We take the name Judaism Alive seriously. We identify, train, promote, and place young leaders in Jewish organizations throughout North America to keep the spirit of Judaism alive for future generations. The Jewish world faces a crisis of leadership, with large numbers of Jewish institutions desperately searching for inspiring and charismatic Jewish educators, rabbis, cantors, and songleaders. It also faces a crisis of relevance, with the majority of young Jews reporting that living active Jewish lives is not important to them. As these challenges intensify yearly, so does the urgency to reverse this trend and make living Jewishly more meaningful and central to people's lives. For more details about our vision, please view the Judaism Alive brochure.
The Leadership Solution
Judaism Alive has created a tried-and-true leadership pipeline, integrating four well-established, nationally recognized operations to cultivate young Jewish leaders and position them to impact North American Jewish communities. In the next 5 years, through the Judaism Alive Take the Lead campaign, Judaism Alive will support and place 500 new young leaders in the Jewish world, creating the massive leadership infusion necessary to meet the demand for effective Jewish leadership. This 'Birthright of Jewish leadership' will guarantee that every teen and young adult who has the potential to be a Jewish leader will have FREE access to proven, one-of-a-kind mentorship and training.
Judaism Alive serves the full spectrum of Jewish movements and organizations that seek effective leaders. The cost of this leadership pipeline is a fraction of the investments being made in other areas of Jewish life, and will help ensure a Jewish future that is exciting, engaging, and purposeful.
The Power of Music
Judaism Alive cultivates Jewish leadership by leveraging the power of music. For teens and young adults, Jewish music is the soundtrack of their most profound Jewish experiences and the key ingredient in the formation of their Jewish identities. Music acts as a soul-trigger, bringing a sense of connection, pride, and confidence to be, do, and live Jewish. Most importantly, Jewish music provides a vital point of entry for young Jews to consider investing their talents in the Jewish world. While music serves as the entry point for teens and young adults to engage in leadership training, the leaders who emerge from the program represent the gamut of Jewish leadership including rabbis, cantors, cantorial soloists, educators, camping professionals, songleaders, Israel advocates, and lay leaders.
The Judaism Alive pipeline has 4 stages that together identify, train, promote, and place young leaders in roles throughout North America. This process turns on a light for young leaders who may have previously believed there was no viable leadership path for them in Jewish life, or who never considered a long-term investment in becoming a Jewish leader.
STAGE 1 - JEWISH STAR
The Jewish Star North American Leadership Initiative is the entry point for the Judaism Alive pipeline. It is the only formal leadership training program of its type in the Jewish world. Jewish Star identifies musically talented teens and young adults and provides them with core leadership skills through small-group mentorship, one-to-one personal consultations, and monthly skills-training webinars led by nationally renowned Jewish educators and artists.
STAGE 2 - SONGLEADER BOOT CAMP (SLBC)
Songleader Boot Camp National Conference (SLBC) is the largest Jewish leadership conference in North America, providing training for clergy, Jewish educators, religious, day school, and preschool teachers, Jewish camping staff, teen leaders, and songleaders of every experience level. At SLBC, education and inspiration are grounded in strategic planning led by top Jewish thought leaders, educators, and music artists. SLBC not only teaches young leaders specific skills and strategies to inspire transformative change in Jewish communities, but also provides them with opportunities to learn best practices, observe their role models, and network with the broader community of Jewish leaders.
STAGE 3 - JEWISH ROCK RADIO & JKIDS RADIO
Jewish Rock Radio (JRR) & J Kids Radio are the only Jewish music networks that broadcast music 24/7 to tens of thousands of households around the world and serve as digital resource hubs for engaging Jews at home, in synagogues, and at school. The JRR and JKids platforms play a critical role in the Judaism Alive pipeline, serving as launching pads and marketing bullhorns to promote young Jewish leaders, their music, and their educational work. Without JRR and JKids, young leaders would be best-kept secrets.
STAGE 4 - PLACEMENT
Judaism Alive recognizes the necessity of helping to place young leaders in roles where they - and the communities they serve - can flourish. Currently, Judaism Alive matches young leaders with Jewish organizations through direct recommendation as well as sharing job openings on the SLBC Facebook group and the Jewish Star Community of Practice WhatsApp group.
Jewish Star — Surveys show that Jewish Star transforms the lives of participants and the communities they serve. Mentoring Program participants shared that Jewish Star profoundly impacted their lives and long-term connection and commitment to Jewish life .
SLBC — In 2019, the Brandeis Cohen Center (BCC) conducted a formal evaluation of SLBC. The BCC found that more than 450,000 people have been impacted as a direct result of the leadership training at SLBC and that thousands of Jewish professionals who participated in SLBC have expanded their professional networks, learned new leadership skills, learned best practices, and developed confidence in their work. A notable number of respondents credit SLBC with influencing their career paths, either changing their course or inspiring them to continue as planned.
Jewish Rock Radio/JKids Radio — Jewish Rock Radio and JKids Radio amass well over 2 million listening minutes per month from tens of thousands of worldwide fans who have contributed to well over 1 million social media post views each year. The impact of JRR and JKids Radio developing and galvanizing the Jewish artist and leadership community is incalculable.
RICK RECHT: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Rick Recht is one of the most celebrated Jewish artists of our time, widely recognized as a pioneer of the Jewish rock music genre. In addition to his role as one of the top touring artists in Jewish music, Recht is the PJ Library National Music Spokesperson and the founder and executive director of Judaism Alive, Jewish Rock Radio, JKids Radio, and Songleader Boot Camp (SLBC).
STEVEN CHAITMAN: MARKETING & PROGRAM DIRECTOR
ZACH DALIN: MEDIA DIRECTOR
ELISA HEILIGMAN RECHT: EDUCATION DIRECTOR
ALLYSON LANE: ACCOUNTING
Cantor Ellen Dreskin
Rabbi Micah Greenstein
Rabbi Lisa Silverstein Nelson
Rabbi Josh Warshawsky
Harold Grinspoon Foundation
Pam and Ron Rubin
Susan and Marc Sacks
Lisa Silverstein Nelson
Sharron and Ophir Laizerovich
Rabbi Amy & Gary Perlin
Ellen and David Waghelstein
Samantha and Jeremy Garelick
Heidi and Jon Monkarsh
Debbie and Manuel Rajunov
The Silk Foundation
The Jonah Maccabee Foundation
Alissa and Jeff Merage
Sherri and Danny Weintrop
Craig and Cathy Weiss