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Temple Emanu-El
Livingston, New Jersey
Age: 32
Nominated by: Himself
Song: “Jerusalem,” Joshua Finkel

Music is the breath of creation. It is the deepest and clearest wellspring in our souls that connects us to each other and to the Divine. Music is the best possible way to communicate a state of mind, or an act of prayer. I think of it as a vehicle to pass prayer from one person to another. I get to be a channel of the world’s most ancient, beautiful and necessary ideas. Like a fiber optic cable, I’m lit up from inside as I pass along the message to another generation. — Joshua Finkel

INFLUENCES: My parents, Susan Talve, Shlomo Carlebach, Jeff Mangum, Leonard Cohen, Phil Ochs, Yosef Karduner, Israel Alter, Yossele Rosenblatt, Debbie Friedman, Dan Nichols, Joey Weisenberg and Louis Lewandowski. An incredible team of sacred musicians from my hometown in St. Louis, including Rabbi James Stone Goodman and Will Soll. Also my incredible teachers at seminary, who include but are not limited to cantors Benjie Ellen Schiller, Israel Goldstein and Jack Mendelson.

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