Evening Programs at NewCAJE 8

Evening Programs at NewCAJE8

Evening programs are an exciting way to close out each day of the conference. We have some of the best Jewish performers and artists — familiar faces as well as new and upcoming artists. This year, we were fortunate to have Judy Caplan Ginsburgh chair the evening programs with Linda Hirschhorn and Saul Kaye. Together, they cultivated three amazing nights of song, dance, storytelling, theater, music, art and much more! Please explore this site for all the details and check out the performers’ websites.


Judy Caplan Ginsburgh is a multi-award winning singer, recording artist and educator specializing in Jewish music. Her recordings of music for Jewish families are heard all over the world, and she is known for her interactive and fun workshops and concerts. She is a pioneer in the field of American Jewish music for young children. She has chaired Evening Programs at CAJE and NewCAJE conferences and came back for NewCAJE 8.


Linda Hirschhorn is a performing singer/songwriter/composer and story-teller. She travels around the country working with or creating community choruses. She has released 10 recordings of original songs and published hundreds of songs that have been covered by other artists, used in movies, and sung in synagogues throughout the world. She has been the cantor at Temple Beth Sholom in San Leandro for since 1987. 

saul kaye

Saul Kaye is pioneering a new genre of music: Jewish Blues. He has combined the sounds of the struggle of the African Slaves in this country with the history of the Jewish slavery experience. The characters in the Tanach are the central points of Kaye’s narratives. Imagine Muddy Waters meets Shlomo Carlebach, Kaye is an artist who brings something new to Jewish Music and bridges the gap between the Delta and the Torah.


Neshama Carlebacha leading superstar in Jewish Entertainment, has performed and taught in cities worldwide, has sung on the Broadway stage, has sold more than one million records, and was a six-time entrant in the 2011 Grammy Awards. Neshama was one of the creators of the Broadway musical “Soul Doctor”. In November of 2016, Neshama was inducted into the Brooklyn Hall of Fame, where she received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for her work. Neshama is currently touring with a new band and gospel choir and joyfully raising her two sons, Rafael and Micah. 

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Nefesh Mountain are the pioneers of a new sound where Jewish Spirit and Soul meet with Bluegrass and Old-time musical traditions. Founders, husband and wife team Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff, blend their love for both of these rich traditions and have created new genre that marries these two seemingly disparate worlds. Since the recent release of their Debut album with bluegrass greats Sam Bush, Mark Schatz, Scott Vestal, Rob Ickes, and Gary Oleyar, they are winning the hearts of audiences nationwide.

joe buchanan

Jewish Americana artist, Joe Buchanan, is best described as a blend of southern soul and country charm. His music is grounded in the belief that there is always more room at the table. Since joining the tribe five years ago, he has led Shabbat services, concerts, and workshops on “Choosing to be Chosen” around the United States. His debut album, Unbroken, was produced by Saul Kaye, and is available everywhere. 


Lior Ben-Hur & Sol Tevél

Lior Ben-Hur is a performing artist, music composer and award-winning educator born and raised in Jerusalem. In 2013, Lior won the national Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for his innovative methods of integrating music as part of the educational experience. In February 2017, Lior Ben-Hur and his San Francisco-based Sol Tevél, released a full-length album titled, So I Wander.

abbie strauss

Abbie Strauss is the Cantorial Soloist at Temple Israel in Memphis, TN where she shares her passion for Judaism by using music to engage the mind, body and soul. She is an Emerging Artist on Jewish Rock Radio and a featured artist for PJ Library. Check out her new album Nitzotz (Spark) and her children’s album, Hakol L’tovah (It’s All Good!) on her website, Spotify, and Amazon.

Marsha Attie Color 4x5

Cantor Marsha Attie has been serving Congregation Emanu-El since 1998. She is a composer and recording artist. Her music can be found in songbooks, camps, synagogues and Jewish music compilations around the country. Cantor Attie is interested in the intersection of prayer and the arts and strives to integrate a variety of creative modalities into her spiritual and creative life.


Mikey Pauker is a Folk/World artist hailing from Oakland, CA. His music written in Hebrew, English and Sanskrit described as “Medicine Music,” is inspired by mystical teachings and spiritual experience and connects to people from all faiths. 


Isaac Zones is a bay-area bred and based musician that leads music at camp, in synagogue, in preschool, at concerts, Bnei Mitzvah ceremonies, weddings, baseball stadiums and just about any place Jews like to get together and sing. Isaac plays with his Jew-grass jam band SHAMATi.


Elana Jagoda Kaye is a music educator, performer, prayer leader and composer who brings soul and innovation to the new Jewish music revolution. Elana has released four albums of Jewish music and has had over 50,000 CDs distributed nationally through the PJ Library. 


Alisa Fineman is a nationally touring singer-songwriter who has served as a Cantor for over 25 years. Her cantorial work led her back to Camp Swig and Newman as a song leader and eventually to HUC’s Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in NY where she is entering her final year in its Cantorial Certification Program. 

Monday night was an eclectic mix of comedy, short plays, art, dance, an interfaith panel, and theater games, in different places on campus. See next tab for information on the night’s storyteller-singer extravaganza!


