Join Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland and Beit Polska for a wonderful series of musical events highlighting the emergence of renewed Jewish life in Poland. Meet two visiting cantorial soloists from Poland, Avigail Geniusz and Dr. Menachem Mirski. They are joined by a host of talented musicians and singers including Cindy Paley, Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, Cantor Sam Cohon, Isaac Sadigursky, Zinovy Goro, Andrew Henry, Rabbi Shana Chandler Leon and Novi Novog.
Celebrate Jewish persistence and pride through the old and the new musical genres from klezmer to synagogue to modern Hebrew, Yiddish and Polish songs.
Thanks to all the sponsors and partners: Jewish Community Foundation, Temple Beth Israel of Pomona, Beth Shir Shalom, Congregation Beth Ohr, Eisenberg Campus of the Jewish Home, Fountainview, Congregation Emanuel of Chicago.
Special thanks to Neal Brostoff, Karen Goodman, and Rabbi Haim Beliak.
February 9 Shabbat service led by Cantor Paul Buch (email@example.com), and mini concert at Temple Beth Israel in Pomona. Reservations for dinner 909-626-1277
February 13 Special appearances (private) at Eisenberg Campus of the Jewish Home, Caryl Geiger (Geiger@jha.org) 6:15 pm and at 8 pm Fountainview in Reseda, activities coordinator: Lauri Kamiel (Lauri.Kamiel@jha.org). Avigail Geniusz and Menachem Mirski
February 16 Shabbat services, special Polish dinner, mini-concert and conversation at Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Rabbi Susan Nanus (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Cantor Don Gurney.
February 22 and 23 Shabbat services and mini concert Emanuel Congregation, Chicago Cantor Shelley Friedman (email@example.com) and Rabbi Craig Marantz
February 10, 2018 show:
Tickets available at the door and online here.
February 11, 2018 show:
Tickets available at the door and online here.
Goals for the Concerts and Shabbat Programs
Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland and its beneficiary, the umbrella organization of Progressive Jewish communities in Poland, Beit Polska are proud of the emerging Jewish community, The growth of Jewish life in Poland is a miracle and Beit Polska is proud to foster classes for the training of cantorial soloists. The program teaches individuals the skills to lead Shabbat and Holiday prayers. The liturgical and musical skills represented by the dozen graduates of the prayer leaders program allow us to support the ten communities that are part of Beit Polska. We are proud to share the musical talents of our community with congregations and audiences. The music represents the rich pre-World War II music traditions as well as the creative efforts of the new community.
A Travel Grant is from Beit Polska’s Lay Prayer Leader’s Program
Thanks to the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles for a travel grant that allows our cantorial soloists to travel to the United States. For information on the lay prayer leaders (Cantor/Shatz) program, please click here. Currently, there are 12 people that are trained by us to lead Shabbat and Holiday services (first year) and High Holidays (second year). Six of the original twelve prayer leaders are either training to be invested cantors and three are either rabbis or rabbis-in-training.
Background to Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland and Beit Polska
Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland (www.JewishRenewalinPoland.org) supports Progressive Jewish life in Poland under the umbrella of Beit Polska. Beit Polska is a Poland-wide association of 10 Jewish communities. There are four synagogues with a fifth one on the way and five smaller and occasional groups, called Chavurot. We are affiliated with the European/World Union for Progressive Judaism.
This is the second year we are celebrating the emergence of Jewish life with concerts and synagogue events to highlight one of our key programs. Our Progressive Polish Jewish Community’s Menachem Mirski and Avigail Geniusz will take a central role in all these programs.
- Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland supports Beit Polska
- Brochure, click here.
- Latest newsletter, click here.
- Click here to read a recent article about Beit Polska and its development from our flagship congregation Beit Warszawa.
- For a general story about the development of Progressive Jewish Life since 1995, please click here.
- Beit Warszawa Synagogue is moving to a new more central location.
