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Shira with Shira - 2021


DECEMBER 30 - Shiru Ladonai by Laurie Akers

This clip is from our concert a couple of weeks ago singing Laurie Akers' uplifting setting of Psalm 96. Sing to G-d a new song, all the earth sing to G-d. The redemption of the Israelites was celebrated through song. This week, on my birthday, I realized that from my earliest memory till now, I have had the privilege to dedicate my days to singing new songs to G-d.  To listen, click here.


DECEMBER 16 - Broadway on the Bimah (On a final note)

Thank you everyone for helping to make our 3rd Annual Temple Israel Fundraiser Concert, Broadway on the Bimah, a smash hit!  A highlight I’d like to share with you here was our very own Liza Simon singing a favorite from “Annie” that she sang as part of her Bat-Mitzvah D’var Torah last year.  Enjoy You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile !!


DECEMBER 9 - Broadway on the Bimah

We are so looking forward to this weekend's winter concert fundraiser, Broadway on the Bimah, and celebrating this year's Shofar Award recipients, Barney & Harriet Weinstock! To watch this week's video, click here.


DECEMBER 2 - Children Will Listen (from Into The Woods) by Stephen Sondheim

What are you doing Sunday, December 12? Don’t miss out on Temple Israel’s “BROADWAY ON THE BIMAH”, it's going to be an unbelievable event!
Cantor Shira Lissek and Laurie Akers will entertain us with memorable Broadway favorites throughout the evening. It’s not too late to be a sponsor or buy a ticket
and support Temple Israel. 🎶 🎭 

This week's featured song is by Stephen Sondheim, one of Broadway history’s songwriting titans, whose music and lyrics raised and reset the artistic standard
for the American stage musical. He died early last Friday, at age 91. You can see
a person's legacy not just by what they accomplish but by how many lives they touched.   Stephen Sondheim inspired generations of singers, songwriters,
musicians, and everyone moved by his deeply human lyrics. May his memory
be for a blessing. Click here to listen. 


NOVEMBER 18 - Prayer for Vaccination

Click here to watch Cantor Lissek deliver a prayer for vaccination.














November 11 - Stand Strong by Laurie Akers

We are so incredibly excited to welcome composer, soprano, multi-instrumentalist, and cantorial soloist Laurie Akers to Temple Israel next month for this year's annual fundraiser concert, Broadway on the Bimah! Members of WoTI sang Laurie’s song “Stand Strong” a few years ago at WoTI Shabbat: “Take my hand, I’ll take yours, together we can open doors. If you see me and I see you for who we are then we’ll get through. If we sing one song, we’ll stand strong.”   To hear and be inspired by Laurie Akers' beautiful voice and composition, click here.


November 4 -  Ani Maamin by Beth Styles

In commemoration of Kristallnacht, we’d like to share this ethereal setting of Ani Maamin, I believe. I believe with my whole heart in the dream that this might yet
be a better world. Join us Tuesday November 9th at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Israel when the Temple Israel Clergy will be joined by David Fisk and Emily Chatham of the Charlotte Symphony to commemorate Kristallnacht. To listen to Ani Maamin,
click here.


October 28 - If The World Had Cried by Kenny Karen

We remember and resolve never again. To this day, we still have so many unanswered questions when we face and try to understand Kristallnacht,
the night of broken glass and the Holocaust. Please join us on November 9 at 7:30 p.m. (after minyan) for a musical commemoration with Emily Chatham and David Fisk of the Charlotte Symphony in collaboration with Rabbi Michael Wolk and Cantor Shira Lissek. For event info, click here.

To listen to "If the World Had Cried," click here

October 21 - Somewhere Over the Rainbow

To watch, click here.


September 9 - Hineni

To watch, please click here


September 2 - Return (It’s gonna be a brave new year…)

We’re ready for Rosh Hashanah here at TI.  We can’t wait to start the New Year together with you, in person or over live stream.  It’s gonna be a brave new year, starting right now right here.  L’Shana Tova! Click here to listen.


August 26 - Return

To watch, please click here.


