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Additional Artists 2010-2017

Additional Participating Artists 2010-2017

Dena Abergel, Principal dancer NYC Ballet.  Dena began dancing at the age of 4. She grew up in Englewood, New Jersey, where she studied ballet with Dorit Koppel until the age of 13. She attended the School of American Ballet until she was invited to join New York City Ballet in 1990. Ms. Abergel performed numerous solo and featured roles in the company’s vast repertoire, originating roles in ballets by Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins. She graduated from Fordham University in 2000 with a BA in English. In 2009, Ms. Abergel joined the faculty of the School of American Ballet and was named Assistant Children’s Ballet Master at New York City Ballet. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and 4 year-old daughter.

Gayle Ashkenazy, Classical Pianist. Gayle studied piano at the Juilliard School Pre-College Division, Eastman School of Music and the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Past appearances include solo piano and chamber music performances for Festival Miami, the 92nd Street Y, The Lucy Moses School, Paul Recital Hall at Lincoln Center, The Merrick Library and the Great Neck House. Gayle also recorded and released a cross-over (Broadway) CD with singer, Martin Mansfield, entitled “Demarcations.” Gayle is a Balaat Teshuvat, initially inspired by Lincoln Square Synagogue’s Beginners Service, where she met her husband. Presently, Gayle, her husband, son and daughter live in Great Neck, New York and are members of the Young Israel of Great Neck. Gayle has a private music studio in Great Neck where she teaches piano, sight-singing and music theory. She has also served as a judge and accompanist for Great Neck’s Young Artist Series and holds a law degree from NYU.

Elana Bell, Vocalist and Poet.  Elana has been singing since before she could speak. Her first memories are of harmonizing to 1950’s songs around the campfire with her parents in the woods of northern California. Elana has continued to use voice as her primary means of creative self-expression and communication, pursuing theatre, poetry, and song. In 2001, Elana performed at the National Black Theater Festival in Minus One, an educational musical about violence in teen relationships. In 2004 Elana was selected as the winner of the Stephen Dunn Poetry Award. A resident artist with the louderARTS Project, Elana has been a featured poet at Bar 13, the NuYorican Poets Cafe, Hunter College, Teachers and Writers Collaborative, The Bowery Poetry Club, Cornelia Street Café, and at the Indian Institute for Advanced Studies in Simla, India. Currently, Elana serves as the writer-in-residence for the Bronx Academy of Letters and sings in the women’s world music trio, Saheli.

Esther Berger, Singer-Songwriter.  Esther has been actively involved in music since I was six years old when I first began playing piano. I took up guitar when I was ten and recently spent a year learning vocal technique with a Julliard trained instructor. I have been writing and singing original pieces for the past four years. I’ve played for many of my school functions and performances, as well as the Ladies’ Auxiliary Tea. I’ve taught both piano and guitar “by ear”-not what to play, but how to play it. Music serves as the universal language of emotion, where a part of the composer is imbibed in the melody and is able to be expressed to the listener.

Yaffa Borukhova, Mezzo-Soprano Born in former Soviet Union, Yaffa moved to the United States with her family in 1991. She received her bachelor of music in vocal perfomance from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music, followed by advanced studies in vocal performance at Accademia Internazionale delle Arti in Rome, Italy. She enjoys singing different genres of music ranging from jazz to rock to classical and has performed for audiences internationally. In 2007 she released an album titled Contemporary Russian Romances.

Bulletproof Stockings, Women’s Band.  Bulletproof Stockings is a new Jewish Rock band, formed in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, December of 2011. The group is composed of vocalist and pianist Perl Wolfe & drummer Dalia G. Shusterman. They make music exclusively for women. Bulletproof Stockings released their first single, Frigid City, December 18th and are coming out with an EP album March 1st. Check out Bulletproof Stockings’ band page on facebook for music & tour dates

Chana Laila, Singer-Songwriter.  Chana Laila is a cutting-edge singer-songwriter and inspiring instrumentalist who plays flute, guitar, and percussion. She performs her original Jewish music and leads drumming workshops nationally and internationally for women’s audiences. Originally from the NYC area and currently living in western MA, her debut album Lion of Judah is a fresh and vibrant voice in the world of Jewish women’s music. Chana Laila has taught songwriting workshops to teenage girls both in Brooklyn and in western MA, enhancing self expression and healing through music and creative writing. She is currently working on a full length hip-hop album of niggunim on flute with Jewish hip-hop producer Prodezra.

