ARTIST BIOS

Shaindel Antelis is a Singer/Songwriter/Performer who aims to inspire and uplift women and girls around the world. Shaindel's songs are about life, happiness, and challenges. Each song is like an excerpt from her diary. Shaindel started singing when she learnt how to talk and started writing original songs at age ten. Coming from a musical family, she always had a passion for singing. When she was seventeen years old she recorded a five song demo, and in seminary her songwriting and inspiration was in full swing as she soaked in the torah and beauty around her in Yerushalayim. When Shaindel returned from Israel she worked on her first album "Heart and Soul" with her brothers Jake and Ben Antelis, and her Father Moshe Antelis. As soon as Shaindel Finished her first album she returned to Israel to learn for another six months. Once again Shaindel could not stop writing songs. Some songs are happy while others were written in moments of confusion. Shaindel wants to help women and girls get through the ups and downs of life with her music. When Shaindel returned back from her second trip to Israel she recorded her second album "Change". Her two albums "Heart and Soul" and "Change" are out in stores and online. Shaindel has a music video for her song "Change" as well as a new video for her song "The Light" which many of her fans star in! Shaindel has performed in places like Israel, Canada, Cleveland, Florida, New York City and more. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York and performs in concerts at schools, Bas Mitzvas, and any womens event. For more info, music, and videos go to ShaindelAntelis.com

Gayle Ashkenazy 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.

Shoshana Averbach, LMSW, MA, MT-BC, LCAT, recently became engaged and released her debut CD, The Time is Coming. Her CD features original healing songs in a variety of styles, in English and Hebrew, as well as instrumental piano compositions. Her songs foster a deeper connection with the Creator and offer a spiritual perspective on life and one's experiences. For her album, Shoshana wrote all of the music and lyrics, performed on guitar, keyboard and flute, and sang. Shoshana works as a social worker and music therapist, primarily with geriatrics. She also teaches high-school English. Her articles have been published in The Jewish Press, Natural Jewish Parenting, Kol Chevra, Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy,and the Sea Gate Beacon. Shoshana grew up in Pittsburgh and resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Ayelet HaShachar The Jewish women’s band, Ayelet HaShachar, features Lisa Aronson Friedman, Shalomis Koffler Weinreb, and Stephanie Rabinowitz performing on piano, guitar and vocals. The trio’s original Jewish music (by women for women) is known for its soul-stirring themes, tight three-part harmonies and melodic guitar and piano arrangements. The band draws on a lifetime’s worth of experience and diverse musical backgrounds…from classical to jazz, folk, musical theatre and Jewish music. Ayelet HaShachar’s songs are known to bring light, strength, joy and comfort to many listeners. The music is a vibrant expression of eternal Jewish themes, resonating with meaning for our times. The band’s first CD is “Ohr Chadash” (www.ayeletmusic.org), and they are currently recording their second CD. Ayelet HaShachar has performed in Baltimore, Silver Spring, Philadelphia, New York, Ramat Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem. The mission of the band’s non-profit organization Ayelet HaShachar Jewish Music Experience, Inc. is to strengthen the connection of women and girls to their Jewish spiritual and cultural heritage through the original music of Ayelet HaShachar.

