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Music at TI

Temple Israel, under the leadership of Cantor Shira Lissek, strives to engage, inspire, and connect us to each other and our tradition through Jewish music.




A musical blog featuring videos and recordings from Cantor Lissek at Temple Israel. Visit Temple Israel's YouTube page by clicking here or click on the link below to listen or view:

November 19 -  Grateful by Beth Styles

This is a song for Thanksgiving!   It’s called “Grateful” by Beth Styles. To listen, please click here. Happy Thanksgiving! See you all on Shabbat, and don't forget to join us for Temple Israel's December 6 Winter Concert, The Best is Yet to Come: An Evening of Light and Celebration!!


November 12 - Birkat Hahodesh  by Meir Finkelstein

This Shabbat we bless the new month of Kislev. Kislev is the darkest month of the year, but it is also the month in which we light the menorah in celebration of Hanukkah. May this upcoming month bring us goodness and blessing, a life that is peaceful, good, blessed, with physical vitality, sustenance and honor, a life in which the worthy desires of our hearts are fulfilled. Amen.  Click here to listen to the blessing of the new month, Birkat Hachodesh by Meir Finkelstein.


November 5 - Ozi Vzimrat Ya/ Heal us now

“My Strength (balanced) with the Song of God will be my salvation.  We pray for the healing of our people.  We pray for the healing of our land. For peace for every race and nation, every child, every woman, every man.” To listen, click here.


October 29 - L’chi Lach by Debbie Friedman

What’s your Lech L’cha moment?  In Parashat Lech Lecha, God tells Abraham to go forth and be a blessing. Going forth into the unknown can be frightening. We all have a defining moment when we are called to go forth toward our destiny.  This is a life changing moment.  What was yours?  Is it now?  Be brave!  Go forth!  Be a blessing!
To listen to L’cha Lach, click here.


October 22 - Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Harold Arlen

In Parshat Noah, God Says to Noah and his family “When I bring clouds over the earth, and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you, and every living creature on earth, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy the world.  That,” God said to Noah, “shall be the sign of the covenant that I have established between Me and all living creatures of every kind on earth.” The Rainbow is a sign of the covenant and a sign of hope.  When clouds are gray, when it’s raining, the sun can peer through and a rainbow appears. 

To listen to this week's featured song, please click here.


October 15 - Oseh Shalom by Michael Ochs

This week in Parshat Bereshit God creates the world.   God said “let there be light”.  We learn here that words can create worlds and words can destroy worlds.   Let’s co-create a world filled with peace by singing together this uplifting setting of Oseh Shalom by Michael Ochs!

Shabbat Shalom! To listen, click here.


October 8 - Ani V’ata by Arik Einstein

“You and I will change the world....and then all will join us”.  An immortal Israeli song with the perfect message to start the New Year!l This recording is from Song Leader Bootcamp, Recorded Live in February 2020. To listen, click here.


September 24 - Sh’ma Koleinu by Max Helfman  

T’fillah, prayer, is one of the ways through which we redeem ourselves.  T’shuva, repentance, and Tzedakah, loving kindness are the other two. T’fillah connects us to God and closes the gap between who we are and who we aspire to be; our deepest need as we pray through the Days of Awe is to be heard. 

שְׁמַע קולֵנוּ, ה' אֱלהֵינוּ, חוּס וְרַחֵם עָלֵינו, וְקַבֵּל בְּרַחֲמִים וּבְרָצון אֶת תְּפִלָּתֵנוּ, כִּי אֵל שׁומֵעַ תְּפִלּות וְתַחֲנוּנִים אָתָּה, וּמִלְּפָנֶיךָ מַלְכֵּנוּ. רֵיקָם אַל תְּשִׁיבֵנוּ. חָנֵּנוּ וַעֲנֵנוּ וּשְׁמַע תְּפִלָּתֵנוּ, כִּי אַתָּה שׁומֵעַ תְּפִלַּת כָּל פֶּה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה'. שׁומֵעַ תפילה.

Listen to our voice, Lord our God. Spare us and have compassion on us, and in compassion and favor accept our prayer, for You, God, listen to prayers and pleas. Do not turn us away, O our King, empty-handed from Your presence, for You listen with compassion to the prayer of Your people Israel. Blessed are You, Lord, who listens to prayer.

This is our Yom Kippur rehearsal of the classic setting by Max Helfman, with our wonderful pianist Adam Ward, which draws us into the feelings this text stirs within us. To listen, click here.


September 17 - Shehecheyanu by Cantor Magda Fishman and Beth Styles

Tomorrow is Rosh Hashanah and we are so looking forward to bringing in the year 5781 with you. Rosh Hashanah is a new beginning, a fresh start. May it be your will God that we are inscribed for a sweet, healthy, and happy year. This Shehecheyanu by Cantor Magda Fishman and Beth Styles will help us bless this beautiful moment together on Erev Rosh Hashanah!  Click here to listen.

Here we are anew my friend

Ready to begin again

So let the blessing roll right in

Cause I love this life with you

And every day we’ll chase the light

Spreading love with all our might

May this be the year we get it right

May it be your will oh God

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech haolam, shehecheyanu, v’kiy’mamu, v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.


September 10 - We Return by Noah Aronson and Alana Arian

We return again and again to love, to truth, to you. We prepare ourselves spiritually
for Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, by doing Teshuva which literally means returning.
This is a reminder that we can course correct and return year after year or even moment after moment to love, to truth, to God. This is a new setting by Noah
Aronson and Alana Arian that deeply inspires me to do the inner work of returning, Teshuva. Join us for Selichot services this Saturday night at 8:30pm. To listen,
please click here.


September 3 - V’al Kulam by Michael Hunter Ochs (from the brand new High Holiday’s Anthology)

I hope this setting of V’al Kulam will inspire you, as it has me, to reflect on the past year while you prepare for the New Year! To listen, click here.


August 27 - L'Shanah Tova

Click here to see my video message about a special project we're doing this year.

To submit your greetings right now, click here to be taken to the submission page.


August 20 - Achat Shaalti by Chava Mirel

Today marks the new month of Elul. The letters of Elul form an acronym for the words in the verse Ani le-dodi ve-dodi li - “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3).  Believing that the ‘beloved” refers to God, the sages take this verse to describe the particularly loving and close relationship between God and Israel. Thus, Elul is our time to establish this closeness so that we can prepare ourselves and our relationship with God as we approach the Yamim Noraim, or Days of Awe.

During this month we recited Psalm 27 that includes the words Achat Shaalti

Achat Shaalti Me’et Adonai ota Avakesh:

Shivti Beveit Adonai, kol y’mai chayai,

Lachazot b’noam Adonai, u’lvaker b’heichalo

One thing, one thing, I ask you Adonai is to be with me all of my life.

One thing I ask from the Lord, one thing I desire

That I might dwell in Your house all the days of my life

To behold the graciousness of the Lord, and to enter God’s sanctuary

Please enjoy and learn this beautiful new setting of these ancient words by the amazing Chava Mirel, by clicking here.


August 6 - Mizmor Shir with melody by Deborah Sacks Mintz

This Shabbat we have the tremendous privilege of welcoming home our new Senior Rabbi Michael Wolk, his wife Heidi, and their kids Klara Rose and Julia. Rabbi Wolk has a deep connection to Jewish Music and introduced me to a soul stirring, gorgeous new melody written by Deborah Sacks Mintz. We’ll lift each other up as we sing this melody together for Welcome Home Shabbat in their honor. Join us at 6:15 p.m. on Zoom or Livestream this Friday Night. To listen, click here.


July 23 - Eli Tziyon melody for L’Cha Dodi

This week’s featured song is L’cha Dodi to the tune of Eli Tziyon.  אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ;
"Wail, Zion and its cities".  These are the initial words of an acrostic elegy for the fast day of the Ninth of Av. This dirge was written in the Middle Ages but of anonymous authorship. The dirge enumerates, in detail, the cruelties suffered by Judea and its inhabitants during the destruction of the Second Temple. The melody has become, for all Ashkenazi communities, a symbol of the yearly commemoration of the Destruction.

