education from NYU, a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Ithaca College, and has extensive experience on both the teaching and engagement ends of the field. She has taught and researched music and dance across a variety of cultures including locations such as Uganda, Japan, and the Middle East. Carla’s passion lies in community music education and connecting with culture through music and dance. She 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, graduated from UpStart Venture Accelerator’s Cohort 11, and is on the board of JPRO New York.
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.
Jacob “Spike” Kraus is a 31 year old singer/songwriter, educator & innovator based in New York City. His music has been included in the cantorial curriculum of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, and is featured by Jewish Rock Radio & PJ Library. Originally from Boston Massachusetts, Jacob has been song leading for over a decade at synagogues, day schools, and summer camps. Now he spends his days touring Jewish communities across North America – performing, teaching, and just being generally joyful.
Jacob graduated from Muhlenberg College in the spring of 2013 with a degree in Music Performance, and released his first album “Shake Off the Dust” one year later, featuring the smash hit “What Makes You Glow,” known endearingly in most circles as “Fish Swim.” His sophomore release, “Cornerstones,” (2017) introduced a contemporary style to Jacob’s sound, catapulting his music into the 21st century.
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.
Naomi Less is a Brooklyn-based, internationally celebrated singer/songwriter, ritualist and educator. Beloved for her warm smile and inviting presence, communities celebrate her imagination and innovation, tenderness and pizzazz! Her original music is sung in worship communities worldwide. Naomi serves as Co-Founder, Ritual Leader and Associate Director of Lab/Shul and is a leader in amplifying women’s voices through her work at Songleader Boot Camp and her Jewish Women Rock show on Jewish Rock Radio. Naomi advocates for people struggling with fertility journeys as a performance artist and speaker for Uprooted: A Jewish Response to Fertility Challenges.
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, has put out three albums of original music, and is the founder and co-host of the Light Lab Podcast. Eliana received her Master’s in Jewish Education from the Davidson school at JTS in 2016 and is based in Durham, North Carolina.
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.
Touring Children’s Music Artist/Educator, San Diego, CA
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, 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 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, 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 6 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. Led by Naomi Less and Jacob Spike Kraus, 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. 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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