This Hanukkah, ALEPH is giving our community the gift of story and song. For each night of Hanukkah, we’re sending creative offerings direct to our community’s inboxes. In turn, we ask that you consider making an end of year gift to ALEPH to help us illuminate the future of Renewal Judaism. Visit bit.ly/givealeph to make your gift.
Our first Hanukkah offering on behalf of ALEPH is from Rabbi Shefa Gold. Rabbi Shefa is the director of C-DEEP: The Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice, and was named “One of the 33 Most Inspiring Rabbis in America,” by the Jewish Forward. She also runs SOULIFT, a one week immersive retreat in the spiritual practice of putting love at the center (click here to register). She received her ordination both from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l.
On this first night of Hanukkah, Rabbi Shefa focuses on the idea of rededication and centering oneself in the temple of the body. “To be a temple,” she says, “is to be a nexus point between the finite and the infinite. And at Hanukkah we illuminate that nexus point. We open up the portal between worlds and open up to the possibility of miracles.”
Our second creative offering if from Maggid Jim Brulé.
Maggid Jim Brulé is a spiritual storyteller and guide. He is the founder of Transformational Storytelling which helps transform the world through stories and helps storytellers become transformational storytellers.
Maggid Jim’s enthralling story, The Chanukkiah, centers a prized object, a reluctantly made gift, a flawed angel, and the theme of generosity. His offering is a shining example of the longstanding tradition of Jewish storytelling and tales that transform.
For the third night of Hanukkah, Hazzan Diana Brewer and Aaron Knopf sing in celebration of the third night of Hanukkah, performing Ocho Kandelikas. This song is of the Ladino tradition and celebrates the lights of Hanukkah.
Hazzan Diana Brewer was ordained through the ALEPH Ordination Program, where she is now the Dean of Students. She is on the faculty of ALEPH’s Davennen’ Leadership Training Institute (DLTI) and serves as hazzan at the Jewish Community of Amherst (JCA) in Massachusetts, leading Shabbat, weekday, and High Holy Day services. In this video, she is accompanied by Aaron Kropf. The two have been partners in musical davvening at the JCA for the past ten years.
For the fourth night, we have an offering from Marilyn Bronstein and company.
Over the last 30 years, Marilyn Bronstein has composed over 150 Jewish chants and written 2 books. Her songs are sung in Jewish women’s groups around the world. Her chants are used to accompany the dying and those in need of healing. She blends Hebrew and English to capture the multilayered meaning of the sacred texts. She blends the new with the traditional to accentuate the depth of the original message. She gets her inspiration from the Torah, the psalms, or the liturgy. She is part of the ADDING OUR VOICES project. Her chants can be heard at http://marilynbronstein.bandcamp.com
The song featured here, Ki v’or Panecha, was composed and performed by Marilyn Bronstein. Joining her are singers Josee Gagnon, Joan Bachus, Ingrid Birker, Claire Heenan, and Damaris Baker. They wish to extend a huge thank you to their Shamash techie, Damaris Baker, for recording and editing the video.
Please enjoy this video from Rabbi Shawn Zevit who sings in celebration of the fifth night of Hanukkah. Rabbi Shawn serves as rabbi at Mishkan Shalom, in Philadelphia, PA. He is co-founder/director with Rabbi Marcia Prager of the Davennen Leader’s Training Institute and has been one of the leaders of ALEPH Hashpa’ah (Spiritual Direction) Training Program for a decade. Shawn is an active leader in faith and justice work, a liturgical recording and performing artist, one of the founders of www.menschwork.org, co-editor of “Brother Keepers: New Perspectives in Jewish Masculinity,” and author of “Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Community.”
We’re pleased to present another song from Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael in celebration of the fifth night of Hanukkah. As Director of Spiritual Arts at ALEPH, Reb Rayzel curates special programs to enhance community and shine a light on Jewish creativity. She has a private practice for lifecycle events in the Philadelphia area. Previously, she has served four congregations and currently is the spiritual leader for Darkaynu.
For the sixth night of Hanukkah, we have a video from Cantorial Soloist Laura Lenes. Laura, currently a student of the AOP, is a cantorial soloist and long time musician and educator. Her lifetime mission is to connect young Jewish families to Judaism and the Jewish community through music, sign language, & the arts. Her video was recorded in collaboration with her daughter who was the videographer and producer.
For the seventh night we have not one but two offerings from Rabbinic Pastor/Cantor Lisa Levine.
Lisa is a well known cantor, composer, poet, author, chaplain and recording artist. Her catalog includes 11 CD’s and as many songbooks and her compositions are widely recorded and chorale series published by Transcontinental Music. Lisa received Ordination from HUC-JIR DFSSM in NYC. She is the author of “Yoga Shalom” a popular Jewish Yoga book and is the prayer voice of “Hebrew In Harmony” published by Behrman House.
Lisa is ordained as Rabbinic Pastor through ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She shares Yoga Shalom classes via Zoom as well as worship healing and chaplaincy in zoom rooms around the world. Her first collection of poetry “Heart of Light” with artwork by Julie Silver was published in 2020. She is co-President of the Rabbinic Pastors Association and serves on the OHALAH and Ezra Uganda Assistance Boards. She serves as Cantor of Temple Beth Israel of York PA and resides in Brookeville MD.
In celebration of the last night of Hanukkah, we are pleased to share Shoshana Jedwab’s 2016 song, Sun Halleluyag. This vibrant, dance-inducing track includes English, Hebrew, and Spanish lyrics. The lyrics are based on the Psalms which imagine the song of the sun, moon and stars. Sun Halleluyah is perfect for the festival of lights at a time in human history where darkness seems to surround us.
Shoshana Jedwab is a concert performer, singer/songwriter, prayer and ritual leader, hand drummer, drum circle facilitator, and sacred text teacher