Welcome to my website and this hybrid world I've created A rabbi who sings the Great American songbook and more. A cabaret singer who loves to tell stories. A storyteller who uses music and Jewish values to illustrate those stories. I'm ready to share it all with you!
I grew up in a home deeply committed to Jewish life. Both parents were very involved in the synagogue of my childhood in Monroeville, PA. In some ways, it's not surprising that I chose to become a rabbi. What was surprising was that I made the decision when I was 13 and there were not yet any women rabbis. I attended Brandeis University and majored in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and then was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in NYC in 1982, the 49th women to be ordained. I served congregations in Scarsdale, NY, Germantown, MD , was a chaplain at American University and Williams College, and then spent 22 wonderful years at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire in Great Barrington, MA.
I have always loved Jewish music and sang in choirs when I was a kid. That love of Jewish music remained strong and when I came to Hevreh in 1992, I served both as rabbi and cantor. We developed a wonderful musical tradition at Hevreh; together with my choir, we even recorded 2 CD's of liturgical music.
In 1995, I was invited to give a lecture at a local synagogue and for some reason, I asked if I could present a music program instead. And that's how Broadway Bible was born! Together with my friend (and dentist!) Alan Gold, we created a show that combined Bible stories and Broadway songs. It was a great success so we took that show to Elderhostels and synagogues across the Northeast.
There was no turning back! I started creating fund-raisers for the synagogue that celebrated Jewish songwriters. I began to present those programs elsewhere, even traveling to Berlin, Germany for one of my concerts.
In 2010, inspired by the wonderful mitzvah projects done by my Bnai mitzvah students, I created Warm Up the Winter, a community concert that raised funds for fuel assistance for those in need during the cold Berkshire winters. In the seven years that I produced and performed Warm Up the Winter, we raised over $25,000. I am proud that the sponsoring organization, Construct has continued Warm Up the Winter as their main winter fund-raiser
In 2014, I was ready to turn my attention to my music full time. I moved to New York City and began to work on my debut show which was presented in the spring of 2018. ON PURPOSE: Rabbi, Wife, Mother, Friend, Singer is a musical memoir that celebrates the many facets of my life. I am grateful that ON PURPOSE was recognized with nominations for Best Debut Show by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets as well Broadway World. I have taken ON PURPOSE as well as my other shows around the country.
I am currently working on my new show: Jewish Caroling: The Music of Carole King, Carole Bayer-Sager and Carolyn Leigh which will have its long-delayed and long-awaited debut on December 1, 5 and 8 at Don't Tell Mama in NYC.
My very first "show card" for ON PURPOSE, directed by Lennie Watts and music-directed by Tracy Stark. ON PURPOSE includes songs from Broadway, contemporary pop and country songs and even a few songs written by beloved and talented friends!
(card designed by Richard Becker, photo by Glenn Jussen)
I'm thrilled to have had the chance to delve deeply into the life and work of three iconic songwriters: Carole King, Carole Bayer-Sager and Carolyn Leigh with a show title that plays on the common understanding that most Christmas songs were written by Jewish songwriters. No Christmas carols here, just the work of three extraordinary women. Directed by Lennie Watts and music directed by Tracy Stark. David Silliman on drums and Matt Scharfglass join Tracy on stage.
(show card designed by my daughter Miriam Ross, photo by Helane Blumfield)
I'd love to stay in touch. Add your contact information to my mailing list and I'll let you know about upcoming performances.