This Shabbos we will use the melody for Lecha Dodi as it's traditional to use it during the "Three Weeks" (17 Tammuz to 9 Av). It is sometimes considered one of the Mi-Sinai Niggunim, meaning it’s so old we believe it was given to us during revelation at Mount Sinai.  Please join us for Shabbat services on Friday night at 6:15 p.m. to hear this melody, and again on Wednesday night (7/29) at 9 p.m. for our Erev Tisha B’Av Service. To listen to the melody, click here.


July 16 - Shelter Us in Place by Eliana Light

We can not control what challenges and difficulties come to us. However, we can do our part to stay safe and protect those around us. This beautiful Hashkivenu resonates so much right now as it becomes more challenging to shelter in place. May this prayer (Thank you Eliana Light for this moving prayer) give us the strength and comfort to stay the course to protect ourselves and our communities. 

To listen, please click here.

Shelter us in place
Shelter us in peace
Shelter us in love
Hashkivenu Eloheinu
Hashkivenu L’Shalom


July 9 - Adonai Oz  by Oran Eldor

In these unprecedented and confusing times we pray for strength, blessing, and peace.  Psalm 29, is used in our Friday night service, when we take out the Torah, during Birkat Hamazon (Grace After meals) to help us build our dialogue, relationship, and trust with God. May God grant us strength, and May God bless us with peace. 
This week we share an uplifting setting of this text by Oran Eldor. Sing your heart out with me by clicking here.


July 2 - Hashkivenu by Beth Styles and Craig Taubman

In Parshat Hukat, we learn a very important lesson about the power of words, the power of prayer over physical action.  “When the Israelites complain about a lack of water, Moses strikes a rock, instead of speaking to it as God instructs; consequently, God informs Moses that he may not enter the promised land.”  We, like Moses, often mistakenly believe that the way to make things happen in the world is to force them physically. But God teaches Moses that hitting the rock will not help him get to the promised land. Using words and prayer can actually be more powerful at creating and manifesting our hearts desires rather than sheer force. What if our prayers have the power to transform our reality and manifest in our lives? Perhaps we learn here that our prayers connect us to divine creation. To listen*, please click here.

*This week’s Shira with Shira features our Temple Israel favorite Friday Evening Mashup of the prayer, "Hashkivenu" by Beth Styles and Craig Taubman. The video was produced by The Cast Studios. Guest guitarist Bobby Pittenger.


June 25 - Olam Chesed Yibaneh by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

One lesson we learn in Parshat Korach is that it is not enough to be holy; we are challenged to “become” holy too.  It is a future goal, not a present boast.  The work of holiness is active. Instead of saying “I can do it better,” as Korach said in his own self-interest to Moses and Aaron, true holiness is an ongoing process.  To inspire your holy work I give you Rabbi Menachem Creditor’s "Olam Chesed Yibaneh" which has become an anthem for holy work. To listen, please click here.

Olam Chesed Yibaneh 

Lai lai lai lai lai lai lai lai lai

I will build this world on love

You must build this world from love

And if we build this world from love

Then God will build this world from love


June 11 - El Na Refa Na La (by Shira Lissek and Oran Eldor)
God, please heal her....And him, and them, and us>

In this weeks parsha, Bahalotcha, Miriam is stricken with tzara'at. Moses prays a short but effective healing prayer: אל נא רפא נא לה, el na, refa na la -- "God, please, heal her." These are the words that begin the healing prayer we offer on Friday nights at Temple Israel. We call upon God to heal and strengthen our loved one, to transform her, and him, and them and us who desperately need transformation and healing.
To listen, please click here.


June 4 - Elohai N’tzor by Danny Maseng

This week's Shira with Shira features the text from the end of our Amida. Elohai N'tzor, by Danny Maseng, which I recorded in 2015 on my album P’Tach Libi, Open my heart. 

Elohai, n’tzor l’shoni meira us’fatai
midabeir mirmah, v’limkal’lai nafshi
tidom, v’nafshi ke-afar lakol tih’yeh.
P’tach libi b’Toratecha, uv’mitzvotecha
tirdof nafshi. Yih’yu l’ratzon imrei fi v’hegyon libi
l’fanecha, Adonai tzuri v’go-ali.

My God, guard my speech from evil and my lips from deception.
Before those who slander me, I will hold my tongue; I will practice humility.  May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer.

To listen, click here.


May 28 - Shavuot

On Shavuot we celebrate the receiving of the Torah. As Rabbi Kornsgold said, revelation doesn’t happen only once at Sinai, revelation happens every time we engage with Torah. On this week's Shira with Shira there are two featured songsVeahavta and Come by Chava Mirel. Rabbi Akiva taught that the whole Torah comes down to the phrase Veahavta Lereacha Kamocha, love your neighbor as yourself. In these difficult times we are loving our neighbors by working to keep everyone well and safe. We are deeply aware of the inequality in our world and working to advocate for our most vulnerable neighbors. That is the whole Torah.   Come join us for Shavuot and Shabbat services to “bless the one who blesses” and “spread some love and kindness.” Join us as well for an interfaith vigil on a Monday, June 1 at 12 Noon, as we come together to mourn the loss of 100,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19. More than ever we realize how interconnected we all are and how important it is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Chag Shavuot Sameach.


May 21 - Yerushalayim Shel Zahav by Naomi Shemer 

In honor of Yom Jerushalayim, we bring you this historical collaboration by 16 international outstanding female cantors. Thank you JVocals' Motti Hasfari for your vision and for making this happen!  So honored and proud to be a part of this collaboration!! To listen, click here.


May 14 - Blessed Love by Chava Mirel

During this very unconventional time, many of us are looking for comfort and connection. The Jewish music artist I feel pulled towards these days is the amazing Chava Mirel who released an album of soulful moving songs that have the power to uplift and provide comfort. They certainly have been on my repeat play list during these last several months. This song “Blessed Love” reminds us that each of us can cultivate a personal relationship with God, source of love, holy, abundant, blessed love. Our tradition has always taught us that we are a Kehilah Kedosha, a community of holy ones. We are each created B’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, meaning we arrive in the world with infinite value and holiness. There doesn’t have to be a barrier between your prayers and God. You have a direct line. It is an ongoing conversation.  “When the road is rough, I can feel your the light in me”.  The road in 2020 has been rough. I invite you to find comfort in this beautiful song click here and if you like to hear more, visit


May 7 - More Love by Billy Jonas

Hi friends!  Did you put more love in the world today? 

Simu, simu ahavatchem ba-olam is Hebrew for Put, put your love in the world today. These days we are reminded even more how essential love is to our lives and the huge impact we can have if we intentionally spread love to our families, friends and beyond.

The song goes...

There’s a simple path that leads to true prosperity
Did you put more love in the world today?
More love on your way
To the setting sun, there is only one measure, When you can honestly say: I put more love ....

Simu, Simu ahavatchem ba-olam 

To listen, click here. Wishing to all who celebrate a very Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday! Remember to thank your mothers and those who brought love into your world.


April 30 - Hine Ma Tov by Abbie Strauss

Our featured song this week is Hine Ma Tov by Abbie Strauss (click here to listen). It’s been soothing to me that in this time of physical distancing, I can be with you all via Zoom, Livestream, and even over Shira with Shira. Sing super loud so that I may hear you at home!  We are all connected spiritually beyond the gorgeous walls of TI. Hope to connect with you Friday night for services at 6:15 p.m.!  Shabbat Shalom.


April 23 - I Rise by Eliana Light

This week’s featured song on Shira with Shira is I Rise by Eliana Light. I am fascinated by how these words and meditative setting so magically invite us to rise and help us transition from the secular to the holy in a matter of seconds. The beautiful text and mantra-like music prepare us to be with God so that we are ready to be in conversation with God by the time we begin our Amida (standing prayer) or Barchu (call to prayer) both of which require us to stand. This is also a beautiful song in honor of Earth day that was this week. To listen, Click here.

I rise, in the presence of the infinite
I rise, one with all the earth 
I rise, breathing in blessings 
I rise, one with all the earth 
I rise, asking for answers 
I rise, one with all the earth 
I rise, asking for healing
I rise, one with all the earth, I rise


April 14 - Ani Maamin, I believe with all my heart

As we approach Yom Hashoah next week, I’d like to share the words that were scratched into a wall at Auschwitz: "I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. I believe in God even when He is silent." These moving words show the power of hope and faith in an individual going through the horrors of the holocaust. I believe, Ani Maamin, B’Emunah Shlema, with complete faith. Oh I, I do believe with all my heart, I believe in everlasting peace, Ani Maamin. Click here to listen.