August 12 - Shofar/Teshuva

To listen, please click here.


August 5 - Achat Shaalti by Chava Mirel

To listen, please click here.


July 29 - Shira with Shira and Hazzan Magda Fishman

This is what happens when Hazzan Magda Fishman and her family come for a visit.  Thank you for bringing us your music and your Ruach!  Enjoy this version of Oseh Shalom and Hashkivenu/One Day by clicking here. See you at services this Shabbos!   Shabbat Shalom.


July 22 - Nachamu (Comfort Us) by Elana Arian

This Shabbat is called Shabbat Nachamu. It takes its name from the Haftarah Isaiah that speaks of “comforting” the Jewish people for their suffering. It is the first of seven haftatot of consolation leading up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Join us and hear this comforting setting - Nachamu (Comfort Us) by Elana Arian - tomorrow for Friday night services at 6:15 pm.


July 15 - 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 (anonymously) in the Middle Ages and 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 L'cha 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 Saturday night at 9 p.m. for our Erev Tisha B’Av Service. To listen to the melody, click here.


July 8 - I Have A Voice by Elana Arian

Words create worlds.  A word is not merely a sound, it is real, it has substance with the power to hurt or heal, elevate or denigrate. The power of speech and our voices is one of the unique gifts we have that demonstrate our ability to create.  We all have this ability and are created in the divine image. To listen, click here.

Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam Sheasanu B’tzelem Elohim - Thank You God for Creating Us in the Devine Image.  

Join us this Shabbat for our musical Rosh Chodesh Shabbat Experience, and to hear our membership director, Erin Goldstein, share her voice as part of our Summer Speaking Series.


July 1 - Birkat Hachodesh by Beth Styles

This Shabbos we bless the new month of Av.  Please enjoy this never-released rough recording of Birkat Hachodesh that I commissioned from Beth Styles.   Join us in person for Shabbat morning services at 9:30 am to hear this setting and bless the coming month of Av.


June 24 - Ma Tovu by Jeff Klepper

This week's parsha, Balak, includes a story about Balak trying to curse the Israelites and ends up blessing them with this prayer:  

מַה טּוֹבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ יַעֲקֹב מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל

וַאֲנִי בְּרֹב חַסְדְּךָ אָבוֹא בֵיתֶךָ

אֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה אֶל הֵיכַל קָדְשְׁךָ בְּיִרְאָתֶךָ

Mah tovu ohalekha Ya’akov, mishk’notekha Yisra·el. 

Va’ani b’rov hasd’kha avo 

veitekha, eshtahaveh el heikhal kodsh’kha b’yiratekha.

How lovely are your sanctuaries, people of Jacob, your prayer houses, descendants of Israel. Your great love inspires me to enter Your house, to worship in Your holy sanctuary, filled with awe for You. To listen, please click here.


June 17 - Meditation by Marshall Portnoy

This is the prayer we recite in the Amida praying that our words and prayers are accepted by God. It is such a wonderful prayer because it acknowledges our imperfections as we strive to pray to God. Our Hebrew and singing voices do not need to be perfect in order for our prayers to be heard by God. It is our yearning to be in conversation with God that lifts our prayers.

Yih’-yu l’-ra-tzon im-rei fi, im-rei fi

V’-heg-yon li-bi l’-fa-ne-cha

A-do-nai, tzu-ri, A-do-nai

Tzu-ri v’-go-a-li, v’-go-a-li

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer. To listen, please click here.


May 27 - Shir Shalom by Beth Styles and Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray

This week God instructs Aaron and the Kohanim to light the Menorah.   The menorah symbolizes the light that we shine to illumine our world.  It obligates us to build a just and companionate society where we may teach by both personal and collective example what it means to be a covenant people, a light to the nations.

Be the light of peace
Be the light of hope
Be the light of spirit
A light to the world.

Click here to listen

May 20 - Y’varech’cha by Danny Maseng

The priestly blessing Birkat Kohanim comes from this week’s ParshaNaso.  The Torah sets out the blessing in a simple passage:

The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”  “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” 

Enjoy this modern version (click here) of our ancient text by Danny Maseng.



