Cantorial soloist and music director
Congregation Kol Ami
Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Nominated by: Herself
Song: “Yotzeir,” Rebecca Schwartz/Liturgy
Jewish music has been my life since 2001. My synagogue was in need of a song leader, and I stepped up. As I started to lead those around me in Jewish prayer and song, I became inspired to write my own music and compose my own texts. Before I knew it, I was leading song in three different synagogues and in Jewish summer camp.
This experience has brought incredible meaning and joy to my life. Singing Jewish music with all ages creates a sense of well-being, soothes the soul and brings us all closer together as a Jewish community. Singing with children is quite delightful; they’re so happy and excited, while I’m instilling Jewish values and teaching sacred text. It’s also very fulfilling to watch seniors lighting up as they clap, sing along or simply listen. That’s the perfect word for this sacred work: fulfilling. Jewish music makes my life complete, and benefits and inspires those around me. — Rebecca Schwartz
INFLUENCES: Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Joan Armatrading, Debbie Friedman.