Shoshannah Brombacher (Amsterdam, Holland 1959) studied studied Semitic Languages, Ancient Middle Eastern Culture and Codicology at the University of Leyden (Holland) and specialized in medieval Sephardic Hebrew poetry. Her Ph.D. thesis describes the Portuguese (Marano) Jewish Community in 17th century Amsterdam. She was involved in codicological projects with manuscripts, tombstones and books in Amsterdam, Jerusalem and Germany and lectured at the Free University of Berlin, Germany. Though she attended art classes in Leyden and at the Free Art Academy of The Hague in Holland she considers herself mainly self taught. She sees her academic background and her traveling from country to country as an invaluable tool for her paintings, which delve deeply into Jewish lore and legends. After her marriage she moved to New York and devotes all her time to her art and to her husband and two children. She is an author, lecturer and a maggidah (certified Jewish preacher, story teller and spiritual guide) and combines this with her art. Her main interest is Chassidism. The artist lives with her family in Midwood, Brooklyn. Brombacher’s favorite medium is oil, pastel, crayons and/or ink. She makes very small miniatures as well as large panels to cover a wall. Many drawings are calligraphic. Text, letters and colors play an important role. Brombacher’s subjects are mainly Jewish (Chassidic) life and stories, classical music, and travel impressions. She illustrates books, designs book covers (e.g. for Yitzhak Buxbaums’s The Light and Fire of the Baal Shem Tov, and collects, writes and illustrates Chassidic stories. Brombacher participates in several blogs and websites (Breslov, Chabad.org), and takes commissions. She created sets and series with some of the following themes: The Golem of Prague; The Tikkun of the Breslover Rebbe; Talmudic stories; Biblical books and stories, the 5 Megillot, Yona, Shemuel, biblical women; the parshat hashavua; midrashim, the Twelve Tribes; Goethe’s Faust; poetry (Yiddish, Sephardic, several European languages); Jewish Holidays (e.g. Ushpizin); the Haggadah; the Hebrew Aleph-Beth; classical composers, especially Beethoven; New York (especially after 9/11), Chassidic stories, ‘Dybbuk – Tzvishen Tzvay Velten’ from Anski. Brombacher creates a lot of custom art, like ketubot, verses of a name, tikkunim, blessings for the house, parnasah an many other occasions, Psalms, bar/bat mitzvah, sheva’ berakhot, (cover) illustrations for books, etc. For more information visit the website of the artist, or contact her: www.absolutearts.com/shoshannah e-mail: shoshbm@gmail.com Tel.: 718- 339 2779

Bulletproof Stockings 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 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 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.

Miriam Leah Droz Originally from Pittsburgh, Miriam Leah Droz studied and performed musical theater until she became observant during college. In 2006 she began producing work in women-only settings, starting with "A My Name is Alice" at Ohav Tzedek (NY, NY), and working towards ATARA: The Association for Torah & the Arts. Since 2008, she has been producing events for women in music and sending monthly updates on art-related happenings in the religious community. In 2009, ML produced The House on Riverside, a feature film for women. Last winter, she played Gutele Rothchild in Nishei Players' "Barons & Bankers," a Jewish version of 'The Rothchilds' by Harnick, Bock & Yellen. This year, she has created a series of holiday themed performance events, focused on Tisha B'av, Sukkot & Chanukah, and is currently planning for events this spring. She has most recently completed the libretto for a musical about the lives of women in the orthodox community, which she hopes to develop into a full production. Droz holds masters degrees in Library Science and Jewish Studies, is a current doctoral candidate at YU's Azrieli Graduate School for Jewish Education & Administration, and hopes to use her education to help build a Jewish girls' high school for the performing arts. She is single and needs a shidduch - please contact her with suggestions at 917-686-1211.

Aliza Dubin, singer-songwriter-pianist, recording artist and performer, born in Johannesburg, South Africa and raised in Toronto, Canada has lived in Israel, Los Angeles, Monsey, and currently resides in Passaic, NJ with her husband and children. While having taught aerobics, provided personal counseling, and worked for Aish Audio, as well as her new love as a hypnotist, and life coach, the ambition to take her piano-based music beyond the living room prompted Dubin to record her first album, Hey Little Girl. Her style of music and singing has been described as contemplative, uplifting, meditative, moving, healing, and spiritual, as she weaves and infuses her love of Judaism and life into her melodies. Her songs touch upon real life, universal themes, while relaying meaningful messages, and her unique style of singing and story-telling captures the hearts and souls of many audiences and listeners. She has performed throughout the States and hopes to continue to inspire and uplift women and help them reconnect with themselves with her original music and contemporary melodies, at benefit concerts. Her songs have been showcased on Michelle Garner’s WSIA, and on an interview by Leora Silberstein on Arutz Sheva. She has also been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Yated Ne’eman, and Yalda magazine. Her long awaited second album, I Believe was released to rave reviews. She is currently in the process of recording an unplugged version of her newest material.

