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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:

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.

Sat, September 21 2019 21 Elul 5779