- Temple Beth Israel in Pomona has twinned with Beit Warszawa, one of the Beit Polska congregations.
- If you have any questions, please call Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak 310-592-8960 or Dr. Neal Brostoff 818 -216-5440
Dr. Menachem Mirski is a rabbinic student at American Jewish University’s Ziegler program. Mirski is an accomplished musician and has completed Beit Polska’s two-year study of cantorial arts as well as leading a Klezmer group, The Klezmerholics. He completed his doctorate in Lublin University last year. His dissertation is a groundbreaking study comprehensive reflection on theological thinking about the Holocaust by Polish Jews and Catholics as well as other Jewish and Catholic thinkers outside of Poland. It will be published next year in Polish and in English. Mirski describes his journey to Judaism as beginning in his love of Jewish music especially Klezmer. Mirski is a graduate of the Padeia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden. Mirski worked as an organizer for Jewish cultural and religious projects in Katowice and Lublin as well as Gdansk. His ability to bring music to audiences enhances his skills as lecturer and teacher. This past summer, he has toured and played with his group and joined forces with Cindy Paley, a Yiddish folk singer and cantorial soloist, who toured Poland summer 2017. Cindy has often invited Menachem to join in her concerts in the states, and in Poland.
Each week, Mirski publishes a Torah commentary in English and Polish.
Avigail Geniusz is a vocalist, with a special love for Hebrew (Aszkenazy, Sephardic and modern Israeli), Yiddish and traditional Polish-Hebrew music. Avigail serves as a Lay Cantor (Shlichat Tzibur) at three Polish Progressive Synagogues: Beit Centrum Ki Tov, (her home community in Warsaw’s city center), Beit Warszawa (Wilanów suburb of Warsaw) and Beit Trójmiasto (Gdansk). This will be her first visit to the United States and she will be actively participating in Shabbat Services in services at Temple Beth Israel in Pomona, CA, Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles, and Emanuel Congregation in Chicago.Avigail Geniusz, who was born and lives in Poland, completed her musical education majoring in bassoon and voice. Avigail took a break from professional life to bring up a family of seven children of whom: four are grown up boys and three younger, musically talented, daughters. Avigail homeschools her children.
Four years ago Avigail began taking an active role in leading Synagogue Shabbat services. To develop her skills further for High Holidays, Avigail trained under two professional American cantors, becoming a graduate (with distinction) of the two-year program sponsored by Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland under the auspices of Poland’s Progressive Jewish Community umbrella group, Beit Polska. Avigail is an accomplished Torah reader (using cantillation tropes) and a graduate of the Jerusalem’s Conservative Yeshiva’s (Masorti) course on kosher supervision.
For over 35 years, Cindy Paley has delighted Jewish communities across the country with her spirit and rich repertoire of Jewish music. As a Cantorial Soloist, Cindy is the soul of Lev Eisha and the Valley Beth Shalom N’shama Minyan, both creative Shabbat women’s services in Los Angeles. As a performer, she invites audiences to experience her beautiful renditions of Yiddish folk songs and exuberant melodies of modern Israel and was invited this past summer to perform concerts of Yiddish Songs of Love in Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk and Lublin, together with Menachem Mirski’s klezmer band.
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels is a multi-talented musician and community leader. Beth Shir Shalom’s leader has brought music, wisdom, pastoral care, and a passion for justice into the lives of his congregants and the larger community. A generous person by nature Neil has built a wonderful synagogue community that is hosting this concert. We are most appreciative.
More from Neil Comess-Daniels:
Andrew Henry has been the Cantorial Soloist for Congregation Beth Ohr since 2016. Prior to that, he led various services at Tikkun Olam and Temple Beth Hillel. Originally from Montana, he moved to Los Angeles to attend USC and has lived in the San Fernando Valley for more than 2 decades.
