A Podcast

By Jewish songwriters. About Jewish songwriters. For you.

2.3 | Rick Recht Part 1 - "Halleluyah (Psalm 150)"  

Representing my hometown of St. Louis, MO my close friend and mentor Rick Recht and I sit down to talk about his journey from secular musician to Jewish music and the new version of his hit song Halleluyah, this time incorporating the words of Psalm 150.

As always, you can listen to all of the compositions from this season on the Jewish Songwriter Playlist on YouTube and Spotify.

Rick Recht is one of the top touring musicians in Jewish music playing over 150 dates each year in the US and abroad.  Rick has revolutionized and elevated the genre of Jewish rock music as a powerful and effective tool for developing Jewish pride and identity in youth and adults across the US. Rick is the national celebrity spokesman for the PJ Library and is the founder and Executive Director of Songleader Boot Camp – a national songleader training immersion program held in various cities around the U.S.  Rick is also the founder and Executive Director of Jewish Rock Radio, the very first high-caliber, 24/7 international Jewish rock online radio station! Rick is also the Executive Producer of PJ Library Radio. Recht is the Artist in Residence at United Hebrew Congregation in St. Louis, MO.  

Recht enjoys hiking and spending time with his wife, Elisa, and sons, Kobi and Tal.

Rick's YouTube Page
Rick's Spotify
Rick's Facebook
Rick's Website 

This week's episode was brought to you by Bandzoogle which makes it easy to build a stunning website for your music in minutes.  Click here to try it free for 30 days and get 15% off the first year of your subscription.

 

2.2 | Ellen Allard - "How Good"  

Season 2 of Jewish Songwriter opens with my good friend, Ellen Allard who talks about her song "How Good" and her journey from classical concert pianist to Jewish Songwriter.

As always, you can listen to all of the compositions from this season on the Jewish Songwriter Playlist on YouTube and Spotify.   

Ellen Allard is an award-winning recording artist, music educator, composer, performer, and music coach, and one of the most influential musicians on today’s Jewish music scene. With a strong commitment to building community through music, Ellen has a unique, charismatic, charming, and heartwarming way of encouraging audiences to join together in playful singing, whether she is performing a concert, presenting a workshop, conducting a choir, or leading Tot Shabbat, religious school Wow Worship, or an adult worship service. 

Ellen holds a BA in music from Boston University and a Master’s in education from Arcadia University. She is a certified holistic health coach, baby/toddler yoga teacher, Kidding Around Yoga and Yoga Yeladim teacher, and a certified Rhythm ‘n’ Ruach Jewish family/kid’s music class teacher. 

She lives in Boston, MA and has two daughters and sons-in-law who have blessed her with five grandchildren and two rather large dogs. If asked, she will extoll the virtues of drinking green smoothies and eating dark chocolate daily.

Ellen's YouTube Page   
Ellen's Spotify   
Ellen's Facebook  
Ellen's Website  

This week's episode was brought to you by Bandzoogle which makes it easy to build a stunning website for your music in minutes.  Click here to try it free for 30 days and get 15% off the first year of your subscription.

2.1 | Debbie Friedman Stories - Bonus Episode  

As always, you can listen to all of the compositions from this season on the Jewish Songwriter YouTube Playlist or Spotify Playlist.  And please subscribe to the podcast and leave a review on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, GooglePlay or wherever you listen.

If you are familiar at all with North American Jewish music, it should come as no surprise, that as with almost any conversation about or with Jewish Songwriters, one name repeatedly comes up in conversation, without whom, probably none of us Jewish songwriters would be here today.  And that name, of course, belongs to the one and only Debbie Friedman. 

Debbie Friedman is considered by many to be the mother of contemporary Jewish music.  If her name isn’t familiar to you, but you’ve entered a Temple, synagogue, or shul in the last half century, there’s a high likelihood you’ve heard her music.  Though Debbie passed away in 2011, it just doesn’t make any sense to not have an episode of Jewish Songwriter dedicated to her.   Professionally speaking, I’m not sure there’s anyone in history who’s had a bigger impact on Jewish music. 

Many of my guests spoke about how Debbie’s music impacted or changed the course of their lives. But what I love about the two stories I’ll be sharing with you today, and what they reveal, is that Debbie’s vision and impact stretch far beyond her music.  They are not the only stories I was told and I’m sure they won’t be the last but you will hear them unedited exactly as they were told me.  I hope you’ll enjoy listening to them as much as I did.

 

1.10 | Peri Smilow - "The Priestly Blessing"  

Hailing from New Jersey, this week's Jewish songwriter, Peri Smilow shares "The Priestly Blessing" and how she found her way to Jewish music after a difficult period working with troubled teens.  Special thanks to the URJ and Bruce Raden for their onsite recording and technical help with this week's episode.

