Participating Artists, 2007-2009
Phyllis Blackman comes from a musical family and has always been in chorales and musical groups, receiving honors for her vocal performances. She has been part of the recording groups Blue Spectra and Dubie Duke and the Duchess. Phyllis composes and sings her own music and has been hailed as the “Jewish Judy Collins” for her folk style and meaningful words. She has recently released a spiritual CD called Coming Home. Phyllis works as a matchmaker for Rebbetzin Jungreis at Hineni.
Katia Bolotin, a pianist, composer, arranger and vocalist, is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and The Cleveland Institute of Music. She holds a Master’s degree in musicology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She lectures and performs both nationally and internationally. She is the founder of “One Voice,” a movement committed to inspiring spiritual growth among Jewish women and girls, through motivational lectures and musical events. [Sunday PM]
Chava Schneider was born and grew up in Chelsea. Both her parents were involved in music professionally- her father taught high school music and her mother played in orchestras locally. From an early age, Chava studied choir and piano, but immediately loved guitar. She was influenced by folk, rock, classical, popular and jazz. She led a band, recorded an album of her songs, and played, performed and recorded with many other artists. She toured extensively in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Once she discovered Yiddishkeit, she was drawn more and more into a Jewish way of life, and now only performs for women.
Rachel Factor is a Kollel wife and mother who makes her home in Eretz Israel. Her journey from Hawaii, where she was born, to Los Angeles and then New York as a singer, dancer and actress and finally to her home in Yerushalayim is chronicled in the acclaimed one-woman show entitled “J.A.P.” which has been touring worldwide. Her extensive experience as a professional performer for over 20 years has included 8 years on Broadway, over 40 television and print commercial clients, numerous MTV music videos, television and film appearances, and performances at the Radio City Music Hall as a World Famous Rockette. She founded a writing/performance group in New York which played to sold-out crowds, starred in several Shakespearean classics and directed plays and readings in the Off-Off Broadway realm.
Chanale Fellig is a singer, songwriter, recording artist and performer whose melodic and moving songs open the hearts and touch the spirits of women in communities everywhere. Her powerful performances excite and inspire all-female crowds in places as far as China, South America, Alaska and Israel, in schools such as Bais Yakov, Bais Rivka, and TAG. Her career began in 1999 when she was invited to sing for “Women in Song,” a concert that featured performances from talented female musicians from all over the country. Chanale debuted the song “Esa Aini” to a sold-out crowd and, more importantly, discovered her passion for musical entertainment. Her music reflects her strong Jewish heritage and embraces her contemporary musical taste. A powerful performer, Chanale charms her audience with her charisma, upbeat attitude and warm smile, creating a unique bond with listeners. She has been hailed as the fastest rising Jewish female singing sensation in the last decade and she is here to stay. www.chanalesings.com
Ariella Goldberg is a singer-songwriter originally from Beverly Hills, California. She tours communities in Canada and the US performing a dramatic musical program From 90210 to 613, a musical rendition of her odyssey from secular Beverly Hills to life as a Chassidic woman. As she accompanies herself on the guitar, she weaves together Yiddish lullabies, Chassidic tunes, contemporary melodies and original compositions in a delightful and meaningful performance ideal for women’s gatherings and special occasions. Mrs. Goldberg has appeared with Israeli superstar Ruthi Navon and on CBS Radio and CKY-TV in Winnipeg, Canada. She lives in Toronto with her husband and children.
Tziporah Miriam Halperin, Mezzo-soprano, has appeared in concert and in a wide range of opera roles with companies around the U.S. including the Caramoor Festival, West Bay Opera in Palo Alto, Opera Theater of Connecticut, and the Sanibel Festival. Noted especially for her dramatic flair and stylistic versatility, she enjoys bringing music of all kinds to concert audiences, as well as teaching voice in her Upper West Side studio. Her website is www.singingisforeveryone.com.
Marilyn Lechtman began ballet training at Les Grand Ballet Canadienne in Montreal and continued studies in jazz and modern dance. She taught and performed for a number of years before turning her artistic expression to clothing and costume design. In 2005 she debuted her one-woman show “Letters of Appreciation” which she performs as a charity project for Synagogue groups, schools and other organizations. Professionally, she is a real estate agent and considers all her challenges opportunities for creativity. Marilyn lives in Toronto with her husband of 34 years. She has two grown children and two grandchildren. She is proud to be a co-founder of Koleinu and would like to express her heartfelt appreciation to be blessed with the support of family and friends to participate in this wonderful production.
Leah Levy is a new up and coming filmmaker. Her films capture her struggles, adventures and fears as she journeyed into frumkite. After receiving a Bachelor’s of Art’s in Sociology from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, she came to New York and worked in music. With a background in theatre, drumming (middle eastern and african drums), and turning her back on a possible career in disc jockeying for religion, she decided to earn an Associate’s in Occupational Studies in Video Production at the Art Institute of New York City received June 2008. This decision to follow her creative side was inspired by her grandmother and grandfather’s influences on her in art and spirituality. Therefore, her first Experimental Film “Chumatz” was completed in their memory. “Engaged” is her last project completed in 2008.