April 8 - Gesher Tzar M’od

Kol Ha'Olam Kulo gesher tzar maod v'haikar lo l'fached kla  

כָּל הָעוֹלָם כֻּלוֹ גֶשֶׁר צַר מְּאֹד וְהָעִיקָר לֹא לְפַחֵד כְּלַל

The whole world is a very narrow bridge, but the important​​ thing is not to fear at all 

This is the song being shared across the Jewish world right now as we face this current pandemic and retell the story of Yitziat Mitzrayim, leaving our narrow place,
at our Seder tables. Throughout all time, Jews have believed in the possibility of freedom. When we are in our physical and spiritual narrow places if we are not afraid we can find freedom. To listen, click here.


April 2 - Seder Order by Rollin Simmons

For this week's Shira with Shira we have an encore performance of the jazzy version of the Passover Seder order introduced last year. Wishing you and your family a very happy Passover!

To listen/sing along, click here!


Kadesh - we drink the first cup

We wash our hands - Urchatz

Karpas - we dip the vegetables

Break the matzah - Yachatz

Magid - we tell the story

Rochtzah - we wash our hands some more

Motzi Matzah - bless the Matzah

Dip the bitter herbs - Maror

Korech - a yummy sandwich that we eat

Shulchan Orech - oh, doesn’t dinner sound so sweet?

Tzafun’s the afikomen

Barech - We bless after the meal

Hallel - we offer praises

Nirtzah - we finish our whole spiel!


March 26 - Ma Ashiv Ladonai (Hallel-Rosh Chodesh Nissan)

Today is Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Rosh Chodesh is a time of renewal. Just as the moon is made new again, so there is a spiritual power present at that time for us to begin again and transform our lives. But Rosh Chodesh Nisan is even more special: The cycle of months begins with Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Every Rosh Chodesh contains the power of renewal, as manifest in the renewal of the moon. Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the crown of all Roshei Chadashim, contains an extra-special power of renewal. This is manifest in the renewal of the entire natural world at this time. Refreshed by the rains of winter, the plants and animals all begin a new cycle of growth. In this incredible time of COVID -19, the entire world seems to be in need of a new beginning. As we sing Hallel (click here) we cry out to God, out of our narrow places. Perhaps in this time we are reminded of all that we do have, each other, nature, the opportunity of renewal and rebirth with the new month of Nissan. Ma ashiv Ladonai, how can I repay God for all that has been done for me. 


March 19 -  Mi Shebeirakh

For this weeks Shira with Shira, I offer a healing prayer for all those in need of healing, and I believe we are all in need of healing. As the world comes to a screeching halt, we are more aware than ever of how connected we truly are across the globe. Perhaps this pandemic is a world-imposed Shabbat - to stop, heal, rest. I offer a healing prayer, El Na Refa Na La, God Please Heal Her (is, our world). To listen, click here.

*Poem at right by Kitty O'Meara




March 12 -  V’asu li Mikdash - Sanctuary song

In this week's parsha, Ki Tissa, the Israelites continue to contribute and craft the holy Mishkan where God may dwell among us or with in us.  

“V’asu li Mikdash V’shachanti B’tocham”.   Each person gave the same half-shekel to show that each  contribution is equal and equally valuable.  Chief artisans were appointed to bring their wisdom, skill, and spark of inspiration to the building of the Mishkan.  Together they continued the holy work of building sacred space.  

V’asu li Mikdash 
V’shachanti B’tocham
Vaanachnu n’varech ya
Me-atah, V’ad olam

Lord prepare me 
to be a Sanctuary 
pure and holy 
tried and true
and with Thanksgiving, 
I’ll be a living 
sanctuary for you.

To Listen, please click here.


March 5 - Video montage of Beth Styles

Five years ago at a Women Cantors Network conference, Beth Styles was invited to share her compositions with us. One after the other, her melodies connected all of us and touched our hearts. That evening I was fortunate to collaborate with Beth on a Maariv Service. When we concluded with her song “Grateful,” all of the Woman Cantors spontaneously formed circles around us and joined in the singing. From then on, Beth Styles became one of our favorite contemporary Jewish composers. We are so fortunate to have Beth Styles here at Temple Israel this Shabbat. Join us Friday night at 6:15 p.m. for Kabbalat Shabbat services where we will feature her soul stirring settings, including her Hashkivenu which has become a Temple Israel favorite.  She will also be featured in our Healing service on Saturday morning in the Chapel at 9 a.m., and then again Saturday evening during our Havdallah evening event with Artist-In-Residence, Mordechai Rosenstein. To watch Beth's video, please click here.



February 20 - Mishenichnas Adar Sing-Along

This Shabbat we bless the new month of Adar- the happiest month of the Jewish calendar. Yippee!! Here is a song for the month of Adar that you can easily learn. The words are “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha”  which means, “When Adar comes in, we increase our joy!” It’s a popular song to sing during Adar, of course, but also around Purim time…happy Purim!

February 13 - Let There Be Love-Hashkiveinu  by N. Aaronson and D. Singer

This Shabbat, Parshat Yitro, is a parsha named after a Midianite Priest. The reason is that in the parsha we learn about Yitro’s love and admiration for the Israelites though he himself was a Priest. When he saw how overstretched Moses was in leading the Israelites he was able to give him loving parental advice and help his son in law. This week's featured song, Let There be Love-Hashkiveinu by Noa Aronson and Dan Singer, begins with the English, "Let there be love and understanding among us let peace and friendship be our shelter from life’s storms." Love, peace, and friendship bridge the gap between people, communities, and nations. As we approach Valentine’s Day weekend, let’s let this love, peace, and friendship radiate beyond our sanctuary towards the broader world. Listen and learn this new setting of Hashkiveinu that we will sing at Friday night services - just click here!!

January 30 - If the World Had Cried by Kenny Karen

This week marks the 75th year since the liberation of Auschwitz. It’s very difficult to understand how the Holocaust could happen. This weeks featured song “If the World had cried”, by Kenny Karen asks the questions that many of us have asked over the years. In Parshat Bo we learn about the plague of Darkness. The commentaries teach us that the plague of Darkness may not have been just a physical darkness, but a spiritual and psychological darkness. Perhaps it was so dark that the Egyptians couldn’t see the face of their neighbor. They couldn’t see the distress or care about their neighbor. Maybe this is the same darkness we suffered during the time of the Holocaust when neighbors could no longer see each other nor look out for each other. To listen to this song, click here

January 23 - The Hope by Rick Recht

We are so excited that Rick Recht will be at Temple Israel this Saturday night for our Family Havdalah concert!  In his song, The Hope (click here), Rick really taps into the hope that brings us all together as a Jewish Community connected with our past, present, and future. Get familiar with this inspiring rocking song that our Youth Choir will sing with Rick.

This is the hope
The hope is still real
A Jewish home
In Israel
This our time
We stand as one
If not now when
We must be strong
Our hearts turn to the East

This is the hope that holds us together
Hatikvah, the hope that will last forever
This is the hope that holds us together
Hatikvah, the hope is still real

This is the hope
2000 years
We pray for freedom
Through pain and tears
This is our faith
This is our voice
This is our promise
This is our choice
Our hearts turn to the East

This is the hope that holds us together
Hatikvah, the hope that will last forever
This is the hope that holds us together
Hatikvah, the hope is still real

Hatikvah, the hope is real
Hatikvah, our hope, Israel

am chofshi
b’artzenu, b’artzenu
eretz tzion
Virushalayim, Virushalayim

This is the hope that holds us together
Hatikvah, the hope that will last forever
This is the hope that holds us together
Hatikvah, the hope is still real


January 9 - Hine Ma Tov Umanayim by Rick Recht 

This week I am so inspired by my colleagues, friends, and all of the people of different faiths who showed up to march in New York City in solidarity against the recent rise in Anti-Semitism. It just goes to show that despite our differences, when there is a need, we show up and come together and that we are stronger together. We sing Hine Ma Tov Umanayim Shevet Achim Gam Yachad, how good it is to be together with our brothers and sisters. This is a composition by Rick Recht who will be with us in a few weeks for the Havdalah Family Concert on Jan. 25 and one of the songs we will sing together. We’ll also sing this song together at Shabbat Services on Friday night. To watch this week's video, click here. See you there. Shabbat Shalom!