Sarah Dukes 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 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.

Esther Freeman 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.

Glaser Drive is a New York based folk-rock soul band, comprised of sisters Faige, Chaya, Eden & Doren Glaser, with Elly Geldwerth on percussion. Drawing inspiration from their native San Diego shore, New York's harmouious melting pop of cultures, their family fireplace and religion in their roots, they blend their instruments and voices into original song and sound together.

Miriam Greenberger 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.

Elana Greenspan has just released her two debut CD's, the funniest, funkiest Jewish music ever made: "Fully Halachic with a Beat," for women and girls, and "Kidding Around," a kids'/moms' album. Elana performs regularly at the Aishes Chayil Hotel in Monroe, NY, at women's fundraising and tzedaka events, school events, bas mitzvah and children's birthday parties. She is currently directing the 8th grade play at the Bais Yakov of Passaic. In the summer, Elana is the drama director at Camp Dina. Elana is also a playwright whose work has been produced at schools across the country. She pioneered the original Women's Open Mike Night in Jerusalem, which has spawned similar shows just for women across the world. Elana will be giving a full-length concert to officially debut her albums in Passaic, NJ on Sunday, March 18th. Elana lives in Passaic, NJ with her husband and family. Elana is honored to participate in an ATARA performance once again.

Amy Guterson is the founder and director of the new Tzohar Seminary for Chassidus and the Arts. The seminary reflects her vision to create a haven for young women who are creatively gifted, a place to study Chassidus intensively and train as artists who will use their G-d given talents to bring light to the world. Amy received her BA from Stern College, Yeshiva University with a major in Theatre and a minor in Fine Arts. She went on to earn her graduate level degree in acting from The New Actors Workshop where she studied with director Mike Nichols and improvisation specialist Paul Sills. She also studied with acclaimed actress and teacher Uta Hagen at the Berghof Studio in NY. Amy was a member of Actor’s Equity, and performed in classical, Yiddish and Jewish theatre Off- Broadway. After moving to Pittsburgh, Amy co-founded the Kol Isha Theatre group which consisted of Jewish women from across the spectrum of Judaism. As Artistic Director for the group, she taught acting and improvisation and directed play development for most of the group’s original productions and workshops (based on issues of Jewish womanhood and Jewish unity/disunity). She has also written and directed some of the group’s full length plays, trigger scenes and workshops. Mrs. Guterson wrote, directed and produced the award winning film “Becoming Rachel”, which premiered at the Pittsburgh Jewish/Israeli Film Festival and was screened at festivals across the country and Israel, where it won first prize. For sixteen years, she has been a member of Pittsburgh Playback Theatre , a therapeutic form of theatre which “plays back” its audience’s stories and feelings through improvisation. She has conceived, directed and edited many creative, narrative videos for Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, as well as taught acting and directed numerous theatrical productions for the Yeshiva Girls’ High School. She is a board member for ATARA: the Arts and Torah Association for Religious Artists, and has taught master acting and play development classes at their conferences.

Infinite Light 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

DeDe Jacobs-Komisar 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.

Rachel Jakob is a singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, NY. Working as an Acupuncturist by day, on her free time she performs and writes music. Music has always been one of her greatest passions and more recently, began performing within the women's Jewish music world, aiming to inspire women all over to get closer to Judaism and to themselves. She is currently working on putting out an album set to be completed be"h this coming year. Tonight, she will be performing her original songs "Aishes Chayil," "Believe," and "Guided."

Natalia Kadish 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."

