Jewlia Eisenberg (cantorial soloist) is so excited to be part of the Chochmat ha-Lev community! She works at the intersection of voice, text and diaspora consciousness, mostly as the leader of the ensemble Charming Hostess. Her work opens up a porous, multi-temporal space that shifts between text and music, between verbal and non-verbal languages, between personal and communal expression in historical and modern experience. Her music is mostly released on the Tzadik label’s Radical Jewish Culture imprint; including Sarajevo Blues on Bosnian resistance poetry and Trilectic on the political-erotic world of Walter Benjamin. She often works in immersive installation—making hybrid spaces that incorporate music performance, visitor participation, and experimental ritual. Installations include Teraphim (Meridian Gallery) on household gods; and The Bowls Project (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts) on Babylonian women’s amulets. Jewlia’s work has been curated into the Contemporary Jewish Museum in SF and the Museum of Peace in Uzbekistan; she performs regularly in Europe and the Americas. She has been a visiting artist at CalArts, MIT, and the University of Colorado, where she has taught on the boundary lands holding music and critical theory. Her hobbies include class war and knitting. Brooklyn born and bred, she now calls Oakland home.
Lior Tsarfaty is a professional musician and a graduate of both the Voice, Sound and Music Healing program of the California Institute of Integral studies and the Vox Mundi School of Voice and Transformation. He is also a student at The Hakomi Institute of California – a body- and mindfulness-oriented psychotherapy. After he came from Israel to the Bay Area, he started gathering prayers and chants and founded the “Prayer Songs Project,” which brings together prayers and sacred music from different cultures and countries into a concert of art and community. Lior’s passion is to intertwine music and personal transformations: he works with individuals and groups. For more information: Pepolior@gmail.com, 510-704-8232
Michaelle Goerlitz has been playing drums and percussion since she was eight years old. After attending college in the Midwest, she moved to San Francisco in 1980 to continue her studies, which have led to exploration of Brazilian, Afro Cuban, Venezuelan, and Middle Eastern rhythms (plus jazz, R & B & funk). She was a founding member of two renowned & long-term projects, the Blazing Redheads and Wild Mango. Both groups blended many different styles which showcased Michaelle’s versatile percussive skills. Among the list of people Michaelle has played with: VNote Ensemble, Venezuelan Music Project, ‘Chelle & Friends, Wayne Wallace, Mark Levine, Tom McDermott, Tammy Hall, Paul McCandless, Holly Near, Anthony Brown, The Brazilian Jazz Project, Ojala, rhiannon, Yair Dalal, Naser Musa, Barbara Higbie, Jami Sieber, Tuck & Patti, Jai Uttal and Samba Rio. In 2007 she was named a “rising star” in Downbeat Magazine.
In addition, Michaelle has many years’ experience doing school presentations through the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music program, as well as teaching – at numerous music camps as well as privately.
Jeannette Ferber feels blessed to be able to share her voice at Chochmat HaLev. In 2008, her journey of renewed connection to Judaism and yearning for song led her to the Chochmat choir and later to the bimah. Originally from Ohio, she grew up performing in numerous school musicals and choral groups and took private voice lessons. However, after high school, singing fell into the distant background of her life for over a decade until its heartfelt reemergence at Chochmat. She can also be heard singing sacred music with the vocal ensemble, Ya Elah. Jeannette has a Masters degree in Public Health and works as a data analyst studying a range of reproductive health issues, from depression during pregnancy to Bisphenol-A (BPA) exposure. She lives with her husband, Cory, in Berkeley.
Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks
Inspired by Martin Buber’s writing while procrastinating from piano practice at High School Jazz camp, Brian Yosef began a quest for finding the inner truths of Judaism, beyond dogmas and tradition, finding that truth ironically led him back to tradition. He holds a Bachelor in Music from Eastman and received s’mikha (ordination) as Minister of Sacred Music from Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi and Jewish Meditation Teacher from Chochmat HaLev. His sacred music ensemble, BRIAH plays original Jewish devotional and concert music. He lives in Arizona with wife Lisa and two children, to whom he owes constant gratitude for keeping him far from cheap, egocentric substitutes for G-d.