December 19 - Halleluyah by Rick Recht

In these times, as we approach Hanukkah, it is more important than ever to shine our light brightly. When we ignite the light of others around us, the original flame doesn’t lose any of its glow.  More light creates more light. Our featured artist this week, Rick Recht, is someone who has demonstrated this in his own life.  Rick is not only a Jewish Rock Star, but he has created a portal for new Jewish music and Jewish Musicians.  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 together with his amazing wife Elisa (my Camp Ramah friend and CIT!!!) founded Jewish Rock Radio and Song Leader Boot Camp. Rick’s leadership and the magic of his music inspire singing, dancing, and powerful community connection and pride.  We are so excited that Rick will be here in Charlotte at Temple Israel on January 25, 2020 for a Havdallah Family Concert*.  You will want to make sure that you are there with us for this event! Last year at Song Leader Boot Camp, I was honored to join Rick in singing his Halleluyah. Click here to watch! Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah!

*To reserve tickets to Rick Recht's Havdallah Family Concert, click here.


December 12 - excerpt from Barbra Streisand Tribute

This week we are so excited about the success of our upcoming Winter Concert fundraising event: One Night Only! Kavanah-The Songs and Soul of Barbra Streisand. Norman Shapiro and Amy Udoff, our chairs for the event, along with Ariel DiDonato and the planning committee had exceptional vision and outdid themselves in creating an extraordinary evening for our community to come together and celebrate the past, present, and future of Temple Israel, Charlotte. Thank you to our host committee and each of you for your support. Can’t wait to see you on Sunday! 

This week's featured music is from the first Barbara Streisand Tribute I sang in concert with the Gulf Coast Symphony 20 years ago. As a young opera singer in New York City, I headed to my first agent-booked audition for a company wanting to cast their opera season and this Streisand Tribute. After singing a few arias I blurted out, “I’m really interested in your Barbra Streisand Tribute!” They had me sing a few more songs and the conductor and I became quick friends. I was cast in the opera season and the Pops concerts. Click here for musical excerpts from one of the performances.  


December 5 - You Will Never Walk Alone by Rogers & Hammerstein
(performed by Barbra Streisand)

In Vayeitzei, this weeks parsha, Jacob runs away from his brother Esa and falls asleep on a rock where he dreams of angels going up and down a ladder.  He awakens and says “Surely God is present in this place, and I did not know it.” God is close to the broken-hearted and Jacob is in the darkest moment of his life. Jacob was able to find God in the midst of darkness. This Shabbat I am honored to be leading Shabbat services at the USCJ Conference 20/20 in Boston. I plan to sing You’ll Never Walk Alone during our Shabbat morning service because like Jacob, we can find God in darkness. Here is a moving version of You’ll Never Walk Alone sung by Barbra Streisand (click here). 

We are getting super excited about the concert next week at Temple Israel. Can’t wait to see you there. Shabbat Shalom!


November 28 - The Way We Were by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, and Marvin Hamlisch (performed by Cantor Magda Fishman)

Happy Thanksgiving! This week on Shira with Shira we are featuring Cantor Magda Fishman, our guest artist for One Night Only: Kavanah- The Heart & Soul of Barbara Streisand. Click here to listen here to her performance of The Way We Were.

We are so thrilled by the momentum of interest and support leading to our December 15 Temple Israel concert. It is truly special for me as I, along with my dear friend and colleague, Cantor Magda Fishman, will feature the music of Barbra Streisand. Both Cantor Fishman and I grew up learning from the style, interpretation and kavanah (spirit) of this American icon, and we can’t wait to kick off the winter season with this exciting performance.

Magda Fishman has performed on stages all over the world impressing and enchanting audiences everywhere with her unique singing ability, musical diversity,
and soulful trumpet playing. Magda started her musical training at the age of 10 and was recognized early on for her extraordinary talent. She recently became the Senior Cantor of B’nai Torah, in Boca Raton. Cantor Fishman served as the Cantor of Temple Beth El in Stamford, CT for five years. She received her Cantorial and Sacred Music degree from JTS. Upon coming to the US from Israel, Cantor Fishman studied contemporary and classical music at the Manhattan
 School of Music, and acting at
The Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and The William Esper Studio for professional acting.

Cantor Magda Fishman writes, “My wish for all of you is to always sing a new song to
G-d, and to this world. May each day be a new song, and may we continue for years and generations to come to appreciate the music of our rich culture and tradition.”

So come and listen! Come and join in song! Bring your family, neighbors, and friends - the door is open for all. From all places and all cultures, music truly unites us.

*If you are interested in attending One Night Only: Kavanah - The Heart & Soul of Barbra Streisand, and have not yet purchased your tickets, please click here.


November 21 - Mi Shebeirakh by Oran Eldor and Shira Lissek

Jewish Tradition has long recognized that, at times of illness and struggle, the body and spirit need healing together.  This healing is tied to the search for wholeness- for Shleimut. Wholeness is closely related to the hope which empowers us to do what must be done in order that our body(our guf) and our soul (our nefesh) can both heal. Negative thoughts and feelings can poison our body, mind, and spirit. We must seek the way to purge that which is not healthy or helpful.”  This is an excerpt from the healing service (click here) that will take place this Shabbat. Please join me in the Mindy Ellen Levine Chapel at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 23, where we will weave together prayer, poetry, and music. All are welcome with prayers for your own healing or prayers for a loved one and the world entire.  See you there.


November 14 - JPOD Charlotte

This week I sat down with Emily Russell of JPOD Charlotte to share my story and details about our upcoming event ONE NIGHT ONLY - Kavanah: The Heart & Soul of Barbra Streisand.  To listen to the JPOD interview,  click here. Thank you to all who have let me know how excited you are about the concert.  I can’t wait to be with you there!


November 7 - L’cha Lach by Debbie Friedman

What’s your Lech L’cha moment?  In Parashat Lech Lecha, God tells Abraham to go forth and be a blessing. Going forth into the unknown can be frightening. We all have a defining moment when we are called to go forth toward our destiny.  This is a life changing moment.  What was yours?  Is it now?  Be brave!  Go forth!  Be a blessing!
To listen to L’cha Lach, click here.


October 31 - Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Harold Arlen 

In Parshat Noah, God Says to Noah and his family “When I bring clouds over the earth, and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you, and every living creature on earth, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy the world.  That,” God said to Noah, “shall be the sign of the covenant that I have established between Me and all living creatures of every kind on earth.” The Rainbow is a sign of the covenant and a sign of hope.  When clouds are gray, when it’s raining, the sun can peer through and a rainbow appears. Today in Charlotte it’s raining off and on with moments of Sunshine.  If you see a Rainbow say this blessing:


בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעולָם זוכֵר הַבְּרִית וְנֶאֱמָן בִּבְרִיתו וְקַיָּם בְּמַאֲמָרו.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, zocher habrit v’ne’eman biv’reetoh v’kayam b’ma’amarav.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who remembers the covenant, and is faithful to His covenant, and keeps His promise.

To listen to this week's featured song, please click here.


October 24 - Oseh Shalom by Ochs

This week on Shira with Shira our featured song is Oseh Shalom by Ochs.  It’s a TIRS favorite settings of Oseh Shalom that our 7th grade will lead Friday night at Temple Israel.  Enjoy (click here)!  Join us 6:15 p.m. at Temple Israel to hear it live!  

October 17 - Turn! Turn! Turn! by Pete Seeger

Why do we read Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) on Sukkot? The book, attributed to King Solomon, struggles with the meaning of life in light of death.  Our Tradition teaches us to cherish the moments of life. In the Sukkah with our doors wide open to all of the blessings of life, we welcome in guests and are present in the moment celebrating, and rejoicing in the Holiday of Sukkot. In these days of Sukkot I invite you to find the intrinsic value of the present. In the spirit of the season, please click here. See you in the Sukkah!


October 3 - Avinu Malkeinu by Oran Eldor

As we head into Yom Kippur I want to share with you a new setting of Avinu Malkenu by Oran Eldor (click here).  You’ll hear this setting over the holidays so please familiarize yourself with the melody. Wishing you all a G’mat Chatima Tova and Shana Tova U’metuka!