Gina Gold is a humorist, filmmaker and stage artist. After telling a story called “Hands Up” on NPR’s radio show Snap Judgment, Gina fell in love with storytelling and started her own series called TMI (Too Much Information). She performed a story about growing up in New York with a very different history than the rest of her peers.


Debórah Eliezer performed an excerpt from (Dis)place[d]. The show explores the 2500 year-old history of the Iraqi Jewish community, viewed through the story Debórah’s father, an Iraqi Jew, refugee, member of the Zionist underground, and immigrant to America. It shines a light on the history of the Middle East through story, song, movement, and projection. Conceived by Debórah Eliezer and foolsFURY Theater company

Shanghai headshot2

Heather Klein performed a preview of “Shanghai Angel.” The show is the story of her grandmother who escaped Hitler’s Europe and lived in China before coming to America. She was detained for three weeks at Angel Island, and interrogated several times, before officials stamped her papers and let her in. Heather composed and Josh Horowitz arranged 8 original songs.

clare sherman

Claire Sherman led participants in a paper-cutting craft — “Royselach” for Shavuot.


Bruce Bierman sets the moves of the ancestors to the grooves of your own imagination.  Shvitz your prayers to the ancient rhythms of Yemenite drums, soulful Hasidic nigguns, mad hot Klezmer, classic Israeli folk tunes and Tel Aviv nightclub beats.


The Faith Trio of Oakland: Rabbi David J. Cooper, Ali Sheikholeslami, and Betsy King. They discussed the importance for continued communication and cooperation between Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

fran and linda

Veteran harmonists par-excellence Fran Avni and Linda Hirschhorn led an instant harmony experience with easy rounds and mutiple-part singing. Good for the heart, sound and mental health!

Monday night also included an amazing collaboration between

7 incredible musicians and 6 master storytellers.

ellen and rina

Ellen Allard
& Rina Daly-Goode

chava and lynnie

Chava Mirel
& Lynnie Mirvis

fran avni

Songwriter/producer Fran Avni has been creating original music for over four decades. Many of her compositions are sung in schools, synagogues, and Jewish centers across North America. Her latest recording KULANU – ALL OF US TOGETHER, encourages immediate singing along. Fran‘s motto is “harmony in community and community in harmony!” Fran led this year’s NewCAJE Chorale and performed on Tuesday night.

Sam Glaser Pic

Sam Glaser has appeared at L.A.’s Staples Center and Dodger Stadium, on Broadway and at the White House. Sam has released 24 albums including The Promise, The Songs We Sing, Hallel, Presence and the award winning children’s CD Soap Soup. He produces albums for a wide variety of re-cording artists, and composes for such networks as the WB, ESPN and PBS.

kenny ellis 697a (1)

Kenny Ellis was the very first MC at CAJE and was for ten years. Known as the “Man Behind the MatzohBall,” his big band “Hanukkah Swings!” cd is has broken new ground in Jewish music. He cherishes his memories of performing comedy with Debbie Friedman z”l at on CAJE closing nights.

Charlie headshot fall 2015

Charlie Varon is an artist-in-residence at The Marsh Theater in San Francisco, where he has been performing, directing and teaching for 25 years.

berel and naomi

Rabbi Naomi Steinberg serves two congregations on California’s redwood coast and teaches in Religious Studies at Humboldt State University. Berel Alexander serves as a liturgical soloist while pursuing a career as a singer-songwriter.

We have a winner for the 2017 NewCAJE Emerging Artist singer/songwriter competition – Beth Styles, “Eitz Chayim Hi.”

Mazal Tov, Beth! Beth attended the 2017 NewCAJE conference fully fee-paid, and performed her winning song for the conference in the Tuesday evening program. Beth Styles is a versatile producer, composer, musician and vocalist, whose work is devoted to bringing people together. Beth founded the New World Chorus, a 30-voice community multifaith choir based in Stamford, CT. She has written an extensive catalogue of original music ranging from Contemporary Spiritual, Jewish Liturgical, Gospel, Jazz, R&B, Film Scoring and Children’s Music, and recently released her first Jewish music CD – “Music for Shabbat, Holidays & the Soul.” Besides being our winner, Beth is also one of the winners of the 2016 “Shalshelet” award for new Jewish music. www.bethstyles.com


Congratulations also to the other entries. You can view/listen to all of their songs on the “Contest – Finalists” tab. Thanks to our judges: Judy Caplan-Ginsburgh, Julie Silver, Sue Horowitz, Michael Ochs, Beth Schafer and Michael Kates.

Contestants were asked to submit a video of themselves performing one original Jewish song, accompanied or unaccompanied, live and unedited. It sounds simple, but that last bit – live and unedited – is no small thing. Most contestants made a video from scratch especially for this contest. The results were a remarkable outpouring of talent from all over the U.S. and Canada (well, one entry from Canada). A lot of work went into entering this contest. It wasn’t just click here, link there and you’re done. We were profoundly moved. Thank you, everyone who entered. We expect to hear a lot more from you. Keep up the good work!

Eric Hunker Headshot

First Runner Up: Eric Hunker – “Sweet Water”

laurie akers

Laurie Akers – “Yihiyu Ratzon”

Happie Hoffman

Happie Hoffman – “We Won’t Back Down”

Sheryl Braunstein

Sheryl Braunstein – “B’tzelem Elohim”