November 2016 Newsletter - Conference Highlights

Musical Opportunities

Shira Kline

AKA “ShirLaLa”, Supporter, ECE-RJ Member & Loyal Friend! , Brooklyn, NY

Shira an award winning performing artist recognized as a “revolutionary educator” and named one of the “new re-engineers of Jewish life.”

On the road, Shira works with a diverse array of Jewish communities to enliven rituals, holiday celebrations, and love for Jewish life and prayer. The product of a modern rabbi and a modern dancer, she blends words, story and music to create a rich experience for children and adults alike. In addition to performing, Shira works with national organizations across the denominational spectrum facilitating professional development seminars on spirituality as well as early childhood music for clergy, educators, seminary students and lay leaders. Shira tours extensively performing for children of all ages in the United States, stages in Israel, England, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.  Her award winning Jewish kiddie rock albums along with her “Blog Sameach” are featured worldwide. Back home she is the Director of Worship and also Family Education for Lab/Shul, NYC. She is on the faculty of Hava Nashira and adjunct faculty for the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School for Sacred Music. Under Shira’s leadership, the ECE-RJ Soul Singers will make their fourth appearance.

Billy Jonas


Billy Jonas is one of those rare performers who can engage and delight both young and adult audiences. For more than two decades, his creative, spiritual and interactive performances have enchanted and inspired people from all walks of life — touching hearts, souls, and minds world-wide.  His shows have taken him from the White House and Kennedy Center to Limmud UK and Israel. In addition to conventional instruments (voice & guitar), Billy Jonas makes innovative use of "found objects" -- homemade “industrial re-percussion” creations. He helps audiences discover the music within common items … and within themselves.

Billy’s upbringing in the Jewish faith, as well as his work at Temple Beth Ha Tephila in Asheville NC, have inspired and informed a host of original songs, liturgical settings, and prayerful/meditative practices, as well as a repertoire of synagogue and temple standards. Billy has been a guest instructor at Limmud UK, Limmud NY, Songleader Boot Camp both nationally and regionally, and Hava Nashira – OSRUI. He has appeared at numerous synagogues, Jewish summer camps and Jewish Day Schools, including: Temple Sinai DC, Central Reformed Congregation MO, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation IL, Congregation Beth Ha Tephila NC, Congregation Rodeph Shalom PA, Congregation Rodfei Zedek, Temple Sinai Los Angeles CA, Temple Emmanuel NC, Temple Ohav Shalom PA, Temple Isaiah MD, Temple Bethel NC,  Blue Star Camps NC, Camp Coleman GA,  Camp Chi WI,  OSRUI WI, Camp Livingston IN,  Camp JRF PA,  Brandeis-Bardin Institute CA,  Davis Academy GA. 

Billy performs both religious as well as secular concerts and workshops for families, adults, and/or general audiences.  Billy has released six CDs and two DVDs of his music.  He has recently released his 3rd “family” CD a CD of Jewish focused songs and musical prayers “Habayta.”

Billy lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife Adrian, daugher Laila Rose, Beeka the wonderdog, Bohdi the teenage mutant ninja cat, and a great big garden.

Find out more at

Additional biographical information 


Wednesday Concert

      "Billy Jonas in Concert"
Throw out the rules when Billy Jonas hits the stage! It's a musical conversation… a sonic celebration … a splendiferous gathering of old and young, because at a Billy Jonas show, the ensemble is… everyone! 

Friday T'fillah

Friday morning Refresh 

It’s never too early to welcome in the Sabbath Queen. Dedicate this Friday morning to take time in life for yourself to unplug and recharge.  Energized and inspired, meaningful song, story and creative spirituality that you can take home to your classrooms. Come for Her majesty stay for Your majesty.

Friday Workshop

Bangin' and Sangin' , Playin' and Prayin'

Billy Jonas and Shira Kline team up to bring you a workshop experience to explore our own G*d-given musical gifts. And then we will play, practice, play, practice and play some more. Focusing on blessings and prayers interpreted in the child’s language, we will unpack and reveal the musical play and imagination to get to the heart of the matter. Access and activate your inner rhythmic being with simple drum and percussion activity for musicians and non-musicians alike.  Walk away with hand made instruments, repertoire and leadership techniques for small and large groups.


ECE-RJ Soul Singers

Come One and All!  Learn several songs and perform with Shira Kline and the ECE-RJ Soul Singers: an insta-choir opportunity for fun, joy and singing your heart out. This year, special guest conductor Billy Jonas brings his magic.  You don’t want to miss it.  Sing like no one’s listening, Absolutely no experience necessary!


Featured Presenter

Rabbi Micah Lapidus

Celebrating the Human Voice

One of the ultimate aims of ECE and education generally is to help uncover, cultivate, celebrate, and amplify the human voice. What unique opportunities and challenge exist in the ECE-RJ setting for doing this foundational and fundamental work? What kind of learning and awareness do teachers, administrators, parents, and ultimately children need in this area? Can our directors, teachers, and other stakeholders answer the basic questions: What is the human voice? How is the human voice developed and celebrated in our milieu? This will be an inspiring and eye opening session, combining theory, personal experiences, techniques, and strategies. This session will be offered twice and while the offerings will be very similar they won’t be identical.

Becoming Prayer

What if instead of reading prayers we became prayers? This question will animate our worship time together. Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of the usual stuff like singing and reading, but we’ll also do our best to push beyond what we do during prayer to what we are during prayer.  



Rabbi Micah Lapidus Ed.D. is the Director of Jewish and Hebrew Studies at The Davis Academy, Atlanta’s Reform Jewish Day School. Currently a trustee of the CCAR, Micah is an avid blogger ( and Jewish songwriter and composer with 3 albums of Jewish music. He’s married to Rabbi Loren Filson Lapidus of The Temple in Atlanta, GA and has a 5 year old and 3 year old, both products of The Temple’s Early Learning Center. He joined our ECE-RJ community after visiting with us in Memphis last year and can’t wait to return.