September 26 - Sh’ma Koleinu (Hear our Voice) by Beth Styles

Hear our voice, God, have compassion on us and accept with compassion and favor our prayers.


Of all the needs we have as human beings one of our deepest needs is the need to be heard.  On the High Holidays, starting Sunday night, we will spend a lot of time in the Sanctuary praying to God for a sweet new year. We literally will be praying Shma Koleinu, Hear our voices! Our tradition teaches us the power of coming together in community in prayer. Our collective prayers can be heard and have the potential to effectively in transform us. This is the setting of Sh’ma Koleinu you will hear over the holidays.  


Familiarize yourself with the words and melody ( click here). See you in the Sanctuary!


L’Shana Tova U’Metuaka!


September 19 - Avinu Malkeinu by Max Janowski

During High Holiday services, that are now days away, we engage in a very personal conversation with G-d.  We reach beyond the words on the page to encounter the divine and pray.  We ask G-d to inscribe us in the book of life and for a good year.  

This month (and particularly this week) we are in the midst of saying Selichot, and doing T’shuva; asking for forgiveness and asking to return to our source and ourselves.  

To prepare yourself spiritually for the holidays, I invite you to join Rabbi Siegel and
me at Temple Israel for Selichot this Saturday night (9/21) where you will hear this beautiful setting of Avinu Malkeinu by Max Janowski, and Tuesday night for Knocking at Our Hearts, a class led by Rabbi Kornsgold and myself.  Click here to hear Max Janowski's Avinu Malkeinu.

L’Shana Tova - Wishing you all a sweet new year!

September 12 - Kaddish by Maurice Ravel 

This Shira with Shira I share with you Kaddish by Maurice Ravel that I offered as a Memorial Prayer for the FDNY 9-11 Memorial Service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We remember and honor those lost and those who ran towards the danger to save as many lives as possible. Thank you to Rabbi Joseph Potasnik for being a bridge builder. I’ll never forget the outpouring of love and support that brought us all together. May we continue to find paths toward each other and let these tragedies help us build a better world.  Click here to view the video.

September 5 -   Return Again/Hashiveinu

WAKE UP!!! This week's installation of Shira with Shira reminds us that Rosh Hashanah is upon us and it's a time to wake up and prepare ourselves for the new year.   We are asked to take stock and reflect on  our actions, Cheshbon Hanefesh, an accounting of the soul, and return to our best selves. We hope you enjoy our version of Hashiveinu/ Return Again. Click here to view this week's video.


August 29 - Bluegrass Shabbat by Matt Check and Cantor Lissek

This week we bring you the Bluegrass Kabbalat Shabbat Suite from "The Bluegrass Shabbat Experience" by Matt Check. Six years ago, I had the privilege of collaborating with Matt Check and his groovy Bluegrass band for Shabbat services. What developed was as a wonderful merging of Bluegrass and Shabbat melodies.  Click here to hear the Bluegrass Kabbalat Shabbat Suite.

Kol hanshama t’hallel yah, halleluyah!- Let every breath be praise of God; praise God, halleluyah!


August 22 - Or Zarua by Rick Recht 

As we announce the new month of Elul, we think about what it means to reflect and reignite our light within. Or Zarua latzadik, Light is sown for the righteous, and Joy for the upright at heart. We are reminded of our potential to be righteous and merit the happiness that accompanies this stature. The divine light sown within each and every one of us can grow and develop into unbounded joy. Click here to listen!

August 8 -  Ani Maamin, I Believe by Beth Stiles

I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and, though he tarry, I will wait daily for his coming. Oh I, I do believe with all my heart I believe in everlasting peace, I believe.

Ani ma'amin b'emunah sh'leimah b'viat hamashiach, v'af al pi sh'yitmameah, im kol zeh achakeh lo b'chol yom sheyavo.

אֲנִי מַאֲמִין בֶּאֱמוּנָה שְׁלֵמָה בְּבִיאַת הַמָּשִֽׁיחַ, וְאַף עַל פִּי 

שֶׁיִּתְמַהְמֵֽהַּ, עִם כָּל זֶה אֲחַכֶּה לּוֹ בְּכָל יוֹם שֶׁיָּבוֹא.

This week as we head in to Tisha B’Av I offer you a moving setting of Ani Maamin, I Believe by Beth Styles. Join us Saturday night at 9:15pm for a round table discussion with Rabbi Howard Siegel followed by Eicha reading. Click here to listen!


July 25 -  Birkat Hachodesh by Cantor Meir Finkelstein

This week we offer Birkat Hachodesh by Cantor Meir Finkelstein (click here) because this Shabbat we will recite the blessing of the new month of Av. The Babylonian Talmud, Taanit 29a, states that "when we enter the month of Av, our joy is diminished". This is because the darkest events in Jewish history occurred during the first week and a half of this month, particularly The Nine Days which culminate in Tisha B'Av, the 9th of Av.

It is also referred to as “Menachem Av.”  “Menachem” means “consoler,” and “Av” means “father.” Due to the tragic events that occurred during this month, its name reminds us that God is there to comfort us in times of tragedy.  There is a minor and largely unknown holiday during the full moon of the month called Tu B'Av which was, in ancient times, one of the happiest days of the year. Some call it the Jewish Valentine’s Day. 

July 18 - Ma Tovu by Jeff Klepper

מַה-טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ, יַעֲקֹב; מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיךָ, יִשְׂרָאֵל.

וַאֲנִי--בְּרֹב חַסְדְּךָ, אָבוֹא בֵיתֶךָ; אֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה אֶל-הֵיכַל-קָדְשְׁךָ, בְּיִרְאָתֶךָ.

How good are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!
As for me, through Your abundant grace, I enter your house to worship with awe in
Your sacred place.


This week in Parshat Balak we find the source of our prayer, Ma Tovu, that we use to prepare for prayer on Shabbat mornings.  The blessing of Ma Tovu was given to us by Balaam in Numbers 24:5,  The circumstances are peculiar.  Balaam was actually sent to curse the Israelites.   Instead overcome with awe atGod and the Israelites' houses of worship, this blessing comes out instead of a curse. The remainder of the text is derived from passages in Psalms relating to entering the house of worship and preparation for further prayer.  Please enjoy and learn this uplifting setting by Jeff Klepper.


Click on the image below to watch the full video or view on our YouTube Channel!










May 30 - Chatzi Kaddish

This week we have a very special Shira with Shira, featuring Rabbi Murray Ezring's children Cantor Gil Ezring and Aviva Ezring. This duet is an original arrangement of the Chatzi Kaddish that Gil and Aviva will share with our congregation during Friday evening services as part of the Rabbi Murray Ezring Emeritus Celebration Weekend.

We hope you enjoy this video and join us for the festivities!

Click on the image below to watch the full video on our Facebook page!

May 23 - Shalom Aleichem by Debbie Friedman (z''l).

This week's Shira with Shira features Shalom Aleichem by Debbie Friedman (z''l). In Parashat B'har we learn to give everyone the freedom of a rest day, Sabbatical and Jubilee. All human beings have the right to the freedom that comes from rest.

Click the link and listen:


May 16 - Emet by Josh Warshawsky

For this week's Shira with Shira, we offer you Emet by Josh Warshawsky. It is a meditative piece that we hope will center you, creating a deep and spiritual connection between the mind, body and soul. 

"Truth, you are first. Truth, you are last, and without you there is no kingship, redemption, or salvation."

Josh Warshawsky Music

Click on the image below to watch the full video on our Facebook page!

May 9 - Hatikvah

Happy Birthday, Israel! For this week’s Shira with Shira, we offer you Hatikvah, the national anthem for the state of Israel, 71 years young today.

Click the photo below to watch the video on Facebook:

May 2 - Ani Maamin by Beth Styles

With the recent attacks on our worship spaces and schools, it is more important than ever that each of us do our part to reinforce bridges connecting our neighbors. Today on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, let us remember the lessons of the past and apply them to the present.

We must remember and never forget what can happen when we are silent and alienate others.

When we come together, our collective good becomes a beacon of hope for all to embrace. We must build each other up, not tear each other apart. We are more powerful together.