Shira Dahan, Vocalist and Producer / Recording Studio.  Shira is the co-founder of a music and dance program for girls in Lakewood, NJ called Kulanu Nashir. Kulanu Nashir is still running successfully by Dahan’s partner, Esther Malka Bock, but Dahan has moved to New York and trained with Malky Giniger, for whom she is now a teacher.

Sarah Dukes, Piano Composer. Sarah started playing piano when she was six years old and composed her first song—a playfully dramatic number called “Elephant in Tights”—at the mere age of eight. Classically trained until she was 18, the North Carolina raised pianist increasingly turned to music and songwriting as a way of expressing herself, and by the time Sarah finished high school in Pittsburgh, PA, she had a stirring collection of original pieces that now make up her debut album, “Finding Forever.” A completely self-taught composer, Sarah focused on enhancing her skills while studying at New York’s Yeshiva University. Working with professor of music and composer, Christopher Buchenholz, her prowess in composing music began to cement. As a result, Sarah suddenly found herself writing music that exceeded even her own technical mastery. Unwilling to sacrifice the perfect execution of her songs for her debut album, she turned to world renown pianist, composer, and musical director, Yaron Gershovsky, who performed and preserved the exact emotions and sound in Sarah’s mind. Sarah’s songs “The Memory that Lives On” and “If Only” won awards in the Performing Arts Senior Division for the Pittsburgh JCC’s Annual Holocaust Arts and Writing Competition. Jewish Educational Media has used her resonating songs “Star Catcher” and “Wings of a Butterfly” to infuse emotion into two of their popular documentaries. Sarah’s piano solos offer listeners soothing, melodic arrangements bursting with an emotional energy that is unmistakably straight from the heart. “Finding Forever” can be found in many Judaica stores nationwide and are also available from Sarah’s website: www.sarahdukesmusic.com. You can also stay updated on new music by joining Sarah’s facebook fanpage- facebook.com/sarahdukesmusic

Rivka (Eilfort) Fenton, Singer-Songwriter. Rivka is a young singer song-writer born in California to a Chabad family on Shlichus. Rivka started composing music on guitar at the tender age of 15. Her music is folksy and mystical. Her songs integrate deep kabbalistic concepts while at the same time are easy to sing along with and relate to. Rivka currently attends Tzohar Seminary in Pittsburgh , PA , a groundbreaking program which combines Chassidus and the Arts. The program helps each student explore her talent in the various Arts while giving them practical applications in life. Rivka teaches a preschool music class every week and an afterschool drama class for elementary school aged girls.

Myra Estelle, Singer-Songwriter and Author. Myra is an English born songwriter, author, teacher, and mother of two sons, as well as a trained architect. Her songs come from her understanding of our spiritual yearnings, and the need for love within each one of us. Her two books are called: THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS: The Journey from Chaos to Peace, which guides people through a practical understanding of the emotional and physical support we can find from the higher conscious energy that exists in us and in our world.  AWAKENING LOVE: A Spiritual Quest Into Judaism, explores the spiritual aspect of Judaism from a modern perspective. It uncovers significant kabbalistic wisdom that exists beneath the surface of Judaism. She teaches a monthly class about the spiritual path from a Chassidic perspective, including a short, Jewish meditation, at the West 75th Street Townhouse in Manhattan.

Esther Freeman, Singer-Songwriter. Esther is an accomplished performer who brings incredible energy, a beautiful voice, powerful stage presence, creative song-writing and true meaning to the stage. Born and raised in Miami Florida as the 5th child to a lubavitch family of 7, Esther displayed musical ability at a young age and portrayed a real desire to inspire. Having refused an option to become a singer on the radio at 14, Esther was not dettered from her musical aspirations and decided to use it as a means to bringing others closer to Judaism. She began composing music and writing her own lyrics, accompanying herself on guitar and piano over 10 years ago. Since then, Esther has electrified audiences across the globe, in Amsterdam, London, Sweden, and throughout the United States. Esther’s music ranges from slow soulful ballads to high-energy songs and are accompanied by personal stories and deep Jewish concepts bound to capture, inspire and warm the hearts of her audience. What unites all of her songs are the meaningful lyrics that reflect her desire to share the beauty of Judaism with the world.

