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September 2, 2015 | 18th Elul 5775

Acclaimed Jewish Musicians to Headline URJ Biennial

A long list of renowned musicians will perform at the Union for Reform Judaism's (URJ) Biennial conference, being held this week from Dec. 14-18 near Washington, DC.

Annette Powers

The URJ Biennial is the largest conference in North American Jewish life, bringing together some 6,000 people from hundreds of congregations to learn, pray, share ideas, and make decisions about the policies of the Reform Movement.

Two of Israel's most celebrated musicians, Rami Kleinstein and David Broza will perform at a Saturday evening Havdalah celebration. Kleinstein is known for his beautiful compositions, soulful voice and delicate piano-playing, while Broza is applauded for his charismatic and energetic performances and his famous guitar playing, ranging from flamenco flavored rhythmic and percussion techniques, to whirlwind finger picking, to a signature rock and roll sound.

Joining Kleinstein and Broza at the Biennial will be some of the most popular Jewish musicians today including Josh Nelson, Craig Taubman, Rick Recht, Peri Smilow, Dan Nicholas, Chana Rothman, Rabbi Joe Black, Julie Silver, Ellen Allard, Alan Goodis, Sababa, Theo Bikel, Jeff Klepper, Rabbi Joe Black, Shira Kline and the quartet SoulAviv. Visit the Biennial website for a list of all the entertainers.

On its opening night, The Biennial will pay tribute to the late Debbie Friedman, z"l, Friedman's performances were often a Biennial highlight, and the Union will be announcing a new award for musical contributions named in her honor.

"If you ask previous Biennial attendees to describe the most memorable parts of their Biennial experiences, they almost always mention the music," said Josh Nelson, music director for the Biennial. "The performers who come to be a part of the Biennial are from different backgrounds; they play in different styles, and write lyrics that are reflective of their personal stories; they approach their work from a myriad of perspectives, creating compositions that both inspire and uplift; and, they provide us with a vehicle be closer to God." 

Biennial registrants will also hear from an impressive roster of speakers such as President Barack Obama, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, House Republican leader Representative Eric Cantor and others.

Visit the URJ Biennial website for more information.

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