Bruce Silverman is a drummer, world percussionist, and music educator, schooled in numerous musical forms. He has studied African, Afro-Brazilian, Cuban, and Haitian drumming and spirituality, as well as North Indian music, orchestral, jazz, and rock drumming. Bruce founded and continues to direct the Sons and Daughters of Orpheus: a drumming and healing community offering weekly groups and seasonal rituals to the Bay Area. The Orpheus community explores Afro-Brazilian “bateria” music, hand drumming, and world spirituality. Bruce also plays dumbek, tar, and other North African and Middle Eastern instruments and is on the faculty of Chochmat HaLev, where he has taught the art of drumming and accompaniment. Over the years he has specialized in playing and leading music in various healing contexts: liturgical music, sound healing, and mythic work with Robert Bly, Coleman Barks, Caroline Casey, and numerous others in the world of social artistry.
Peter Allen has been playing clarinet since fourth grade, with occasionally heavy doses of chamber music and musicals, a smattering of New Orleans and klezmer, and a predilection for sappy Yiddish ballads. He loves to play with the wonderful musicians in the band at Chochmat HaLev, where he has been playing regularly since 2011. Peter also plays tenor saxophone with Josh Jones’s Latin Jazz Orchestra at La Pena, and he has studied and performed at the Jazzschool in Berkeley. Peter lives in Berkeley with his wife, Lynne-Rachel Altman, and their two daughters and works as an attorney for the California Public Utilities Commission, focusing primarily on energy and environmental issues.
Eliyahu Sills has been performing for over 20 years on upright bass, bansuri (the bamboo flute of India), and Turkish and Arabic ney (the reed flute of the Middle East). In the early 1990s, he studied the upright bass at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. Deeply influenced by teachers Makanda Ken McIntyre, Arnie Lawrence, and Reggie Workman, Eliyahu began performing as a sideman and bandleader in renowned jazz clubs such as The Village Gate and Small’s. After leaving NYC, he studied North Indian music on the Bansuri under G.S. Sachdev, and began performing Middle Eastern music on the ney, which he studied in Istanbul with Neyzen Omer Erdogdular and Neyzen Ahmet Kaya, and in Morocco with Akdii Abdesalaam. He currently performs with many musicians in the SF area and throughout the country, and leads his nationally touring band, The Qadim Ensemble.
Bon Singer has been singing at Chochmat HaLev since before we had a home on 8th Street. She was originally asked to be part of the musical leadership by Rabbi Avram Davis. She says, “Weirdly enough, I think he asked me because he is a Bulgarian music-phile, and that is my area of musical expertise. That is why sometimes I will sing in that voice quality and harmonic style.” Bon is probably best known for her work with the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble, Kitka. She served as artistic director, composer, arranger, and a singer for 14 years, and is recognized as one of the foremost directors of Bulgarian choral music in America. Bon’s musical experience ranges from performance in remote eastern European villages to performing with Olympia Dukakis. She has directed a number of ensembles, including most recently, Chochmat’s Tikkun Olam Chorus.
By day, Josh Miele is a scientist who develops accessible information technologies for the blind, but for Shabbat he sheds the lab coat, grabs his electric bass, and dons a kippah to rock the house at Chochmat HaLev. He is also the bass player for the acclaimed Jewish avant rock ensemble, Captain Zohar. Josh’s elite musical pedigree is extraordinary, but is shrouded in kabbalistic mystery and cannot be discussed openly. His style is renowned for its funk roots, art rock sensibility, and raw danceability. It has been said that his music has the power to make even stone tablets get up and shake their stuff. Josh lives in Berkeley with his beautiful wife and two delightful children.
Dan Cantrell is an Emmy award winning composer known for his innovative and evocative film and theatre scoring approach, as well as his virtuosic playing abilities on the accordion, piano and musical saw. He holds a BFA degree from CalArts where he majored in Composition and Piano performance. Dan is a self-taught master of the accordion, excelling at Balkan, Romani, Eastern European, and Klezmer styles. He is Artistic Director of Kugelplex klezmer ensemble. In recent years, Dan has performed and recorded with Tom Waits, Joanna Newsom, Beats Antique, Bono, Danny Elfman, members of the Klezmatics and Fishbone. Dan’s broad ranging musical portfolio, including compositions for video games, cartoons, film, television, web broadcast, and self produced albums can be heard at www.bellowhead.com. Dan has also collaborated extensively within the medium of dance. He has composed and collaborated with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, San Francisco based ODC dance, Ballet Afzaneh, FACTSF, his wife Elizabeth Strong, UltraGypsy belly dance, as well as international touring shows such as Bellydance Superstars, and Bellydance Evolution. Dan’s music can also be heard accompanying individual choreographers and performers such as Rachel Brice, Kami Liddle, Zoe Jaques, Miriam Perez, Mardi Love, Mira Betz, and Samantha Emanuel.