Deborah Gallant is a New York City-based business coach, dynamic speaker, teacher and workshop facilitator who helps make business topics interesting and valuable. Her lively style, peppered with humor and real-life stories, wins her rave reviews and she has been described as “Carol Burnett with an MBA.” She is a frequent presenter for the Jewish Women Entrepreneurs national and local chapters. Deborah holds a BA from Brandeis University and an MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Her work background is in advertising and radio and she was an early Internet pioneer and author. Since 2002, Deborah has worked with hundreds of small business owners and service professionals including doctors, attorneys, accountants, coaches and consultants, helping them create thriving, successful enterprises. Her full biography is available on her website www.boldbusinessworks.com.

Miriam Greenberger, Belly Dancer and Choreographer. Miriam started taking belly dance classes in a local gym 8 years ago. She loved everything about it the music, the costumes and the moves, and took the classes very seriously. This led to finding out where there were more classes available and attending all of those too. She started performing professionally about 5 years ago, and she has done public performances (for women only), parties such as Hennas, Bat mitzvahs, showers, birthday parties, sweet sixteen’s and even a few children’s parties. She has performed in Florida at a new magazine launch at an all women’s luncheon, taught belly dance classes at an Emunah function, at a gym in Brooklyn and at other local functions. She is a religious woman and remains totally covered during dance.

Tamar Guterson, Singer-Songwriter is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has studied piano and is currently studying voice and she loves music and acting. Tamar has appeared in numerous films including “Becoming Rachel” and “The Keystone.”

Infinite Light, Women’s Band.  Infinite Light is a women’s band which seeks to spread the teachings of Light and love throughout the land, spread joy and light and inspire women all over to reach inside themselves and express their amazing talents, creativity, and inner beauty. Our songs are Inspired by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, and the teachings of Chabad Chasidus. We strive to make the world a better place through our music, and we hope that it will aid to hasten the era of Ultimate Peace, Immenently! Sprintza Blumenthal/Paz Cadaner/Deborah Melamed** – Vocals, Rivki Kumer –Piano, Dana Pestun – Violin ** maybe www.weareinfinitelight.com

Penina (Paula) Jacobs is originally from Los Angeles, where she began acting at the age of six. After various roles in theater and television in the United States and Canada, she became involved in theater for young audiences in 1989 though her work as a peer educator for Project ABLE, an educational theater company for at-risk youth in runaway shelters, group homes and correctional facilities in Los Angeles. She then worked as an arts consultant for the Glendale Unified School District, teaching drama to high-risk youth in middle schools. Upon earning teacher certification in English/Theater from California State University, Northridge she taught English and Drama Production at Pacoima Middle School’s Television, Theater and Fine Arts Magnet (LAUSD). Penina was the Performing Arts Director of Oh! Manuyot at Camp Shalom, NJ for four years and is now actively teaching, coaching and consulting for educational and non-profit organizations. Penina has a B.A. in Acting/Directing from California State University, Los Angeles and an M.A. in Educational Theater from New York University. She is NJ State certified as a teacher of English, Theater and Elementary Education. To learn more please visit www.internalachievement.com (did not ultimately attend)

DeDe Jacobs-Komisar, Theater Director, Writer, Actress and Producer.  DeDe is originally from Baltimore, where she co-founded the Jewish Theatre Workshop and ran JTTV Live!, an interactive teen theater program. While living in Israel, DeDe founded and led BamatMabat Theater Company and appeared in productions of Center Stage Theater and Jerusalem English-Speaking Theater. DeDe is on the advisory board of 24/6 Theater Company, and has been published in Bridges: Journal for Women and Home Planet News. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Theater Management at Yale School of Drama with the goal of founding a professional Jewish company. Current projects include an adaptation of Jewish King Lear for the Yale Cabaret, Where is the Woman – an exploration of women in Tanach through the midrashic poetry of Enid Dame, and the Jewish Women through the Ages Fashion Show, produced by Jewish Women’s Circle. DeDe lives with her husband and son in New Haven, CT.