This week’s Shira with Shira is a recording of the song Ani Maamin, I Believe with All My Heart, that comes from my album Ani Maamin: A Voice for Humanity. It serves as a prayerful and reflective love poem to the human spirit. As the daughter of a Hidden Child in France during World War II, my family’s story of survival during the Holocaust has shaped my worldview to this day.

The common thread that weaves the beautiful tapestry of our diverse world is that we are all human beings. It is when that fact is forgotten that history repeats it'self.

In the end, dehumanization is what made the Holocaust and other genocides occur. Survivors will not be here forever, and it is our responsibility to share the stories they have been entrusted with us, from generation to generation. Please join us this weekend for the Community Yom HaShoah Commemoration at Temple Israel as we commemorate the lives and heroism of the Jewish people.

Click the link to listen:

* * * * * *
The Blessing of the Yellow Candle | by Ron Adler:

We light this yellow candle to rekindle God's flame,
to shine their light upon the world once again,
to sanctify the memories of the millions of souls,
to honor their prayers and all their lost goals.
We bless their existence by being alive
to light this yellow candle as proof we survived.

Special thanks to the Temple Israel Men's Club for donating the Yellow Candles, available in the Temple Israel Lobby.

April 25 - Eli Eli by Oran Eldor

For our very first Shira with Shira this past July, we shared the following post containing a link to Eli Eli. It is fitting that this weekend we recite Yizkor, a special memorial prayer for the departed and next week we will commemorate the lives lost in the Holocaust. Please pick up a yellow yahrzeit candle in the Temple Israel lobby to remember the lives lost (provided by TI Men's Club). Please join us for the Community Yom HaShoah Commemoration on May 5th at 4pm at Temple Israel.

Blog post from July 2018:

The fast of Tisha B’av is a day of communal mourning on the Jewish calendar and has become a powerful ritual of collective grieving for the brokenness of the world then and now.  Each of us has a role in fixing the brokenness in the world.   It is us who individually can begin to make ripples that contribute to healing our very broken world.  One way is through prayer.  In our song of the week Eli, Eli- Oh G-d my G-d, we pray the words of Hannah Szenes, which translate to “Oh lord my G-d, I pray that these things never end, the sand and the sea, the rush of the waters, the crash of the heavens, the prayer of man.”  Join us for Shabbat and Tisha B’Av services this weekend where you will hear this beautiful setting by Oran EldorClick here to listen.

April 18 - Seder Order by Rollin Simmons

For this week's Shira with Shira we bring you a new spin on an old tune! We hope you enjoy! Wishing you and your family a very happy Passover.

Original Song by Rollin Simmons.

A jazzy version of the Passover seder order Lyrics:

Kadesh - we drink the first cup

We wash our hands - Urchatz

Karpas - we dip the vegetables

Break the matzah - Yachatz

Magid - we tell the story

Rochtzah - we wash our hands some more

Motzi Matzah - bless the Matzah

Dip the bitter herbs - Maror

Korech - a yummy sandwich that we eat

Shulchan Orech - oh, doesn’t dinner sound so sweet?

Tzafun’s the afikomen

Barech - We bless after the meal

Hallel - we offer praises

Nirtzah - we finish our whole spiel!


Click the photo below to see this week's video on our new YouTube page!


April 4 - Min Hameitzar by Neshama Carlebach and David Morgan

🎵Shira with Shira this week features a setting of “Min Hameitzar” by Neshama Carlebach and David Morgan. The English translation of this song is “Out of the depths, I call to God, please answer me, then and now.”

🕳 The word Ha-meitzar literally means the constricted space, a narrow blind spot, our own personal Mitzraym (the Hebrew word for Egypt).

💫 According to Rabbi Arthur Green, “when we speak today about “coming out of Egypt” or the liberation we are to seek on Pesach, those “straits” are usually reapplied to our own spiritual situation.

🧘‍♀️ Our “Mitzrayim” is an “Egypt” of the mind or soul from which we need to make the long trek to freedom.”

🙌 On Passover, we recall the feeling of bondage, of narrowness, and we reenact the story of liberation and spiritual expansiveness. “Out of the depths, I call to God, please answer me, then and now.”

We hope you enjoy this week's musical offering:
🎵👉 👈🎵

If you are interested in discussing this topic further and between the ages of 50-70, join the Empty Nesters of TI for Empty Nesters: A Conversation with the Cantor.



March 21 - Purim Celebration! 

For this week's Shira with Shira we are sharing a few great moments from Temple Israel's The Greatest Spiel- Purim Celebration! The prayers and other musical aspects of the holiday shined brightly last night.

To see the entire Shpiel and Megillah reading click the link:

Check out this video on our new YouTube page:

*Watch until the end to see an adorable cameo 


March 14-  For this week's Shira with Shira we offer a taste of this year's Purim festivities: A classic Purim song and a piece from The Greatest Spiel (based on music from The Greatest Showman). We can't wait to see you all next week at The Greatest Spiel- Purim Celebration!!

Click the link below to see the video on our new YouTube page!


March 7 - Women of Temple Israel (WoTI) Shabbat

This week we did a special LIVE edition of Shira with Shira in honor of WoTI Shabbat. Thank to everyone who tuned in, watched and learned the songs. We look forward to singing together on March 29th.

Member of WoTI or looking to share in the ruach? Check out these musical links to learn the special songs the women will be performing:
🎵Shira with Shira Live Song Session- (Facebook) (YouTube)

🎵Sabbath Prayer (with words), Fiddler on the Roof -

🎵Stand Strong (no words), Laurie Akers -


February 28 -  V’shamru by Raymond Goldstein

This week’s parish is called Vayakhel, and in it, God chooses B’tzal’el as the artisan to build the beautiful Mishkan that everyone gave, “from their hearts” to create. Why was he chosen? Because he was a dissident of Hur, who was one of the only people to not construct the golden calf. And Rashi teaches us that there are three types of wisdom that B’tzal’el embodied leading to him being chosen for this task.

They are - Chochma (wisdom), this is the wisdom you learn from your teachers, in school and in higher education - skill. Bitvunah (understanding), what you learn from life experience, from trial and error. Da’at (knowledge), this is a divine knowledge that is the special sauce that only B’tzal’el had. We all have it (that special sauce) that makes us unique.

When we combine our skill that we learn from our teachers, our life experience plus that divine special sauce - that is how we create the most beautiful things.

This week we are offering Raymond Goldstein’s V’shamru - a prayer which draws our attention to creation. Raymond Goldstein embodies all the same wisdom, skill and divine connection as B’tzal’el. Using all of these aspects he is able to create the most exquisite setting of V’shamru.

Click the photo below to view this week's Shira with Shira on our NEW YouTube Page!

February 21 - Oseh Shalom by Elana Jagoda

I returned yesterday from Songleader Boot Camp, a national Jewish leadership conference. While there, I was inspired by the new, young and upcoming faces of the Jewish liturgical music scene.

For this week's Shira with Shira, we are sharing this beautiful Oseh Shalom by Elana Jagoda, who I met at the conference. You may remember this arrangement from this past Fall, when the children's choir performed it at our Kristallnacht Commemoration.

Join us for Shabbat services this week where we will sing this version of Oseh Shalom with families from the Charlotte Jewish Preschool on Friday evening (Torah Tots Shabbat Dinner & Services with CJP) and our youth from Temple Israel Religious School - TIRS on Saturday morning.

If you are interested in getting a glimpse of the magic created at SLBC click the link:

Click the photo below to view the video on Facebook!


February 14 - L'Dor Vador by Josh Nelson

From generation to generation! For this week's Shira with Shira, we share Josh Nelson's L'Dor Vador in honor of all the grandparents and special family members joining us on Shalom Park this week for Charlotte Jewish Preschool's Grandparents' Day 2019! We hope to see you and your family for Shabbat!

Friday evening services @ 6:15 pm
Saturday morning services @ 9:30 am

Click on the photo below to watch this week's video!



February 7- 

In Field of Dreams they say, “If you build it, they will come.” This week, in Parshat T'rumah we are told, “If you build it, God will come!” God tells Moses to tell the Israelite people to bring gifts of the heart, “Ve'asu li mikdash veshachanti betocham, (Exodus 25:8)”, and “let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.

Through this text, we realize that God isn't contained within any physical space, but rather God is present when we create external and internal holy space within ourselves. How awesome to learn that we have the power to create sacred space in our sanctuary’s and in our souls.