As always, you can listen to all of the compositions from this season on the Jewish Songwriter YouTube Playlist or Spotify Playlist.  

Peri Smilow is an internationally recognized contemporary Jewish music performer and composer.  For over 25 years Peri has brought new, inspiring and social justice infused music to the Reform Movement in the US, Canada, England, Singapore and Israel.  She has recorded four albums of original music and produced an album of new social justice anthems to benefit the Religious Action Center (Together as One). Known for her interfaith work, Peri created The Freedom Music Project, an 18-voice choir of young black and Jewish men and women singing the freedom music of their traditions. In addition to her work in music, Peri holds a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  She has worked as a Cantorial soloist, community educator, organizer and non-profit administrator and enjoyed a brief career in professional theater.  Peri currently serves as Director of Program and Engagement with ARZA (the Association of Reform Zionists of America).  She shares her life with daughter Allie and former Reform Movement song leader and husband Budd Mishkin.

Peri's YouTube Page  
Peri's Spotify  
Peri's Facebook 
Peri's Website 

This week's episode was brought to you by Bandzoogle which makes it easy to build a stunning website for your music in minutes.  Click here to try it free for 30 days and get 15% off the first year of your subscription.

1.9 | Josh Warshawsky - "El Baruch (The Blessing One)"  

This week, Chicago born Jewish Songwriter Josh Warshawsky chats about his song "El Baruch (The Blessing One)."  

As always, you can listen to all of the compositions from this season on the Jewish Songwriter YouTube Playlist or Spotify Playlist

Josh Warshawsky is a songleader and songwriter, currently studying in rabbinical school in LA. Josh spends his weekends and summers in residency teaching and sharing music and Tefillah at synagogues and camps across the country. He has two albums, which can be found on iTunes, and is now recording a third. You can hear his songs "Mah Rabu" and "V'ahavta at camps and synagogues across the country.

Josh's YouTube Page 
Josh's Spotify 
Josh's Facebook
Josh's Website

This week's episode was brought to you by Bandzoogle which makes it easy to build a stunning website for your music in minutes.  Click here to try it free for 30 days and get 15% off the first year of your subscription.

1.8 | Stacy Beyer - "Good Trouble"  

This week's guest is Nashville, TN based songwriter Stacy Beyer who shares about her song "Good Trouble" which was inspired in part by Congressman John Lewis.

As always, you can listen to all of the compositions from this season on the Jewish Songwriter YouTube Playlist or Spotify Playlist.

Stacy is a producer, composer, singer, musician, arranger and conductor. She’s written for film, tv and the recording industry. Once a staff writer for EMI Publishing, Stacy had a #1 in Australia. Songs from her 4 cds of original Jewish music have found their way into congregations around the world, and have been performed by the Nashville Symphony. Stacy is also an activist/lobbyist. Inspired by this work she’s created even more new music, and performed her song 'She Has the Right’ for the United Nations, and 'Good Trouble’ to close the Women’s March, in Nashville this past January. Most recently Stacy co-produced a cd of 8 new social justice songs, entitled ‘Together As One’. She is also the co-founder of the Facebook, live streamed music venue, Harmony In Unison, with nearly 17 thousand members.

Stacy's YouTube Page    
Stacy's Spotify    
Stacy's Facebook   
Stacy's Website

This week's episode was brought to you by Bandzoogle which makes it easy to build a stunning website for your music in minutes.  Click here to try it free for 30 days and get 15% off the first year of your subscription.

1.7 | Todd Herzog - "Returning to Who I Am"  

On this week's episode, I welcome Phoenix based Jewish songwriter, and fellow Jumbo (Tufts Alum), Todd Herzog to talk about his brand new composition "Returning to Who I Am."

Todd Herzog is an artist who takes the raw material of life experiences and creates soulful, spiritual, acoustic pop music along the lines of John Mayer, Jason Mraz, and Marc Cohn. His mission is to use music to open the hearts of his listeners to love, wisdom and spirituality. 