Natalia Kadish, Visual Artist.  Natalia is a Surrealist artist inspired by the joy received from learning Torah and contemplating the infinite. She received a BA in Illustration from School of Visual Arts. Her art has been displayed in several concerts including Irving Plaza in NYC. While incorporating the realism of her father, Laszlo Kubinyi’s, illustrations she explores mystical concepts and understandings inspired by her visit to the Artist Colony in Tzfat, Israel. Her goal is to reveal the love in hearts and share her inspiration with all. “Through art, I attempt to grasp the infinite, to embrace and expose its beauty. My illustrations are symbolic lessons I have learned through my experiences. The motivation behind my artistic expression is one of joyful universality. My goal in each piece of art is to take the viewer on a personal mini-journey bringing the viewer to an experience of the awakening and revealing the love of life that is with in. Every one has a unique love of life animating them. This needs to be revealed in order to spread inspiration. To take these physical aspects of reality and apply them to their spiritual counterpart shows that life, and these objects, are not mundane; they truly are miracles of creation. I want the viewer to be inspired not just by my art, but by life itself.”

Dages Juvelier Keates, Dancer and Choreographer.  Dages is a movement artist based in Brooklyn. She received her BA in dance from Bard College after attending Interlochen Arts Academy. She has performed for choreographers such as Noemie Lafrance, Jennifer Monson, Susan Osberg, Leslie Satin, and Kristi Spessard. She is currently collaborating with video designer Soraya Odishoo and studying Butoh with Tanya Calamoneri. Her collaborative work has been presented through the JCC, d.u.m.b.o arts festival, Food for Thought at St. Marks, Judson Memorial Church, BRIC, and Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Dages is also a board-certified Health Coach (American Association of Drugless Practitioners) and is the founder and director of Delicious Dialogues. Dages became passionate about Judaism in her early twenties. After spending a year in Israel studying at Neve Yerushalayim and with Sarah Yehudit Schneider, she returned to NYC to continue her learning with Rav DovBer Pinson at the Iyyun Yeshivah. Ever exploring different approaches to text, she went on to spend two years studying at Drisha Institute as an arts fellow.

Talia Lakritz, Singer-Songwriter and Journalist.  Talia hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and studies English and Creative Writing at Barnard College in New York City. A singer/songwriter and digital content creator known as “nerdwithavoice” on YouTube, her outspoken videos about Orthodox Jewish feminism have been featured on BBC, NPR, Yahoo! News, The Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, The Forward, and The Times of Israel. She was an artist fellow with the Jewish Women’s Talent Agency and has been a featured performer at VidCon, Jewish Queer Youth’s Community Chanukah Party for LGBTQ Jews and Allies, Barnard’s Take Back The Night Speakout, and In The Glow. When she’s not lugging her keyboard around on the subway on her way to an open mic, chances are she’s updating her Twitter (@nerdwithavoice), Instagram (@nerdwithavoice), and Tumblr (the orthodoxjukebox.tumblr.com).

Patricia Eszter Margit, Author and Founder-Director of Art Kibbutz.  Eszter is a writer, journalist, sociologist, art manager, healer and community organizer originally from Hungary. Her first novel, The Jewish Bride was published in 2009 in Hungary and sold out within 3 months. The book had been recently translated to English and is currently reviewed by U.S. literary agencies. Eszter moved to New York six years ago, she filled various leadership roles at the Carlebach Shul, Romemu Center and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. She regularly wrote to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Marie Claire magazine and the Jerusalem Report among many other publications. She is a kallah and lives happily with her husband Mordechai, a Torah loving musician.

Nishmat Hatzafon, Dance Group.  Nishmat HaTzafon is a Jewish women’s performing arts company designed to promote the expression of Jewish women’s artistic talent and creativity. The group creates performances that explore a specific Jewish theme. Their performances interweave dance, song, music, and Jewish text and attempt to inspire and impact audiences. Rav Lach Shevet, which literally means “you have been sitting for too long” is a Beit Midrash that incorporates movement and mediation into traditional Jewish text study. In a setting that looks more like a yoga study than a traditional study hall, Rav Lach Shevet delves into powerful and thought-provoking Talmudic tales. Through movement and textual analysis these Talmudic passages transcend the esoteric and become deeply personal and immensely contemporary. Rav Lach Shevet: Beit Midrash in Motion is a partner and outgrowth of Nishmat Hatzafon: Jewish Women’s Performing Arts Company. To contact Rav Lach Shevet and Nishmat Haztafon please visit: www.BeitMidrashInMotion.com