Jason Ditzian is a multi-wind instrumentalist performer, composer and community arts organizer. His main gig is as clarinetist and leader of Kugelplex, one of the most active ensembles on the West Coast working in the tradition of the old-world klezmorim. He is a longtime collaborator with Jewlia Eisenberg and has toured the world with her anarcho-jewish-punk-chamber-bibliophilic ensemble, Charming Hostess. Jason has performed with: Joan Baez, Frank London, the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Kitka, SF Mime Troupe, inkBoat, and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. His studies in wind-instrument traditions have taken him to Uzbekistan, Turkey, India and Indonesia. He has helped create and produce festivals such as The International Body Music Festival and The Nile Project. He produces Korean Shamanic-based ritual performance projects as the Managing Director of Dohee Lee Puri Arts. He is an editor of The Bold Italic online magazine. Jason has worked in the ritual ensembles of many Bay Area congregations, including Aquarian Minyan, Beyt Tikkun, Emanu El, and Sherith Israel. He has often performed with Brian Schachter-Brooks as guest clarinetist in the Shirat HaLev ensemble. It was playing at Chochmat HaLev during Simchat Torah that Jason pointed his clarinet to the sky in a moment of musical ecstasy and suddenly felt the earth shake beneath him and saw the chandelier rattling above him – this was the first and only time that he has started an earthquake with his playing. Ever since, Jason has felt a special connection to Chochmat HaLev and is so honored to help activate and amplify the congregation’s spiritual energy through his music.
Dave Rosenfeld is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, music teacher, and record producer. Having completed a BA in Studio Art at UC Davis and an MA in Music Composition at Mills College, he now resides in Berkeley, CA. “I am always looking for ways to express the brightness of the spirit through music, and I am thrilled to be playing violin and mandolin as part of the vibrant and contemplative services at Chochmat HaLev.”
Yari Mander has been drumming in the Chochmat HaLev band for 10 years. He is the founder and lead teacher of Heart of Rhythm, a drumming school for adults. He is also a credentialed music teacher, teaching music currently to grades K-5 in the Oakland Unified School District. Visit his web site at YariMander.com.
Aharon Wheels Bolsta
Aharon Wheels Bolsta has played with Chochmat’s Shirat HaLev ensemble since 2002 and appears as the drummer and percussionist on the Shirat HaLev CD. He plays North Indian tabla and bansuri as well as drum set, Middle-Eastern percussion, West African percussion, cajon, and many other instruments. Aharon also regularly plays sacred Jewish music with the Saul Kaye/Elana Jagoda ensemble at Temple Beth El in the Peninsula and with Cantor Ilene Keys at Temple Sinai in Oakland, and he performs and teaches at Wilderness Torah festivals, synagogues all over the country, and with leaders such as Mia Cohen, the Kirtan Rabbi, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Achi Ben Shalom, Ibrahim and Issa Abdurrahmani, Hyla Shifra Bolsta (The Illuminated Kaddish), and many groups playing Sephardic music, Klezmer, Sufi, Turkish Classical music, Classical Indian music and Aharon’s own original sacred music. See his website at www.aharonwheelsbolsta.com.
Mike Perlmutter, originally from the greater Boston area, has made his home by San Francisco Bay since 1998. He performs klezmer, Balkan, and Jewish ritual music on clarinet, bass clarinet, and saxophone for Chochmat HaLev, Saul Goodman’s Klezmer Band, and Inspector Gadje. Mike seeks to connect his music to the full range of feeling and expression of spirit, mind, and body – from the deeply contemplative, to the ecstatic. Mike loves bringing this intention to musical services at Chochmat Halev, where the teachings, text, and liturgy, the music, and the participation of the congregants come together so uniquely and deeply to touch so many levels of human feeling. Outside of music he is committed to his family (wife and toddler daughter), the environment, and his work supporting volunteer efforts to clean, green, and beautify the City of Oakland. He’s also known for his pickling.