Laura Kegeles, a native New Yorker, has been playing cello since the age of 6. Currently in her senior year of undergraduate study at the Mannes College of Music, Laura started keeping Shabbos in her freshman year of college. While continuing to perform at classical music venues such as Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Merkin Concert Hall, and Alice Tully Hall, as well music festivals in the U.S., Europe, and Israel, Laura has also been branching out into Jewish music. She performed with Matisyahu in 2008 and 2009; at the International Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchos Conference in 2011; and regularly at farbrengens in Crown Heights at Machon Chana and Beis Rivkah High School. Upcoming performances include at the 15th Anniversary Gala for Chabad of Columbia University, the Chabad Shluchos Conference 2012, and Laura's graduation recital at the Mannes College of Music. Additionally, Laura has been invited to be a Artist in Residence of 2012 at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Esther Leah Marchette is a singer, songwriter and former cantor who has been involved with music from a young age. She holds a B.A. in Songwriting from Berklee College of Music in Boston, which included studies in classical and contemporary composition, lyric writing, advanced music theory, jazz and rock arranging. Esther Leah plays piano, guitar and percussion. In high school and college, she performed in musical theatre productions, sang in choirs and ensemble groups and directed an a cappella singing group at Yale University. In her early 20s, she worked as a cantor for a number of years until making the transition to embracing a Chassidic way of life. Since that time, Esther Leah occasionally performs for women as well as leading classes and workshops in Jewish Spirituality. Currently Esther Leah works as the manager of a software company, organizes events and classes as co-director of the Boston Breslov Connection, and raises her children with her husband in Boston, MA. She is a Co-Director of ATARA.

Rivka Nahari has had many years of training and performing experience in both music and dance. She began her ballet training at the age of 3 and studied in the pre-professional program at the Academy of Nevada Dance Theater where she continued until her graduation from high school at age 17. While at the Academy, she performed yearly in the "Nutracker" ballet and "Cinderella" with the Nevada Dance Theater professional company and danced in numerous performances with the Academy of Nevada Dance Theater Youth Company. She then continued her dance studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). In addition to ballet, she has been trained in tap (under the legendary hoofer Henry LeTang), jazz, character, flamenco, and hip hop. Musically, Rivka has been playing the harp professionally since the age of 13. She has performed with almost every orchestra in Las Vegas and played the harp and celleste for the "Nutracker" ballet with the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra. She was a piano major at UNLV while on a full harp scholarship and a voice major at the Mannes College of Music in Manhattan. She has also studied flute and has extensive experience in choir, performing in many of the hotels in Las Vegas and singing back-up for such notable artists as Barry Manilow and Michael Jackson and the Jackson Family. She opened the Brooklyn Jewish Dance Institute in Flatbush in the fall of 2008 as a means of providing quality dance training to the frum community, and this year she opened her second location in Crown Heights. She is also the director of the Brava Ladies Choral Ensemble. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and five children.

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) 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 Polonsky founder and director of Creative Learning Institute of Dance has been bringing dance education and dance performances to the Cleveland community for a decade and a half. Upon realizing that being a Torah Observant women actually was an important part of her artistic life she embarked on finding the many ways to use Dance as a means of empowering Jewish women to express the deep and beautiful messages that fill their lives. Whether teaching ballet, jazz or creative movement to girls, or finding fellow artists and lay women in the community to share choreography on meaningful topics. She is looking to expand the opportunities to utilize the arts to bring the Important messages of Torah to the Arts. Recently she collaborated with many Artists from ATARA and coordinated Two Amazing Showcasesof Song and Dance for Women in Cleveland, Blessings and Change, Yocheved sees her self modeling the WEMUST use our talent to bring positivity and strength to women all over the world through Torah., Yocheved also gives lectures and workshops on topics of spirituality and the arts many times with movement encorporated . Yocheved is a cofounder and Board Director of ATARA.

Reina Potaznik began dancing at a young age. She graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College with a Bachelor's Degree in both Dance and Psychology. At Barnard, Reina focused on Modern Dance technique as well as Contact, Improvisation, African, Flamenco, and Jazz, studying with teachers trained under Paul Taylor Dance Co. and Bill T. Jones. In addition, she studied theory and composition, culminating in two senior projects: a movement piece called Dance for 3, and a written thesis entitled Unusual Dance Spaces. In recent years Reina has performed at various NYC venues, taught movement composition workshops as well as Simcha Dancing to Middle School preteens. Last summer she worked as head of the dance program at Moshava Ba'ir and for the past two years she was one of the judges at the Yeshiva High School Rikudiah, an annual dance competition. She chairs the Special Events Committee at the Mt. Sinai Jewish Center, is a co-founder of Flattening the Hills: A Celebration of Jewish Life in Washington Heights, and co-created Ladies Got Talent: An all female talent show. Reina is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Dance Education at NYU.