Shira Nussdorf (Ms. Shira), Singer-Songwriter and Producer.  Shira has been performing since she was a child. She began by touring with Sol Zim’s Jewish choir as a youngster. At the age of 8 she composed her first song “Winter’s On its Way” which quickly became one of her elementary school’s official songs for both violin and voice. She attended the esteemed FAME LaGuardia HS for drama. During college she founded her first production company, Busted Theatre Works dedicated to showcasing independent and avant guarde theatre. She graduated Hunter with a double major in creative writing and English Secondary Education and minors in philosophy and theartre. After going to Israel on a birthright program, Shira began her love affair with Zionism and the Jewish people. Since then Ms. Shira has both studied and taught at the kiruv organizations that helped mikiruv her. She has run children’s programs for Aish, Chabad, Hineni,and Gateways. After attending the Jewel program and Neve Yerushalyim she decided to address her struggles with kol isha as an artist by creating women’s performance programming. Her company Ladies First has helped host hundreds of Jewish women singers. Recently she has hosted events in NY with ATARA in Brooklyn and looks forward to continuing creating opportunities and workshops for women worldwide.

Yocheved (Rosenberger) Perlman, Vocalist. Yocheved has been performing for over 15 years for Jewish women audiences all over the United States and Canada. She was fortunate to grow up amongst two very talented parents who are professional musicians. As a young girl, she studied with top vocal coaches. She has performed for Chabad Houses in Florida, California, Nova Scotia, and New York with her mother Mirele Rosenberger as her accompanist. Yocheved has shared the stage with such renowned singers as Ruthi Navon and Kineret. Yocheved continues to bring joy and inspiration through her beautiful and soulful voice.

Rachael Rosenbaum, Flute, Harp and Vocal musician.  Rachael sings for Jewish women. Her first solo performance was at an open mic, Girls Night On! at Makor in New York City. Since then, she has sung a capella, with a guitarist, a pianist, or her harp on several occasions, for example at a shiur given by Midreshet Be’erot Bat Ayin’s Rebbetzin, Chana Bracha Siegelbaum. She also currently sings with the Kol Isha choral group of Monsey. She studied singing for several months in group-classes under Israel’s Nomi Teplow at Michlalah Jerusalem, and has learned no small amount on the subject from Freeda Nadav, Kol Isha’s schooled and skilled director. Several years ago, Rachael was given a harp, and it has become the key to beginning to realize her deep-seated yearning to create songs to share with others. Her harp, a large, 36-string wooden lever harp, is the natural partner to her ethereal soprano voice. Together they strive to give over music that is deep, healing, and spiritually enriching. Rachael is currently birthing her first full-length recording project. Keep an eye out on her website for details: http://www.wix.com/poetgrowfruit/rachaelrosenbaum. (With G-d’s help, it should be ready for the sharing by 5773 or 4, 2012 or 13.)

Sheva Chaya Saivan, Glass Blowing Artist.  Light, color, joy, and depth define the work of Tzfat artist, Sheva Chaya Shaiman. Sheva Chaya grew up in Denver, Colorado where wide open skies and the majestic Rocky Mountains inspired her to begin her career as an artist. She studied at Princeton University, majoring in visual art and art history, with a concentration in painting. After graduating from Princeton in 1997, Sheva Chaya immigrated to Israel. There, the land, the people, and a rich tradition of spiritual teachings brought a new, deeper dimension to her work. Sheva Chaya now loves living in the Old City of Tzfat, Israel, with her husband and three children. www.shevachaya.com

Ilana Chava Shechter, Singer-Songwriter.  Since the age of twelve, Ilana Chava has been creating catchy, thought provoking and meaningful music. She combines personal experience and Torah insight to make music that is sure to inspire. Her songs take you on a journey of introspection and expression. These songs will move you to take a deeper look inside yourself and at the world around you.Ilana Chava aims to connect with and inspire Jewish women through her music. Ilana sees music as a gift from Hashem that has the power to transcend the physical and connect us all with something higher– to be in the world, yet transcend it.Ilana received vocal training from Elizabeth Fauntleroy of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Kate Moss of the University of Illinois, and has been a member of choirs and acapella groups. She runs a Women’s Rosh Chodesh group on the campus of University of Illinois, where she works to bring strength and inspiration to the Jewish community.