The music industry has taken notice of Todd’s talents. He has worked with some of the top songwriters and artists in the world, including Burt Bacharach, Tonio K, Dave Koz and Michael Lington. With his most recent release, Something to Believe In, Todd returns to his singer/songwriter roots and includes moving songs of personal revelation alongside songs of shared humanity. Todd’s Bridging the Gap CD won the award for “Best Jewish Album” in the Just Plain Folks Music Awards. His music and voice have been featured in television and film. His children’s album, Everyday Blessings, was distributed nationwide by the PJ Library. He is the creator of the Desert Gathering Jewish Music Fest, which has now become a staple of the Phoenix arts and cultural calendar. Todd has performed at URJ Biennials, CAJE, Hava Nashira, Unity and New Thought churches as well as corporate events and various other spiritual and secular venues. He has been an instructor at Songleader Boot Camp alongside fellow Jewish educator/performers Rick Recht and Sheldon Low and has been an Artist-in-Residence for Vocal Music at the JCC Maccabi ArtsFest. He has been profiled on NBC’s Arizona Midday Show, in AZ Jewish Life Magazine, The Jewish News, in Chosen magazine and many other online and print media outlets. He travels around the country and around the world, captivating audiences of all ages.

Todd's YouTube Page   
Todd's Spotify   
Todd's Facebook  
Todd's Website

This week's episode was brought to you by Bandzoogle which makes it easy to build a stunning website for your music in minutes.  Click here to try it free for 30 days and get 15% off the first year of your subscription.

1.6 | Shira Kline - "The Sun Shines Down On Every One"  

This week, I'm happy to welcome ritual leader and Jewish songwriter, Shira Kline, and we talk about her song "The Sun Shines Down On Every One" which she co-wrote with Lee "Free" Frisari and Avi Fox-Rosen.

Recognized as a “revolutionary educator” and named one of the “new re-engineers of Jewish life,” Shira Kline plays worldwide as a performance and ritual artist.  She specializes in creative musical worship with adults and children's spirituality.  Her work is in the garden of life: activating imagination, expression, and heart opening.  On Shira’s tours, she performs in communities of all ages throughout the United States and stages in Israel, England, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.  She also presents extensively across the denominational spectrum for clergy, educators and lay leaders, and is adjunct faculty for the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School for Sacred Music. Shira is a co-founder of Lab/Shul NYC, an artist driven, God-optional experimental community for sacred Jewish gathering where she is the Director of Worship. Her award winning ShirLaLa Jewish kiddie rock albums along with her parent and teacher resource center, “Blog Sameach,” are featured worldwide.

Shira's YouTube Page     
Shira's Spotify     
Shira's Facebook    
Shira's Website

1.5 | Noah Aronson - "Anneini"  

My guest this week, NYC based Jewish Songwriter Noah Aronson talks about his song "Anneini."

After earning a degree in Jazz Composition and Piano from Berklee College of Music, he held the position of Composer-in-Residence at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA where he produced 4 albums of Jewish communal music with his mentor Cantor Jodi Sufrin. 

As a solo musician, Noah has released three full-length albums and songbooks entitled 'Am I Awake,' 'Left Side of the Page,' and his latest 'More Love' including his 4 member all Israeli-Berklee alumni band. Music from these albums are now sung in progressive communities and summer camps worldwide and has been included as part of the Cantorial curriculum at the Hebrew Union College's Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in New York City. 

Renowned for his unique and engaging style of prayer leadership, he had the distinct honor of leading over 5,000 people in Shabbat worship at the 2013 URJ Biennial in San Diego, CA. 

Noah serves on the faculty of the annual Hava Nashira and Shabbat Shira workshops in Oconomowoc, WI and the Shirei Chaggiah workshop in London, England. 

In 2015, Noah partnered with Behrman House, the largest distributor of Jewish educational materials, to create an innovative, music-based curriculum entitled Hebrew in Harmony. His music has also been featured on two compilations from the PJ Library series. 

Noah lives in New York City and is currently serving as the Creative Director of Sacred Music NY, a non-profit organization that organizes concerts and events around New York City bringing together spiritual musicians from diverse backgrounds to inspire interfaith dialogue and social change.

Noah's YouTube Page    
Noah's Spotify    
Noah's Facebook   
Noah's Website

1.4 | Joanie Leeds - "Shayne Punim"  

This week we welcome Jewish Songwriter Joanie Leeds to the podcast and we chat about her song "Shayne Punim." 

As one of the top nationally touring kindie rock singers, New York-based Joanie Leeds has played for thousands of families all across the country. As a singer/songwriter, Joanie has won first place in the USA Songwriting Competition, an Independent Music Award, Gold Parents' Choice Award, NAPPA Gold Award and she has been a John Lennon Songwriting Award Finalist and an International Songwriting Competition Finalist. Her original music with her band Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights has been featured in People Magazine, USA Today, Parents Magazine, New York Times and Washington Post. She is currently touring the USA promoting her 8th children's CD, 'Brooklyn Baby'. Her songs are played on many radio stations nationwide climbing up the chart to #1 on Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live and WXPN's Kids Corner.

Joanie's YouTube Page
Joanie's Spotify
Joanie's Facebook
Joanie's Website