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Music at Temple Sholom

Soul-stirring and participatory, thoughtful and moving, music at Temple Sholom is wide ranging.

Whether you just want to sit back and enjoy a special music event or get involved, Temple Sholom probably
has what you’re looking for.

Laurie Akers

Laurie Akers was born and raised in Deerfield, Illinois. Laurie joined Temple Sholom as their cantorial soloist in July of 2015. Laurie has served as a cantorial soloist throughout the Chicagoland areas since 2010. Since 2010, Laurie has been a member of the congregation as well as a Gan Shalom parent. A passion for Jewish music, teaching, community and spirituality has sent Laurie on a path to obtain Cantorial Certification. Laurie is currently in the application process for Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion’s Cantorial Certification program, in which she has plans to pursue her cantorial studies alongside her work with Temple Sholom. Laurie is a member of the Guild of Temple Musicians as well as being an accomplished pianist.

Laurie earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, followed by a move to New York City, where Laurie spent a decade performing in Broadway and National Touring musical theatre productions. In addition to Laurie’s musical theatre career, she has dedicated a significant amount of her time to charitable organizations. In 2001, Laurie was granted the honor of becoming Miss USO, in which she spent a year travelling extensively throughout the world to provide entertainment and support for US troops and veterans. In addition, Laurie created and implemented music and theatrical programming for New York City’s Young Adult Institute, an organization that provides recreational opportunities for men and women with developmental disabilities. In Chicago, Laurie has donated her voice to numerous events for Bright Pink, a nonprofit organization that provides Breast and Ovarian cancer awareness and support for young women. In addition, Laurie has served on several leadership committees for the Jewish United Fund’s Young Women’s Council.

Laurie is married to Brad Akers. In the evening, Laurie and Brad moonlight as singers of family favorites, You are My Sunshine and Somewhere Over the Rainbow to an audience of three boys, Isaac, Levi and Ashton.

Jay Rapoport

Jay joined the Temple Sholom staff in June 2014 to guide and develop our educational vision and programming. As a member of the kley kodesh team with clergy, he oversees Gan Shalom, Religious School, High School and Adult Education, and works in partnership with senior staff and lay leadership to strengthen and connect learning experiences for all ages.

Prior to moving to Chicago with his wife Rachel and daughter Ruthie, Jay served for many years as the Youth Educator at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City and the Camp Director at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Virginia. He earned his Master’s Degree in Religious Education from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City and a B.A. in Elementary Education and Music from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In addition to his work in the field of Jewish education, Jay is a pianist, vocalist and composer of Jewish music for children, teens and families. His first album of original Jewish songs, “With All Your Heart,” was released in November 2010, and his songs have been featured on URJ, NFTY and PJ Library compilations. Jay has performed at URJ Biennial, NewCAJE and NFTY Convention, has served on the faculty of Song Leader Boot Camp, and studied piano and singing at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Jay is committed to making Jewish learning exciting, engaging and relevant.


Contact Information:

773-435-1544
jay@sholomchicago.org

Sheera Ben-David

Cantor Ben-David has spent her life immersed in the Jewish community and congregations. After graduating from New York University, she followed in her father’s footsteps and began her cantorial career as the soloist for Jewish Family Congregation of South Salem, NY, and went on to serve Beth Am Temple of Pearl River, NY, The Reform Temple of Forest Hills, Temple Israel of NYC and Central Synagogue of NYC. She is deeply proud to continue the legacy that her father, Cantor Kerry Ben-David z”l, began when he converted in 1980 and entered cantorial school at Hebrew Union College. He went on to become Cantor Emeritus at Scarsdale Synagogue in New York after 25 years of loving service. Cantor Ben-David’s mother, Batyah Godfrey Ben-David was a principal singer at The Metropolitan Opera House for over 24 years. Both her mother and father have been tremendous influences musically and spiritually.

As an extension of Cantor Ben-David’s love and devotion to music, she is an award winning cabaret singer. She has delivered multiple critically-acclaimed runs at The Oak Room of The Algonquin Hotel, The Royal Room of The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, and other popular venues around the country where she received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post and other publications. Throughout her secular singing career, she always remained in service to her congregations and feels the intimate craft of communicating and storytelling through music has only enhanced her connection with the incredible Sacred Music of the Jewish people.

Cantor Ben-David is a graduate of Hebrew Union College and after 17 years of connections to many wonderful temples in the New York area, she feels she is finally home at Temple Sholom of Chicago. She started her cantorate at Temple Sholom on July 1, 2016 and her whole family is incredibly blessed to be part of this community. Cantor Ben-David shares a home with her husband, Steven Miller, two sons, Baxter and Shadow and their dog, Wolfenstein.

Join Us to Sing, Pray, and Celebrate.

Shir Shalom Adult Choir

Our dynamic volunteer choir rehearses and performs pieces of differing levels of difficulty for the enhancement of our Temple events and worship Services. Please join us on Thursday evenings for both the joy of singing and the camaraderie of our wonderful group.


To Get Involved:

773-525-4707

info@sholomchicago.org

Brementown Klezmer Musicians

The Brementown Klezmer Band meets Sundays at 11:15 a.m., when Adult Education is in session, to prepare for performances throughout the year. Our Klezmer Musicians are led by members of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and made up of a variety of instrumentalist volunteers who can learn their parts from either the printed page or recordings.


To Get Involved:

773-525-4707

info@sholomchicago.org

Musical Opportunities for Youth

Temple Sholom offers numerous ways for Children, Tweens, and Teens to join in the music making. Based on interest, the Temple has hosted a Children’s Choir, A Tween/Teen Klezmer band, and a yearly Shofar choir for Rosh Hashanah. In addition, many young people are often included in chanting and singing for Shabbat and High Holy Day Services.

Special Musical Events

The Temple is often host to visiting musical ensembles both vocal and instrumental. In recent years we have enjoyed performances by such musicians as Nefesh Mountain, Ellen Allard, Saul Kaye, Alan Goodis, Dan Nichols and many others.