Education and Inspiration, Grounded in Strategic Planning
February 19-21, 2023
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.
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 15-18) that leads the SLBC National Conference (Feb 20-22). 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 2022 experience is the SLBC Songleader Summit (Feb 22-24), 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
Ellen Allard, a multi-award-winning Recording Artist, Performer, Music Educator, Composer, and Music Coach, is one of the most sought after performers in Jewish music. With a strong commitment to nurturing community through music, Ellen has a unique, charismatic, charming, and heartwarming way of inviting audiences to join in playful singing, whether she is performing a concert, presenting a workshop, or conducting her interactive, engaging worship services for young children through senior citizens.
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 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 two rambunctious grand-dogs. If asked, she will extoll the virtues of eating dark chocolate daily.
Elana Arian is one of the leading voices in contemporary Jewish music. A composer, multi-instrumentalist, prayer leader, and recording artist, Elana inspires communities across the country with her soulful songwriting and spirit. Elana’s work has been included in many Transcontinental Music publications, including both the popular Ruach and Shabbat Anthology series, and her compositions are sung in synagogues, summer camps, and spiritual communities from London to Cape Town, from Australia to New Orleans, and everywhere in between. Elana has released three albums of original music and is thrilled to be working on her fourth, entitled The Other Side of Fear. Elana has served on the faculty of both Hava Nashira in Oconomowoc, WI and Shirei Chagiga in London. In addition to touring nationally as an Artist in Residence in communities across the country, Elana is proud to teach at and the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, working as an Adjunct Instructor and Teaching Artist in the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Tanglewood, and perhaps most memorably, five separate appearances at the (Obama) White House.
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.
Daniel Barash, founding director of Firelight Shadow Theater, regularly conducts assembly programs, workshops, residencies, and professional development trainings across the United States. He holds a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from New York University, and has pioneered the use of shadow puppetry, an ancient Asian art form, in both secular and Jewish educational settings. Daniel is a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist and a consultant for Focus 5, Inc., a leader in the field of arts integrated learning.
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.
Cantor Rachel Brook is the senior cantor of Anshe Emet Synagogue and serves as the first female senior cantor in the congregation’s 150-year history. Previously, Cantor Brook served as cantor at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City.
Cantor Brook’s first solo album, “L’chayim Ul’shalom: Songs of Life and Peace” was released in December 2020. She is a featured soloist on several Park Avenue Synagogue albums, most recently on “Havdalah: Live from Jerusalem” and “Be the Light”, to be released in the summer of 2021. Cantor Brook has a growing global audience as part of her vibrant online presence, and is a proud member of the Shul Sisters: A New Cantorial Trio, together with Cantors Rachel Goldman and Laurie Akers.
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 Angela Warnick Buchdahl serves as the Senior Rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City and is the first woman to lead Central’s Reform congregation in its 180-year history. Rabbi Buchdahl first joined Central Synagogue as Senior Cantor in 2006. In 2014, she was chosen by the congregation to be Senior Rabbi.
Rabbi Buchdahl was invested as a cantor in 1999 and also ordained as a rabbi in 2001 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She earned a bachelor of arts in religious studies from Yale University in 1994. Born in Korea to a Jewish American father and a Korean Buddhist mother, Rabbi Buchdahl is the first Asian American to be ordained as a cantor or rabbi in North America.
Rabbi Buchdahl serves on the boards of the Avodah Jewish Service Corps, AJC, the New York Board of Rabbis, UJA-Federation of New York and Yale University Council.
Rabbi Buchdahl and her husband Jacob Buchdahl have three children.
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.
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 also offers her time to the greater Jewish Deaf Community, including teaching the first-ever Introduction to Judaism in ASL in partnership with the Union of Reform Judaism, which she will teach again in January 2022. 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 on 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.
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.
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 Chief Program Officer at JPro and is delighted to help support all those who work for the Jewish community in the US and Canada.
Cantor Rachel Goldman, a native of Los Angeles, began her vocal training as a coloratura soprano at a young age, spending a majority of her childhood in the highly-acclaimed Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. Before reaching college, she had received opportunities to sing on some of the largest stages in her home city, such as the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and in multiple operas with the Los Angeles Opera. After spending several years at University of California Santa Barbara studying both Vocal Performance and Italian Studies (and being selected for a prestigious summer residency in the Loire Valley, France), Cantor Goldman shifted her academic direction to Judaism and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the American Jewish University with a BA in Judaic Studies in 2010.
