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.
Judaism Alive has created a tried-and-true leadership pipeline with 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.
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.
Judaism Alive utilizes our well-established, nationally recognized operations (Jewish Star, Jewish Rock Radio, JKids Radio, Songleader Bootcamp, and Music Leader Match) to support the leadership pipeline and help cultivate young Jewish leaders and position them to impact North American Jewish communities.
Over 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.
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.
Jewish Rock Radio & JKids 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. These platforms play a critical role in the 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 THROUGH MUSIC LEADER MATCH
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: DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Steven bring his deep passion for the present and future of Jewish music to his everyday work overseeing strategic planning and execution of all Judaism Alive operations. He has spent over a decade working in marketing/communications for Jewish non-profits, as well as the past 18 years as a camp and congregation songleader, Jewish music educator, and singer-songwriter working with dozens of communities in the Chicago area and throughout the U.S.
ELISA HEILIGMAN RECHT: EDUCATION DIRECTOR
Elisa spearheads curricular design for the SLBC National Conference and other Judaism Alive programs. She is the founder of Soul Sparkler Jewelry and Apparel, and presenters interactive educational programs in Jewish communities, inspiring people to achieve life balance through intention, mindfulness, gratitude, and wellness strategies.
CHARLIE MEYERS: COMMUNITY OUTREACH COORDINATOR
Charlie Meyers is a Jewish professional, scholar, and creative writer based in St. Louis, MO. He loves building and sustaining Jewish communities through his role at Judaism Alive, as well as his role as Community and Strategy Lead at MaTovu. He studied Theater and Jewish Studies in college, and has passionately pursued both paths, with a particular focus on Jewish themes and stories in the theater.
LISA FRIEDMAN: JEWISH STAR COMMUNITY MANAGER
Lisa Friedman is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion from Calabasas, CA. Lisa began her journey with Jewish Star as a program participant and has since taken on leadership roles within Jewish Star programs including as a Jewish Star Webinar Coordinator and Community of Practice Manager.
ZACH DALIN: MEDIA DIRECTOR
ZACH DALIN: MEDIA DIRECTOR
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
The Perlin Family Foundation
Ellen and David Waghelstein
Samantha and Jeremy Garelick
Heidi and Jon Monkarsh
The Silk Foundation
The Jonah Maccabee Foundation
Alissa and Jeff Merage
Sherri and Danny Weintrop
Craig and Cathy Weiss