For this week’s Shira with Shira, we share with you The Sanctuary Song. Join us for services where we will sing together and invite God in. Shabbat Shalom!


January 31 - Barchu by Noah Aronson

Did you know that Temple Israel started the World Wide Wrap? We are so proud this Sunday to have a joint service with our rabbinic candidate, our minyan-ares, our holy rollers as I like to call them, and our religious school. One way to prepare ourselves for prayer is by wrapping teffilfin. Another way is through Barchu.

For today’s selection of Shira with Shira we are singing a Barchu written by Noah Aronson that we have been using with the religious school. We love this version because there is both English and Hebrew and it talks about preparing yourself for prayer.

Am I awake?

Am I prepared ?

Are you listening to my prayer?

Can you hear my voice?

Can you understand?

Am I awake?

Am I prepared?

And we sing all of that as we prepare for our community call to prayer: Barchu! Please enjoy this version of Barchu, with a very joyous melody. We hope to see you this week for Shabbat and on Sunday morning for the World Wide Wrap!



January 24 -                       Purim Spiel 2019 - March 20th

"The Greatest Spiel! "

(based on "The Greatest Showman!")

 Whoa________! Do you love to sing? Wear costumes? Dance? Have fun? Calling all singers, dancers, actors, and performers for our 2019 Purim Spiel, taking place Erev Purim- March 20, 2019. There is still time to join the cast. To attend this weekend's rehearsal, Sunday, January 27th from 3 pm-5 pm, RSVP to Cantor Lissek or... just show up! All are welcome. Hope to see you there!

Click the photo to see this week's Shira with Shira!


January 17 -  Shabbat Shirah and MLK Celebration

For this week's Shira with Shira, we are thrilled to share some beautiful musical moments from our Shabbat Shirah and MLK Celebration rehearsal. Please enjoy a small sampling of the song selection we will share with you this weekend (click the photo below).     


January 10 - Happy New Year!

After a brief hiatus, we are back! For this week's   Shira with Shira, I am thrilled to share my interview with USCJ and my go-to Jewish music playlist featuring some of my favorite songs and artists.

"It’s important for people to know that there really is so much Jewish music out there—everything from traditional songs and melodies, to things written as recently as yesterday...

I think some people have certain notions about Jewish music and they may not realize the range of musical settings and styles available to them."

Music does more than just provide entertainment. It helps us to explore our lives in a more meaningful way. Please join us next week for Shabbat Shirah and MLK Celebration ( with special guest Rev Amantha Barbee of Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church (USA).

Click the photo below to hear Cantor Lissek's Ultimate Music Mix!

 December 20- Every Shabbos our congregation gathers in the sanctuary, with prayers in our hearts for those in need of healing. Together we sing Mi Shebeirakh for all types of healing - from recovering from an illness to spiritual healing.

For this week's Shira with Shira I am sharing the musical setting that I composed with the brilliant Oran Eldor a few years ago. We chose to use: אל נא רפא נא להEl Na Refa Na Lah -- "Please, God, heal her," (Numbers 12:10-13) which are the words that Moshe cried out when his sister Miriam fell ill.  We hope that you are able to join us this Friday evening where we will offer this version as our community healing prayer.




December 13- Every Thursday Cantor Lissek is teaching a brand new class as part of our Life Long Learning series. You can learn more about it on page 21 of your Kol Yisrael or by visiting this link!

For this week's Shira with Shira we explore TWO versions of Shiru L'Adonai! The first by Cantor Dan Singer and the second by Cantor Laurie Akers. We hope you join us this Shabbat to see which version we'll share!

                           Click the photo below to see the video!


December 7- This week’s Shira with Shira is all about light! Hanukkah is about the divine spark in each and every one of us. Gd charged the Jewish people to be a “light unto the nations.” Hanukkah is a wonderful time to remember that sentiment, as we light the hanukiah each night, watching as the flames and our spirit radiate and shine brightly for all to see. Happy Hanukkah from my family to yours.    


Click this link to listen to Heavenly Light sung by Cantor Azi Schwart and me. Shabbat Shalom!

November 15-  At the end of the Amidah, during our private meditations, we pray, P’tach libi b’toratekha u-v’mitzvotekha tirdof nafshi, “Open my heart to your wisdom, so my soul will pursue your ways. The music of our liturgy can lift our souls, enabling us to pray or enhancing and deepening our prayers. In choosing this musical setting I turned to the composition of Danny Maseng that brings this ancient text to life in contemporary idiom. We hope that this arrangement will also inspire you, and open your heart and soul.

For this week's Shira with Shira we offer Elohai, Ntzor. To listen to the track click here or on the photo below. You can also find the words below in both Hebrew, transliteration, and English, if you would like to sing or follow along. Shabbat Shalom!

                                        Click on the album cover to listen to this week's Shira with Shira track!          


November 8- For this week's Shira with Shira, we share with you an Ani Maamin, "I Believe" mash up. Cantor Lissek shared this version of two beloved melodies with all who were in attendance at Temple Israel's 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht: Night of Broken Glass. We hope you enjoy Ani Maamin, composed by Beth Styles and Oran Eldor. We do believe with all of our heart, that the future of the Jewish people is bright and that there will be everlasting peace.

Special thanks to Pablo Abas for his amazing videography and to Ginger Wyrick for her beautiful playing.

Please click here or the photo to view the video.

November 2-

“We pray for the healing of our people
We pray for the healing of our land
And peace for every race and nation
Every child, every woman, every man.”

Last Shabbat, we witnessed the deadliest act of anti-Semitism in North American history — the attack at the Tree Of Life - Or L'Simcha Congregation in Pittsburg. The hateful speech did not stop there. All over the world, acts of anti-Semitism continue to fill our news feeds and newspapers. This Shabbat we tell the world we will not be silent. This Shabbat, we are responding with our greatest show of solidarity. A continental Solidarity Shabbat with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh.

At synagogues, community centers and homes across North America, in partnership with Jewish Federations of North America (#SolidarityShabbat, #StandWithPittsburgh), American Jewish Committee (#ShowUpForShabbat) and the ADL - Anti-Defamation League (#NeverIsNow), we will be gathering together in prayer, compassion, and unity — as one people, across Shalom Park, and across the continent. We will stand as a reminder of the power of community.

We felt that power last Saturday night as we mourned and comforted one another during Havdallah. 
We felt that power on Tuesday evening as hundreds of people, surrounded by our brothers and sisters of faith, gathered at First Baptist Church-West.
We will feel that power again this Shabbat and again next week at the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht: Night of Broken Glass.

My good friend, Rabbi Menachem Creditor offered these words as part of his prayer for Pittsburgh:
“We pray to You for renewal
as we spread our protective wings over one another again,
running to justice,
refusing weariness,
and choosing life.

May we sing louder than weapons
and merit to see You in each other’s eyes,
sanctifying Your Name
by standing together
by rising up again,
this time rebuilding Your World
by saving each other.”

This week’s Shira with Shira, offers Leon Sher's Heal Us Now.

Please Join us tonight and tomorrow as we again come together as one united Jewish community for Solidarity Shabbat. Shabbat Shalom! #ShowUpForShabbat


October 25- For this weeks Shira with Shira, we are featuring Cantor Laurie Akers singing her beautiful song Y'hiyu L'ratzon, which she will be singing at my installation.

Click the link to listen:

"Yih’yu l’ratzon imrei fi
v’hegyon libi l’fanecha
Adonai tzuri v’goali.

May the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart
be acceptable to you."

As I finish the final preparations for my installation, I am humbled by all the love and support I have received from the Temple Israel kehillah and my mentors, friends, and family who have helped me arrive at this momentous event.

I look forward to enjoying this song, and others with you at The Installation of Cantor Shira Lissek, where I will stand, just like Laurie, under the chuppah as I officially make TI my home as your Cantor.

Shabbat Shalom!


October 18- For this week's Shira with Shira we introduce you to the amazing Hazzan Alisa Pomerantz-Boro, President of the Cantors Assembly! We are so excited that she will be joining us for The Installation of Cantor Shira Lissek. "I've always found such passion in Jewish music." Cantor Pomerantz is a true teacher and role model who embodies the essence of what it means to be the voice of a congregation.