This week we bring you up close and personal with our guest teachers of Torah,
Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Neshama Carlebach (click here), who are headlining
our Erev Shavuot program, A Night of Music and Reflection with RABBI MENACHEM CREDITOR and NESHAMA CARLEBACH.  Rabbi Creditor and Neshama Carlebach each on their own are thought leaders and Jewish Music makers for the international Jewish Community. Newly married, this is a video of the very first time that they made a video together a year ago. 

Please join us on Erev Shavuot, this Sunday, at 6:15 p.m. and be inspired to
engage in personalizing Torah in your own life followed by Mincha/Maariv and
learning with your TI Clergy.


May 6 - B’yachad WOTI Shabbat

This Shabbat is WOTI Shabbat, where the women of Temple Israel will lead us in a spiritually uplifting Kabbalat Shabbat service in our beautiful new Temple Israel courtyard. We are B’yachad, together, in prayer and community at Temple Israel once again. Please join us!


April 29 - Ahavat Olam (The Platt Brothers)

This Shabbat we bring you the viral version of Ahavat Olam by the Platt Brothers.   One day I look forward to singing this in harmony with our talented Temple Israel teens. This was inspired by one of our Bat-Mitzvahs this Shabbos. Looking forward
to celebrating two wonderful simchas together.

Shabbat Shalom!


April 15 - Hatikvah, the Hope

Today marks the 73rd Anniversary of the State of Israel’s Independence. As long
as the heart of the Jew beats, and as long as the eyes of the Jew look eastward,
then our two-thousand-year hope is not lost: to be a free nation in Zion, in Jerusalem. Click here to listen to Hatikvah, performed at the AIPAC Policy
Conference 2017.

Grant peace to the land and everlasting joy to all its' inhabitants.


April 8 - If the World Had Cried by Kenny Karen

Today, the 27th of Nisan, is a day to commemorate the Holocaust. The daughter of a Hidden Child in France during World War II, my family’s story of survival, along with the backdrop of the Holocaust has most shaped my worldview. I have re-asked again and again many questions that cannot be answered, but cannot be left unasked.  Today, once again, we search for answers reminding us of our responsibility as a people to remember, see the humanity in each other, and make the world a better place.

Did the flowers cry, did their petals fall, did they live one day, were they blown away, were they there at all...If the world had cried long before the tears, would they not have died would they still be here.

Click here to listen.


April 1 - Min Hameitzar, Out of the Depths by Neshama Carlebach and
               David Morgan

Min HaMetzar karati Yah,
Anani vamerchavYah
Min HaMetzar Hebrew text
From the Narrow place I called out to God
who answered me with the Divine Expanse. (Psalm 118:5) 

This is a text we sing in Hallel on Passover this Shabbat. To listen, click here

Metzar is the same root word as Mitzrayim (Egypt) which literally means the narrow place.  The story of Passover is a story about the Israelites journey from a narrow place to freedom. So too we imagined ourselves at our Seder tables moving from bondage to freedom.  What are our narrow places? What are the places of struggle, difficulty, suffering or challenge in our lives? What would it mean to call out to God
and for God to answer us giving us a sense of spaciousness in which transformation can happen?

Join us for Passover services this Shabbat via live stream. Chag Sameach!  Shabbat Shalom!

March 25 - Seder Flow

Learn our "Jazzy Version" of the Seder Order. Click here to listen. Looking forward to seeing you at the 2nd Seder led by Rabbi Wolk and myself. Chag Pesach Sameach!   Happy Passover!


March 18 - MIRIAM’S TABLE 2021 – The International Virtual Women’s

Please join me, along with the incomparable Beth Styles (who conceived and produces this event) and many incredible women participating in the MIRIAM’S TABLE” 2021 – The International Virtual Women’s Seder - TONIGHT, THURSDAY, MARCH 18 @ 8PM.