Rachael Rosenbaum 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.)

Leslie (Gold) Ruder After spending 10 years stage managing, casting, and producing plays off-Broadway and in regional theatres around the U.S., the acting bug finally, and nearly fatally, bit Leslie Gold. She trained with many acting schools, including the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. While pursuing her Oscar in LA, a love of Torah usurped his place in her heart, B.H., and she left the lure of L.A. for the beauty of Yerushalayim. Leslie had the z'chus to study at She'arim College of Jewish Studies for Women for the better part of five years. In Eretz Yisrael, she taught acting to women of all ages and backgrounds. Favorite roles include Ariel in The Tempest, and Genendel in Isaac Bashevis Singer's Teibele and Her Demon. A "specialist" in improvisational interactive theatre, she originated the roles of the Bar Mitzvah boy's mother in Bernie's Bar Mitzvah, and the mother of the kallah in A Match Made in Manhattan. She is most grateful to Ha Kadosh Boruch Hu for allowing her to improvise the roles of wife and mother of five real children. Leslie is a published playwright, and is currently teaching acting workshops and private coaching and is now developing and performing her one-woman show “Out of Her Head,” while obtaining free psychotherapy from her audiences.

Jessica Schechter is an NYU graduate and holds a B.S. in Educational Theatre and a double minor in Dramatic Literature and Studio Art. She is a certified theatre teacher in New York State and has been teaching, directing, and running drama programs for over seven years. Trained through Stanislavsky and Hagen techniques, Jessica’s acting credits include Anne (The Diary of Anne Frank), Miss Barrett (Up the Down Staircase), Marian (The Music Man), Peggy Swift (Father of the Bride), and Eva (Kindertransport). She is also an emerging playwright having written comedy sketches, skits, monologues, and an original ten minute play For the Gold that was produced at the Provincetown Playhouse. Directing credits include A My Name is Alice, a special needs integrated production of The Little Mermaid, and original collaborative productions The Silent Letters, New Beginnings, Calling to Heaven, Through My Reflection, and I Never Saw Another Butterfly. Jessica has worked with the MCC Youth theatre as a drama associate as well as the 2nd stage theatre with their education department. She has served as the drama director and teacher on various summer programs for the last three years. Jessica is passionate about fostering the creative voices of young people through process drama and collaborative performance. She taught theatre to professional actors at the Professional Performing Arts School and is now the Theatre Department chair for the Soundview Academy for Culture and Scholarship where she is building a full theatre arts department.

Marilyn Golomb Selber (Morah Michal), has practiced law for over twenty years. She is a graduate of Stern College for Women, of Yeshiva University, and New York University School of Law. She has studied at Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration of Yeshiva University and has studied drama at Herbert Berghof Studio in Greenwich Village. She has been a classroom teacher in Limudei Kodesh and has brought her program, K’eelu:Torah Theater, using the dramatic arts and puppetry in teaching Torah, to schools, Jewish centers and, for many years, to Camp Regesh in Monsey, New York. Ms. Selber also does children’s birthday parties and gives teacher training sessions in K’eelu: Torah Theater. She takes great pleasure in interacting with Senior citizens in groups or one on one. And she is thrilled to present her puppets to her friends at ATARA.

Ilana Chava Shechter 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.

Elke Reva Sudin 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,LCSW, MT-BC 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 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 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.

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RISING STARS: Stellar Performers age 11-17

Rebecca Ashkenazy 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.

Esther Berger is currently a junior at Bruriah High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I have 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.

Tamar Guterson is a seventh grade student 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”. She is the official “little sister” of the Tzohar Seminary.

Tzippa Marchette 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 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 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 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.