Leah Sigal, Singer-Songwriter. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Leah Sigal, who currently resides in Monsey, NY, has had a passion for music since her early childhood years. Besides being a busy housewife and mommy, Leah spends her time composing and arranging soul-stirring, heart-rending and uplifting music, drawing out the essence, holiness and inner beauty of words from the Jewish Prayer Book, the Book of Psalms and the Holy Scriptures. In addition, Leah writes her own inspirational lyrics in English, Spanish and Hebrew. To date Leah has produced two CDs, titled: “My Sister” – Songs of Encouragement, Hope and Praise, which was inspired by Rivky, her special needs daughter, and her newest release “Peace in Israel” – Yearning for Blessings and Redemption. With great excitement, she is currently working on her third album. Leah is available to sing for Women’s concerts, tea parties, fund-raisers, good-bye parties or any women’s events.

Elke Reva Sudin, Visual Artist and Art Entrepreneur. Elka Reva is a visual artist who draws inspiration from urban culture and her Jewish heritage. She founded Jewish Art Now with the aim to redefine 21st century art for the Jewish community, and received critical acclaim for her “Hipsters and Hassids” painting series. Sudin received a BFA in Illustration from Pratt Institute in New York. She has curated art exhibitions at the Flomenhaft Gallery, Gallery Bar, and Industry City and has presented at the Jewish Art Salon, Limmud FSU, and Tribefest in Las Vegas. Recently, Sudin was named one of the “36 Under 36” young Jewish innovators by The Jewish Week. Sudin lives with her filmmaker husband Saul, in Brooklyn, New York.

Nechama Tarlow, Drummer and Music Therapist, LCSW, MT-BC.  Nechama is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Board Certified Music Therapist practicing in New Jersey. Although a classically trained flutist, her favorite way to make music is through improvisation, which is easily facilitated with drums and percussion instruments. Nechama trained with Arthur Hull, renowned Drum Circle Facilitator, and uses percussion instruments as a key part of her music therapy practice. While doing fieldwork for her Masters Degree at Wurzweiler School of Social Work (Yeshiva University) she became interested in Music Therapy, realizing that there were ways to reach people beyond the use of words. In 2009, Nechama became a Certified Advanced Trainer in “The Nurtured Heart Approach”TM , also referred to as “Energy Parenting”, and has been training parents and consulting in schools in this unique relational approach.

Yona Verwer, Visual Artist.  Dutch-born Yona Verwer’s paintings and photos feature Kabbalah inspired imagery. Besides solo shows in the Netherlands and New York, her work has been exhibited in the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art and the Mizel Museum. Her murals are on view at the S.A.R. High School in Riverdale, NY and the Center for Jewish Discovery in NYC. Her work has been featured in the NY Times, the New Yorker, the Daily News, the Jewish Press, and the NY Jewish Week. She is the president of the Jewish Art Salon in NYC, where she organized dozens of art events and exhibits at e.g. the Flomenhaft Gallery NYC, and the Manhattan JCC. She presented at the Jewish Museum and Limmud NY. Her website: http://yonaverwer.com

Miriam Yerushalmi, Dance and Creative Arts Educator.  Through dance, music and Chassidism, Miriam has been using art to help fix our souls. Her movements echo deep teachings from Kabbalah and Tanya, inspiring children, teenagers, and adults. She deals with themes such as serving G-d with joy, as a bride or an angel, and she dresses up in dazzling costumes. All of her dances and workshops are based on Chassdic teachings from the previous Lubvitchers rebbe and Chassidus. Her dance performances are not typical because embedded within every move is a message. She uses her voice in singing in combination with using her body in dance, so its especially powerful and effective.

Tziona Achishena Zilbershtein, Singer-Songwriter. Tziona lives in Northern Israel, where she performs her moving original compositions and teaches singing, Torah, and prayer. She is a mulit-instrumentalist who plays guitar, piano, riq (a Middle Eastern tambourine), harmonium, and the Persian santur. After living in California, performing improvised music with free Jazz giants such as Charles Gayle, and producing story-theatres and an album of original music, she returned to her Jewish roots and moved to Israel. She channeled her diverse backround, which includes intensive studies of Ballet, Tap, and Jazz, Traditional dance in Indonesia, Tai Chi, Western vocal training, Persian classical singing, and creative writing, through a lens of Torah and Mitzvot. Shedding the chaff and harvesting the essence, she uses these skills to express the heart of Jewish prayer through original songs from the Siddur (prayer book) and especially Tehillim (psalms). Since then, she has produced four albums of music, and inspired countless women and girls to express themselves through singing in holiness, and to find their own unique way to connect with G-d. Her students, some as young as 10 years old, compose their own songs and have even recorded CDs under her guidance. She performs solo, and with various drummers and instrumentalists, including violinist and vocalist Chava Rachel Saban. www.koltziona.com