To participate on ZOOM LIVE - Please register here:


March 11 - Remember Woman Remember by Laurie Akers 
                   (poem by Reece Levya)

In honor of International Women's Day, we share this powerful new composition with you. Today, we celebrate women's achievements, milestones, and resilient spirits while encouraging the accelerated progress of gender equality. There is no limit to what we can accomplish! Remember, Woman, Remember!!

"Remember, Woman, Remember"
- Poem by Reese Leyva
- Music and additional lyrics by Laurie Akers

To listen, click here.


March 4 -  Y’varechecha by Zina Goldrich

This week we are celebrating the Bat Mitzvah of Jordan Sokolowicz. Last week we celebrated Liza Simon and two weeks ago, Penina Polsky. Next week, we celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of Quinn Pickett. It is an honor and delight to watch our students step up onto the Bima, lead us in prayer, and chant from the Torah. This is the blessing we give our B’nai Mitzvah on their special day.

May God bless you and protect you
May God show you favor and be gracious unto you.
May God show you kindness and grant you peace, and grant you peace.

Ken y’hi ratzon-May it be so. 

To listen to Y’varechecha,  a traditional Priestly Blessing, click here.


February 18 - V’asu li mikdash - Sanctuary Song

V’asu li mikdash v’shachanti b’tocham, Make for me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them. In parshat Truma, Moses asks the Israelites to give gifts from their hearts in order to make a Mishkan, a holy space, so that God can dwell among them. We learn that the Torah uses the word “them” and not “it” because God dwells within us when we create this holy space, not just in “it” the beautiful building we create. To listen, to V’asu li mikdash, click here.


February 11 - More Love  by Billy Jonas

Simu, simu ahavatchem ba-olam is Hebrew for Put, put your love in the world today.  Though Valentine’s Day is in no way Jewish, it  makes us think about love.   Intentionally spreading love to our families, friends and beyond is all we need to make a positive impact in our world. 

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 Valentine’s Day this Sunday!


February 4 - L’dor Vador by Josh Nelson

Join us this Shabbat over livestream to thank our Legacy donors and celebrate our Beyond B’nai Mitzvah students who will share their voices and lead us in Shabbat services.

L’dor Vador (click here, to listen) we protect this chain, from generation to generation. 

Shabbat Shalom, Cantor Lissek


January 28 - Eli Eli, God, My God  by Oran Eldor

The anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau (International Holocaust Remembrance Day) was designated by the United Nations for the world to commemorate the six million Jewish lives, and millions of others, lost in the Holocaust. People around the world listen to stories on this day from Holocaust survivors to learn about the events that led to World War II and to honor the memories of those lost. This is also an opportunity for us to reflect and vow never again.

As we search for answers we are reminded of our responsibility as a people to remember, see the humanity in each other, and make the world a better place. The daughter of a Hidden Child in France during World War II, my family’s story of survival along with the backdrop of the Holocaust has most shaped my worldview. Taking the tragedy of the past to inform the present, I have learned that it is dehumanization that allows this and other genocides to occur. The antidote is drawing out our shared humanity from all walks of life. As survivors will not be here forever,  and I believe it is incumbent upon us to share the stories we have been entrusted with from generation to generation. With this music, I hope it will be relevant to a new generation.

Oran Eldor wrote this moving setting of Hanah Senesh’s Halicha L’kesariaWe pray, My God, My God, May these things never end, The sand and the sea, The rustle of the water, The lightning in the sky, Human prayer. Click here to listen.


January 7 - Oseh Shalom by Debbie Friedman

This Friday, January 9, marks the 10-year anniversary since Debbie Friedman died in 2011.  She made such a huge impact on Jewish music that there is a cantorial school named after her.  She inspired a whole new generation of cantors and sacred music makers to write new Jewish music. We know and cherish her most popular settings,
Mi Shebeirach and L’chi Lach.  Today, sing along with me to her Oseh Shalom (click here) which we’ll also sing together at Kabbalat Shabbat services this Friday. The yearning in this setting of Oseh Shalom resonates with us now as we pray for peace
in our country and in our communities.



Fri, May 24 2024 16 Iyyar 5784