Ordained as a Cantor from the Academy for Jewish Religion, California in May 2014, Cantor Goldman holds a Masters of Jewish Sacred Music from the same institution. She is also set to receive a second ordination as Rabbi and a Masters of Rabbinic Studies upon the completion of her coursework and thesis. Cantor Goldman currently serves as Cantor at Congretion Ner Tamid of South Bay in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.
Rabbi James Goodman is a writer and musician playing with hybrid forms. He earned an MFA in creative writing from University of Missouri – St. Louis and has recorded 11 CDs of poetry, music, and story. He serves as a rabbi at Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis.
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 Lauren Henderson originally hails from Spartanburg, SC and serves as the rabbi of Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs, GA.
She earned her BA from Rice University in 2009 in Religious Studies and History, and studied at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles before transferring to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She was ordained from JTS in 2016 with an MA in Midrash and a Certificate in Pastoral Care. Rabbi Lauren was part of the Jewish Emergent Network Rabbinic Fellowship at Mishkan Chicago from 2016-2018, and then served as Mishkan’s Associate Rabbi and Director of Family Learning and Spirituality from 2018-2020.
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.
Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, is celebrated by the Forward as one of the 32 most inspiring rabbis in the country. Recently, she was named one of Jewish Women’s International’s (JWI) “Women to Watch,” and is a proud senior fellow of the coveted Schusterman Fellowship, a leadership development program for individuals who are committed to growing their leadership in the Jewish community (an honor rarely bestowed on rabbis). Rabbi Holtzblatt also gratefully serves on the national board of Avodah and on the joint steering committee of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ). Among Rabbi Holtzblatt’s many achievements here at Adas, she has completely revitalized our caretaking (Hesed) and bereavement efforts, co-created the acclaimed MakomDC adult learning curriculum, launched and leads our wildly successful “Return Again” worship services, and directs the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington, which has twice been recognized as one of America’s top innovative Jewish projects by the annual Slingshot Guide for Jewish Innovation. Previously, Rabbi Holtzblatt served as the Hillel Foundation Director of Campus Initiatives and as Associate Rabbi at the Yale University Hillel. Rabbi Holtzblatt was also a rabbinic fellow at B’nai Jeshurun in New York. She is married to Ari Holtzblatt, and their two children, Noa and Elijah, attend the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital.
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 is an internationally acclaimed performance and ritual artist, recognized as a revolutionary educator and named one of the new re-engineers of Jewish life today. She is a weaver of sacred story and song, known on the kiddie rock stage as ShirLaLa and in the sanctuary as a spiritual adventurist. Shira tours extensively locally and globally with a vibrant invitation to audiences of all ages to connect, bringing ritual and art together for a new and realized conscious world. She is also a featured presenter at numerous international leadership conferences for clergy teams, educators, and lay leaders including the URJ Biennial, Songleader Boot Camp, PJ Library, Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism, Hebrew Union College Seminary, Hava Nashira, Rising Song Institute, and Limmud International. Co-founder and Spiritual Leader of Lab/Shul, her work is to ignite expression of spirit through the medium of the musical soul.
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.
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! She serves as Associate Director and Founding Ritual Leader 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 creator 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.
Jackson is an Ordination Candidate 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 grew up in the Reform Movement in California where he cultivated a love of Judaism, embolden with music, spirituality and justice. He served as Rosh Shira/Rosh Tefillah at URJ Camp Newman and Congregation Rodef Sholom for several years. Recently he was the Musical Director at Asiyah Jewish Community in Boston and is currently the “Head Shadchan” at Unorthodox Celebrations. 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. He is currently the Interim Spiritual Leader for Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham, MA and the Joseph S. Ingber Rabbinic Fellow at Romemu in New York City.
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.
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.
Touring Children’s Music Artist/Educator, San Diego, CA
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.
Jon has spent more than 20 years making art with communities around the country as an actor, playwright, and teaching artist. Jon has served as an artist in residence at Union Theological Seminary, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and many other religious and educational institutions. He was a Spielberg Fellow in Jewish Theater Education with the Foundation for Jewish Camp and received a Fellowship from the Covenant Foundation to create The In[HEIR]itance Project in 2015. As an actor, Jon has performed in over 90 cities around the globe. His stage credits include: a dog, a 2,000-year-old bird, an elderly orthodox Jew, a spurned housewife, a horse, a British naval officer in 1700s Jamaica, a goat, Jesus Christ, a lawyer, a wrestler, a hapless police chief, and a cyclops. Jon holds a BFA in Acting from NYU/Tisch.
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 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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