In addition to his commitment to Jewish Music, Andrew is the father of 2 amazing boys, Jonah and Eli, is proud to be a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, and is supported in all things by the love and wisdom of his wife and best friend, Rabbi Shana Chandler Leon.
Rabbi Shana Chandler Leon
Shana Chandler Leon is the rabbi of Congregation Ner Tamid in San Francisco. She was ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion – CA in 2015 and served as Cantor and Educator in Los Angeles-area synagogues for 20 years. A native San Franciscan, she graduated from the American Jewish University and UCLA. Rabbi Shana is most grateful for her two beautiful children, Adena and Jared, and for the immense blessing and honor of being married to Cantor Andy since November!
Originally from Belts, Moldova, Isaac Sadigursky has distinguished himself as a unique Yiddish and Balkans music treasure since emigrating to Los Angeles in the 1970s, with a specialization in the Bessarabian klezmer tradition. Isaac is also a member of the Golden State Klezmers, lending his talents as a clarinetist and accordionist.
Zinovy Goro is one of the leading klezmer clarinetists on the West Coast. A native of Kiev, Ukraine, Zinovy earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Performance and Composition at the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory and furthered his training in the U.S. at the Trebas Institute of Recording Arts in Los Angeles.
Zinovy fronts the popular Golden State Klezmers in Los Angeles and also serves as principal clarinet of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. Additionally, Zinovy works as an arranger and copyist for Universal Studios Music.
Karen Goodman is an LA teacher, Yiddish dance scholar, filmmaker and critically acclaimed modern dancer/choreographer. She produced/directed/wrote the documentary Come Let Us Dance on Yiddish folk dance and speaks on the intersection of Jewish identity and modern dance. Honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer’s Fellowship. She has choreographed over 45 works and danced with post-modern master Rudy Perez in NY and LA. She taught at her studio, Danceworks on Melrose for 21 years as well as at LA County High School for the Arts, CalArts, Caltech, LMU and SMC. She has an MA in Dance from UCLA.
Beginning on Feb 17, she will be speaking at 4 LA Public Libraries on Yiddish Theater and Dance in 20th century LA as part of the Library’s series LA Made. For complete info click here.
Jerry Fenning is a member of Temple Beth Israel of Pomona and member of the board of Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland. He is the originator of the Twinning program.
Paul Buch has served as Cantor at Temple Beth Israel in Pomona, CA since 2005 and is a graduate and ordainee of the Academy for Jewish Religion/California in Los Angeles. His soulful, energetic approach has been described as both “deeply spiritual” and “cheerleading for G-d”. Paul came to the cantorate after a 25-year career in television and film production, which he embarked on after his graduation from Boston University with a degree in journalism. A native of Buffalo, NY, he credits his parents, David and Drena (z”l), with inspiring his love for Judaism and especially Jewish music at a very young age. Motivated by his own upbringing in a diverse religious community, Cantor Buch is also deeply engaged in interfaith activities in Southern California. Paul serves on the City of Claremont’s Committee on Human Relations and on the board of the clergy organization OHALAH. He is also Board Chair of the Rabbis and Cantors Retirement Plan.
Cantor Samuel Cohen
Born in London, England, Cantor Cohen grew up in a family where Chazzanut is in the blood; both of his grandfathers were Chazzanim, as well as his father and two older brothers. From a very young age, he was singing for family and friends. This progressed to leading weekly services at age 13 at various synagogues in the East End of London. Continuing to sing all the way through his high school years, he then took up High Holy Day positions around the world.
At age 22, he received rabbinic ordination in Melbourne, Australia, and was subsequently appointed as cantor of the Pretoria Hebrew Congregation (PHC) in Pretoria, South Africa. While in South Africa, Cohen also attended the Vocal Art School at Tshwane University, where he performed in several operas, including Verdi’s Un Giorno di Regno. He relocated to Los Angeles in 2006. Cantor Cohen serves as the Cantor of Congragation Kehillat Ma’arav in Santa Monica. Throughout his career, Cohen has performed in a variety of public and private concerts around the world, including, England, Australia, Canada and Israel, blending Chazzanut, opera, Israeli, and contemporary Jewish music. Cantor Cohen is one of the four members of “Guys and Meidels,” a group of Los Angeles-based Cantors with diverse backgrounds and pulpits, joined in song by bonds of friendship and a shared love of music.