Rivka Lomiansky (Watters) has been a professional performer for over 15 years and has a tremendous amount of training in acting, dance and voice. She has studied at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, as well as at the Toronto-based comedic workshop Second City and with top coaches in Los Angeles. Rivka began singing classically at a young age, and has taken a wide range of dance lessons since the age of three, from jazz, ballet and tap to hip hop. Rivka has appeared in feature films, played leading and supporting roles in TV series, and has been seen in many commercials. She has performed song and dance in concert all over Canada and the United States, also making many T.V and radio appearances debuting those talents. Rivka is currently running Toronto’s first musical theatre program for Torah-observant girls, called Neshama Theatre Troupe. She provides an after school program and a summer camp, with a strong focus on creativity and positive body image. Both programs culminate in a full-scale theatre production. www.neshamatheatre.com
Henye Meyer, a writer and theatre director in Manchester, England, has two published novels and an upcoming work to appear shortly as a serial in Hamodia. She has written articles for the BBC, Jewish Observer, Jewish Tribune, and the Jewish Homemaker, as well as comedy routines and eight full length plays and musical comedies. In 2005, she and a friend founded a women’s theater group in Manchester, PACE. She has produced as well as performed in its plays, written some of the music, edited two DVD’s and designed their packaging, and is responsible for business management of the company. Her work has been very warmly received by the local community. She holds a BA from Brandeis and has training in writing, speech and drama, voice, and music transcription. Henye works part-time and is a grandmother.
Ashira Morgenstern composed/released the first recording of original music by and for Jewish women in 1983 under the guidance of Rav Sheinberg of Torah Ohr and Rav Nachman Bulman. A close student of Rebbetzin Chaya Sara Freifeld, a”h, she was the founding director of Tapeynu, a girl’s yeshiva initiated by Rav Shlomo Freifeld z”l in 1978 (now the Beis Yaakov of Far Rockaway). In 1982, after immigrating to Israel, Ashira and her husband founded the Jerusalem Media Workshop, where they co-authored Lights, a network broadcast animation about Chanukah with the voice talents of Leonard Nimoy and Judd Hirsch. Awarded “Best Educational Film of the Year” by Israel’s Film Board, Lights was one of a number of live action dramas and documentaries produced at the Workshop. Ashira is presently the CEO of an educational media company, Green Field Productions, where she is developing a multi-media project for teens, sponsored by a former executive at the Disney Network. (did not ultimately attend)
Peninnah Schram, well-known storyteller & author, is Professor of Speech and Drama at Yeshiva University’s Stern College. Vibrantly elegant in her storytelling, she tells Jewish stories of wisdom and wit. Her latest book is an illustrated anthology, THE HUNGRY CLOTHES AND OTHER JEWISH FOLKTALES (Sterling Publ.) and a CD, THE MINSTREL & THE STORYTELLER, with singer/guitarist Gerard Edery (Sefarad Records). Peninnah is a recipient of a Covenant Award for Outstanding Jewish Educator and the 2003 National Storytelling Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chana Shavelson received her vocal training from Elizabeth Coss, a former principal artist with the Metropolitan Opera; Mark Aliapoulios, at the Boston University School for the Arts; and Miriam Meltzer, at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music. Chana has attended the Tanglewood Institute and appeared in operas and musicals in the Boston area. She has given five concerts of Yiddish music, and will be performing a new repertoire of Israeli folk music this spring. “Zing!” her album of Yiddish music, is available at MostlyMusic.com.
Rachel Vernon has been training and performing in modern dance since the age of four, and over the past 20 years has had the privilege of working with many of Toronto’s leading modern dancers and choreographers. Rachel has performed in various Canadian cities, including Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Ottawa. A graduate of the University of Toronto, Rachel is currently part of the program implementation team for an employee motivation company. Rachel is particularly thrilled to be able to connect with so many inspiring Torah-focused artists and would like to express gratitude to the organizers of ATARA for making this conference possible.
Judy Winegard was classically trained in the performing arts at Ithaca College having been awarded her BFA in Drama. She has performed in musical theater for over 25 years having performed in such productions as Jekyll and Hyde, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, and many others. Since becoming observant 15 years ago, Judy has performed exclusively for female audiences. In addition to her acting career, her primary talents are singing and comedy. She has performed concerts for Jewish organizations all over the country. In the spring of 2005, Judy released her first solo album of Jewish and spiritual music, The Journey. Other recordings include music for the Disney Channel, as well as several albums released by artists such as Peter Himmelman and Sam Glaser, including the newly released album, Voices for Israel, a fundraiser to support those in need living in Israel. Since 1999 she has been on the staff of Kol Neshama, a performing arts conservatory summer program for Jewish girls based in Los Angeles. She has been a master acting teacher and coach in improvisation, scene study, voice and movement and singing. Judy will be starring in Kol Neshama’s soon-to-be-released full-length musical movie, A Light For Greytowers. It will be the first full feature musical film produced for Jewish women and girls. She also taught and performed lead roles in the two video companion-set, Together as One, and Inner Nature Hike. For the past three years, Judy was the writer, master teacher and director of Baila’s Dance and A Time For Dance. She wrote and revised a total of four plays, The Big Move, Aidel Weiss, The Queen’s Dream and Channie.