JUNIOR ATARA 2010-2012 – gifted artists age 10-17

Rebecca Ashkenazy, JUNIOR (2012) Performing Artist. Rebecca is a 12 year-old singer, actress and dancer from Great Neck, New York. Her performance credits include the title role in the 2011 Great Neck Public School Summer Musical Theater Production of Cinderella. Additionally, she has performed in following Sid Jacobson JCC community theater productions: Grease (Rizzo), Annie (Molly) and High School Musical (Lead Dancer). Most recently, Rebecca served as MC and performed as a soloist for a benefit concert (in support of Kol Neshama), which she and her parents produced as her Bat Mitzvah Chesed Project. Rebecca and the concert were featured in an article appearing in The Great Neck News (December 9, 2011). Not just a performer, Rebecca also aspires to work in film production/editing as she spends numerous hours each week creating iMovie and You Tube videos. She welcomes performance and film apprenticing opportunities. Rebecca is currently a 7th grader at Yeshiva Har Torah in Queens, New York.

Hannah Laskow, JUNIOR (2012), age 14, from Agouti Hills, California has been performing on stage from the age of four. Since then she has held major roles in dozens of musicals through school, camp and community theater, including Class Act and Kol Neshamah. What she loves most about theater is singing. At age 10, she began writing her own songs and producing them in her home studio. This past year, she wrote the songs, trained the vocalists, produced the recordings, directed the stage show and marketed her very first all girls concert — Shalosh! The audience members thought they were going to see a kids’ show. The jaw dropping performance wowed the women who attended, who then leapt to their feet and gave a standing ovation. The concert was a smashing success and the talk of the town for several weeks. We’ve all heard family and friends of famous performers talk about how they knew someone was destined to accomplish their dream of success at an early age. Hannah Laskow is one of those people.

Tzippa Marchette, JUNIOR (2012) is an 8th grader at New England Hebrew Academy in Boston. Involved with music from a very young age, Tzippa sings and plays piano and guitar. She has studied piano and voice with Melody Michaelson and songwriting with Esther Leah Marchette, and she spent 2 summers at Kol Neshama Performing Arts Conservatory in LA. Tzippa has written 9 new original songs over the past year and hopes to make a CD in the future.

Natali Polonsky, JUNIOR (2012) is a 7th grader at Yavne High School. Natali has been singing and dancing since the age of 3. Natali has been studying Ballet, jazz, and hip hop at the Creative Learning Institute of Dance and has studied voice with Katia Bolotin, Rachel Covitch and with the Kol Neshama camp in California. Natali has participated in Atara for 4 years.

Malka Russell, JUNIOR (2012) loves to act, sing, and play her guitar. She had a role in the play Oliver when she was 9, and played the leading role as Joseph in an original musical school play, when she was 14. She played the evil uncle in her school play “A Daughter in Disguise” last year. She loves to cook, bake, and spend time with her family. She can be heard throughout the house at late hours of the night, strumming on her guitar, singing. Music is the pen to her soul, and her creative spark inspires her to pursue her dreams and share her love of music with others.

Chana Leah Yerushalmi, JUNIOR (2012) Age 12. Chana Leah’s beautiful and inspirational songs came streaming though her a week and a half before her bas mitzvah last spring. She recorded an album in a mere week and a half with original lyrics that she composed herself with catchy, fun beats that mothers and daughters will be singing and dancing along with for years to come. Chana Leah talks about such important messages for today’s youth and people are amazed that she came to such deep realizations on her own at the tender age of twelve. Many of her songs are based on niggunim of the Chabad Rebbe and others original. Her songs themes include Bitachon, changing the world by focusing on one’s self, and loving your mother. The memory of the love song helped one mothers’ relationship with her children improve because her children were motivated by Chana Leah’s song about having love to ones’ mother.