Novi Novog and her viola have been heard and seen on recordings, films and concert stages all over the world. She has a long list of recording credits including solos on Prince’s “Purple Rain” and “Raspberry Beret,” and The Doobie Brothers’ “Black Water”. She appears with Frank Zappa’s band on “Joe’s Camouflage” and as a violist and contractor on Michael Jackson’s “Invincible”, just to name a few.
Novi began playing piano at age four. When she was eight, she took up the violin, then moved on to viola. As part of the American Youth Symphony, Novi studied under Mehli Mehta, then attended California Institute of the Arts on scholarship under Louis Kievman, where she received the American String Teachers Award. In addition to her work in viola and piano, she studied composition at Cal Arts under Leonard Stein and Alan Chaplin.
Novi has recorded several albums with her own groups, including three discs with CHUNKY, NOVI AND ERNIE on Warner Bros/Reprise, one album with rock group SUMNER on Elektra/Asylum, four CD’s with instrumental group FREEWAY PHILHARMONIC on Sheffield Lab, and two STRING PLANET discs with partner Larry Tuttle.
Neal Brostoff has soloed as pianist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and also functioned as orchestra pianist and/or soloist with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, New West Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Burbank Symphony and COTA Orchestra. Active as a chamber music recitalist, Mr. Brostoff performed regularly at the Monday Evening Concerts at LACMA, on tour with the American Ballet Theater, and he has recorded for motion pictures and television. He has also participated as chamber and orchestral pianist in European concerts and festivals.
Additionally, Mr. Brostoff has held the positions of music specialist for the Skirball Cultural Center, cultural affairs director for the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, and concert manager of The Pasadena Symphony. From 2011-16, he has taught Jewish music courses at UCLA in connection with the Mickey Katz Endowed Chair in Jewish Music, where he also served as Music Programs Coordinator.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Neal Brostoff received his early musical training in piano, theory and chamber music in the preparatory school of the California Institute of the Arts. He continued his higher education studies at Mount St. Mary’s College (B.Mus.), California State University at Fullerton (M.A.) and California State University at Northridge (Secondary Teaching Credential)
Neal Brostoff has also worked professionally in Jewish music in Los Angeles since 1971. He has held the positions of organist/choir director/music director at Adat Ari El (1971-86) and at Temple Aliyah (1986-2005).
Mr. Brostoff has served the international Jewish community as a resource and has promoted Jewish arts education since the early 1980’s. In 1986 he founded Jewish Music Foundation as a 501 (c) (3) organization to support his concerts and festivals; the organization has received funding from the L.A. City Cultural Affairs Dept., the National-State-County Partnership and from individuals and foundations.
Projects of special interest include positions as concert producer for the Los Angeles segment of Sounds of Healing, (November, 2000, Royce Hall); consultation for the World Festival of Sacred Music in October, 1999; member of planning committee for the 1993 Los Angeles Festival, directed by Peter Sellars.
In 2016, Mr. Brostoff gave a violin-piano recital at Beit Warszawa, where he also taught lay cantors in their training program. He looks forward to returning to Poland in soon to present concerts of classical Jewish music and to continue his work with the Beit Warszawa cantorial training program.
In 2003, Mr. Brostoff’s citywide Los Angeles festival “Beyond Bim-Bam” New Directions in Jewish Music,” received critical and popular acclaim. The festival provided the impetus for UCLA Extension’s parallel program “The Future of Jewish Culture in America.”
Questions: 310 286-9991 (or 818-773-3663)