I just got back from NewCAJE and while I didn’t think it could get any better than the last one, it completely did. What they’ve built there is an intention driven community full of people who are all bringing their best for each other in an environment for learning, growth, and support. If you are involved in working with others in a Jewish community or wanted to expand your own connection, this was and is a conference for you. When we come together to do more and support each other, we can build amazing things.
This was my second time and I’m already thinking about what next year’s conference will be like, which is in San Francisco (Yesssss!). The lessons learned and the friendships forged at places like this are powerful and if you have the opportunity to go, do it. Even more so, if you have the opportunity to send someone to a place like NewCAJE, do it.
As for the music, I wanted to introduce you to the incredible folks that I had the honor of sharing the stage with. On the opening night, one of the best songwriters I’ve met, Sue Horowitz (http://www.suehorowitz.com/), sang her beautiful “Peace Song” from the album, Notes from the Garrison, available on her website. I actually sang on the album version and it was such an honor to be asked to join her! If you haven’t heard Sue, I recommend you check out her music. It has become like a soundtrack when my wife and I travel.
Monday night, the Incredible Susan Shane Linder (www.singinwithsusan.com) invited me to join her on “You Came Home My Old Friend”. Susan is an award winning children’s music writer but her songwriting doesn’t stop there. “You Came Home My Old Friend” is the song she wrote surrounding the awesome story of her first guitar. It’s a true story and stops the room when she tells it. I am convinced that this song is destined for great things. Susan’s latest album contains one of the catchiest songs around, “Life is Good”.
Tuesday night was the Jewish Rock Radio concert and let me tell you, it was great! To stand in front of the community that welcomed me in last year alongside great friends and mentors was a gift that I’ll keep forever. If you are looking for some incredible Jewish music, do yourself a favor and give these folks a listen.
Rick has carved an incredible path in the Jewish music world not only for himself as an artist, but for others as well. Rick was one of the first artists I listened to when looking for new music for Shabbat. Immediately connective and full of amazing spirit, he has a way of bringing a room together like no one else. He, along with his amazing wife Elisa, built Songleader Boot Camp into a beautiful, not to be missed conference for songleaders and leaders of all types. He is the director of Jewish Rock Radio, connecting Jewish artists to the greater Jewish community with the thread of song. He’s a bridge builder, a good friend, and a mentor. Check out his kmusic online at www.rickrecht.com.
This holy sister has one of the biggest voices in Jewish music and every note is touched with incredible southern soul. I’ve had the opportunity to sing with Abbie on a couple of occasions and everytime, it’s an awesome experience. Her energy and joy is incredible and she has a heart the size of Texas. Always working to bring people together in new ways, Abbie is making great things happen in her community and in the Jewish music world. One of my favorite albums, Spark, is available on her website (www.abbiestrauss.com) along with iTunes, etc. Check out her music and you will be so glad you did.
The word “Pioneer” doesn’t begin to describe Naomi Less. She’s a pathfinder for so many and is always looking to see not just what can we do better, but how she can help. Her music is contagious as is her spirit and those that have seen her live know exactly what I mean. She and I did a mini-house concert at NewCAJE for the Emerging Educators group and I had a blast watching her do what she does. Her song on Tuesday night was “Gibor” and I’m still singing “Ya la lei ya la lei”! Check out what she’s about at www.naomiless.com.
Jay Rapoport is an award winning songwriter, composer, and touring artist. He was also the glue for us at NewCAJE by bringing artists together and keeping us laughing the whole time. Jay is such a great guy and I was honored to be on the same stage as this awesome human being. He brings life to stories in Torah through music that is engaging for families and his song “Renew the Old” was brilliant. I hope we get to work together again soon. Check out Jay and get his music at www.jayrapoport.com.
Jewish music is a constantly moving score and each change brings new intention. Check out the artists above on their websites, iTunes, Spotify, etc. You can also listen on Jewish Rock Radio!
I’ll be doing quite a bit of travel over the next few weeks and I’d love to sing and pray with you! Check out our Booking Page for more information and enjoy the video below of a new song called “The World Needs You” from NewCAJE.
Here are few pics from this year’s NewCAJE.