Please enjoy these two videos:

There is still time to sign up for the Installation! 
Click this link to RSVP ->

Please consider supporting this event by making a donation in honor of Cantor Lissek. These donations will help provide for larger musical programs and events at Temple Israel. Contributions must be received by Friday, October 19, 2018, to be listed in the event program.


October 11- With all of this stormy weather, I can’t help but reflect upon this week’s Parsha, Noach. G-d told Noah to build an arc and said that he would protect him and his family. For 40 days and nights, it stormed. Noah had to trust G-d and trust that a time would come when the world could start over again. That’s a hard thing to do. To blindly trust that things will work out.

A storm or in our case, a hurricane can mirror life. Outside it may seem like there is no end in sight. We may be scared and literally hide inside, waiting for a sign that it is ok to come out. For Noah, the sign was the dove who flew back to the arc carrying an olive branch. This afternoon, after the wind and the rains subsided, the sun beamed down on Temple Israel and there was the most beautiful Carolina blue sky. It was like the beginning of a brand new day.

I felt grateful! Grateful to be safe, grateful to have this amazing community, grateful to have mentors and friends in my life that share my passion for healing through music. For this week’s Shira with Shira, I want to express how grateful I am for each and every one of you. I hope you enjoy “Grateful,” written and performed by my dear friend Beth Styles, who will join me at my installation on October 28th. Shabbat Shalom.


October 4 - Thank you all for watching Shira with Shira before and during the holidays so that you could learn our new music and participate more fully in services. It was a magical time to pray and celebrate the High Holy Days with all of you! This month on Shira with Shira, leading up to my Installation (on October 28th), I am excited to introduce you to some of my extraordinarily talented mentors who will be joining us that day to help me create a special musical and community building experience. This week we are featuring Cantor Azi Schwartz החזן עזי שוורץ who literally changed my life. By making me his cantorial partner for five years and sharing his vision for transformative worship experiences through music I became the Cantor you know today. If you have not heard Cantor Schwartz’s magnificent voice and brilliant interpretations, you are in for a real treat. Here is a video of our recording session of Oseh Shalom by Benji Shiller arranged by Oran Eldor. Hope to see you on October 28th at 4 pm.

September 27- As we approach the end of Sukkot, we think about the spiritual and physical quest we’ve taken over this holiday season. Starting with, Rosh Hashanah, we celebrated the creation of the world and new beginnings. We then took 10 days of introspection and repentance, leading us to Yom Kippur where we recalled the journey we’ve taken over the past calendar year. Sukkot reminds us of the fragility and impermanence of humanity while also bringing together community and creating oneness under the open sky of the sukkah. We now approach Simchat Torah, where we end and begin the story and teachings of the Torah, mimicking the cycle of life.

We thank you all for joining the TI family as together we finish the transition from 5778 to 5779, and for letting us have a front row seat to your experiences along the way. On behalf of Temple Israel and our many auxiliary groups, we wish you a Shabbat Shalom and look forward to celebrating Simchat Torah with you next week! Please enjoy this week's Shira with Shira by clicking on the photo below:


September 13 - This week we again share Hayom T'amtzeinu. It's message still holds true on Yom Kippur, carrying a deeper yearning to be heard. In the piyut, "Unetaneh Tokef," we repeat, "on Rosh Hashanah, it is written, on Yom Kippur, it is sealed." This is a time to ask for forgiveness from G-d, from other people and from ourselves. More importantly, if you want to be forgiven, you yourself have to be forgiving. The last service of Yom Kippur is Ne'ilah, where the gates of heaven are closing. We pray that G-d will hear us, grant us divine forgiveness and inscribe us for a good year! We hope you take the time to reacclimate yourselves with the Noah Aaronson melody and sing with us during Yom Kippur services. L'shanah Tova!

Click the photo below to watch last week's video!

September 6 - The moment of Rosh Hashanah is upon us in just a few days. This T’fillah, Hayom T’amtzeinu focuses on the power of this moment, Hayom, today, not tomorrow or next week, but Hayom-today. Hayom, today, is the moment we ask for our prayers to be heard. Strengthen us, today. Bless us, today. Raise us up, today. See our well being, today. Lovingly accept our prayers, today. Hear our plea, today. Support us with your righteousness, today…and we all sing out Amen, may it be so! At our Selichot study session on Saturday night, Cantor Lissek taught the community this uplifting setting by Noah Aaronson. Now is your chance to learn it too so that we are all ready to join our voices in prayer at Temple Israel this week. Please enjoy this week's Shira with Shira! Click the picture below to see today's video.

Hayom t’am’tzeinu. Amen

Hayom t’varcheinu. Amen

Hayom t’gad’leinu. Amen

Hayom tidr’sheinu l’tova. Amen

Hayom tickt’veinu l’chayim tovim. Amen

Hayom tishma shav’ateinu. Amen

Hayom t’kabel b’rachamim uv’ratzon et t’filateinu. Amen

Hayom tishma shavateinu. Amen

Hayom titm’cheinu bimin tzidkecha. Amen


August 30 - This Saturday night, join us for Selichot services at 10 p.m. With its haunting music intended to instill a mood of solemnity, Selichot serves as a prelude to the sacred themes of the Days of Awe. We will also take this opportunity to introduce contemporary settings of the liturgy and dive into the introspective nature of the prayers. This week's Shira with Shira introduces "Avinu Malkeinu" by Max Janowski. This arrangement will be heard on Selichot and the High Holy Days. To listen, click here. Our Selichot services will be preceded by a musical study session at 8:30 p.m. and dessert reception at 9:30 p.m.

August 23 - WAKE UP!!! This week's installation of Shira with Shira reminds us that Rosh Hashanah is upon us and it's time rejuvenate and return to our best selves. We hope you enjoy our version of Hashiveinu/ Return Again. Click here to view this week's video.

August 16 - Shma Kolenu, Hear Our Voices - We ask that G-d hear our prayer on the High Holy Days. This is a new contemporary setting that we are excited to share with you and will be used this year at Temple Israel’s High Holy Day services. To listen, click here. I so enjoyed praying with you at “Welcome Home Shabbat” and hope to see you on Friday evening and Saturday morning for services. 

August 9 As we approach the month of Elul and the High Holy Days, we begin to look inward, preparing ourselves and our souls for the New Year. This installment of Shira with Shira offers you Or Zarua by Rick Recht. We hope this song inspires you to reignite your light from within. Click here to view this week's video.

Piano - R. Monty Bennett

Video - Casey Topol Pressberg


August 2 - Cantor Shira Lissek is STARVING, but can’t quite put her finger on what will satisfy her hunger. Click here to watch this week’s edition of Shira with Shira to see how the story unfolds.

*Special thanks Monty Bennett and John Topol.

July 26 - Click here to watch this week's Shira with Shira video on our Facebook page. We are currently working on a YouTube channel, so stay tuned!

July 18 - The fast of Tisha B’av is a day of communal mourning on the Jewish calendar and has become a powerful ritual of collective grieving for the brokenness of the world then and now.  Each of us has a role in fixing the brokenness in the world.   It is us who individually can begin to make ripples that contribute to healing our very broken world.  One way is through prayer.  In our song of the week Eli, Eli- Oh G-d my G-d, we pray the words of Hannah Szenes, which translate to “Oh lord my G-d, I pray that these things never end, the sand and the sea, the rush of the waters, the crash of the heavens, the prayer of man.”  Join us for Shabbat and Tisha B’Av services this weekend where you will hear this beautiful setting by Oran Eldor. Click here to listen.

July 25 - This week on Shira with Shira we offer Birkat Hachodesh by Meir Finkelstein because this Shabbat we will recite the blessing of the new month of Av.  The Babylonian Talmud, Taanit 29a, states that "when we enter the month of Av, our joy is diminished". This is because the darkest events in Jewish history occurred during the first week and a half of this month, particularly The Nine Days which culminate in Tisha B'Av, the 9th of Av.  It is also referred to as “Menachem Av.” “Menachem” means “consoler,” and “Av” means “father.” Due to the tragic events that occurred during this month, its name reminds us that God is there to comfort us in times of tragedy.  There is a minor and largely unknown holiday during the full moon of the month called Tu B'Av which was, in ancient times, one of the happiest days of the year. Some call it the Jewish Valentine’s Day! To listen, click here.

Wed, December 2 2020 16 Kislev 5781