Previous Events Pg. 10

Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program
Due to the Pandemic, Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program has switched to using ZOOM to facilitate Online Events & Podcasts. Below is a list of our recent Online Events we have created and uploaded to YouTube™. To view a desired event video, simply click one of the links below.
 
  Special Note: Listings below without a link to a video on youtube could not be uploaded due to copyright and permission issues.
 
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  • Topic: The Spiritual Humanism of Abraham Joshua Heschel, Part 1
    Speaker: Peter Geffen

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    Peter Geffen will continue his summer series by contextualizing Heschel’s profound impact upon American Judaism in particular and American religion in general in this 2-part session. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was a mystic, a 20th-century religious intellectual, and a powerful agent of social change. His poetic theological writings are still read and widely studied today across the Christian as well as the Jewish world. His faith was as much about “radical amazement” as it was about certainty. As instructive for us now is the way Heschel embodied the passionate social engagement of the prophets, drawing on wisdom at once provocative and nourishing. Peter will take us through Heschel’s fascinating life in a biographical review and then enter the world of Heschel’s thought through presentation of a developmental model based upon Heschel’s teachings. The sessions will require the viewing of a unique 1/2 hour television interview which will be made available to you on Youtube.

    About Peter Geffen
    Professionally a Jewish educator, Peter founded The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City in 1983, considered unique in its integrated approach to curriculum and its social justice programming. Today, the Heschel School is the largest pluralistic Jewish school in North America with over 1000 students on its campus on the west side of Manhattan. In the 1990’s he began working with Jewish day schools across the continent that sought to model all or portions of their programs on the Heschel educational model. Today there are schools in Columbus, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Toronto, Canada and Lafayette, CA that reflect his educational vision. His career in Jewish education began with his design of the unique and unprecedented Park Avenue Synagogue High School program in 1967 where he served as Principal until 1985. In the field of informal education, he held a range of leadership positions (including decades of senior staff roles with Camps Ramah in Canada, Glen Spey and Israel). He has personally taught 1000’s of high school and college aged students over the past 50+ years!

    In 2005 Peter Founded KIVUNIM, a year-long post high school/pre-college gap-year program based in Israel and studying about and traveling to 12 countries (from Morocco to India) studying the origins and integration of Jewish life and culture throughout the world. The program seeks to build “world-consciousness” as a context for strengthening Jewish identity, formed as it is from the magnificent history of the Jewish people amongst the nations of the world. KIVUNIM is the only Jewish educational program teaching Arabic and traveling into the Arab and Islamic worlds.

    In the summers of 1965 and 1966 Peter Geffen served as a civil rights worker for Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Orangeburg, SC. He played several historic roles at MLK’s funeral including accompanying Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel throughout the funeral procession.

    In 2012 he was selected to receive the Covenant Award, the highest recognition in the field of Jewish education. Peter holds a BA from Queens College (where he studied and developed a close personal relationship with the noted Jewish historian Professor Cecil Roth during the final years of Roth’s life), an MA in Religious Education from New York University and a Certificate in Psychotherapy and Counseling from the Alfred Adler Institute in New York City. He is an ABD (all but dissertation) at NYU with a thesis linking the seminal work of Erik Erikson in Identity formation to his Jewish educational philosophy and approach.

    He is married to Susie Kessler, founding Director of the Makom Mindfulness Center at the JCC in Manhattan. They have three children: sons Rabbi Jonah Geffen married to Julia Mannes and Rabbi Daniel Geffen, married to LuAnne and daughter Nessa Geffen, Assistant Director of the JCC Camp Settoga and married to Micah Bookman. They have 4 grandchildren, Bina, Shula, Eva and Gabriel.

    Peter was born, raised in and has lived in New York City throughout his lifetime. He is a descendant of distinguished and learned Jewish families on both sides: his grandfather Rabbi Tobias Geffen, “Chief Rabbi” of the South 1910-1970, father Rabbi Samuel Geffen, Uncle Rabbi Joel Geffen and numerous rabbinic Geffen cousins and on his mother’s side from Great-Grandfather William Fischman – Founder and President of the Downtown Talmud Torah, President of the Upper West Side’s The Jewish Center for over 40 years and distinguished philanthropist of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

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  • Topic: A Young Jew in the Civil Rights Movement: A Personal Story From 1965-66
    Speaker: Peter Geffen

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    Peter Geffen will take us back to 1964 when 3 boys were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi one of whom was his classmate at Queens College, Andrew Goodman. He will explore the influence upon his life as a Jew and his work as a Jewish educator of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You can get a taste of the story by watching this short video article from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Peter’s June 9th talk will lead into Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s powerful impact upon the social conscience of America.

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  • Topic: The Spiritual Humanism of Abraham Joshua Heschel, Part 2
    Speaker: Peter Geffen

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    Peter Geffen will continue his summer series by contextualizing Heschel’s profound impact upon American Judaism in particular and American religion in general in this 2-part session. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was a mystic, a 20th-century religious intellectual, and a powerful agent of social change. His poetic theological writings are still read and widely studied today across the Christian as well as the Jewish world. His faith was as much about “radical amazement” as it was about certainty. As instructive for us now is the way Heschel embodied the passionate social engagement of the prophets, drawing on wisdom at once provocative and nourishing. Peter will take us through Heschel’s fascinating life in a biographical review and then enter the world of Heschel’s thought through presentation of a developmental model based upon Heschel’s teachings. The sessions will require the viewing of a unique 1/2 hour television interview which will be made available to you on Youtube

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  • Topic: THE LAST LAUGH: Exploring Taboos in Comedy
    Speaker: Ferne Pearlstein

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    The Holocaust would seem to be an absolutely off-limits topic for comedy. But is it? History shows that even victims of Nazi concentration camps used humor as a means of survival and resistance. Still, any use of comedy in connection with this horror risks diminishing the suffering of millions. So where is the line? If the Holocaust is taboo, what are the implications for other controversial subjects — 9/11, AIDS, racism — in a society that prizes freedom of speech? Award winning filmmaker and cinematographer Ferne Pearlstein joins us to address these issues in the context of her 2016 documentary The Last Laugh (a film that offers fresh insights with an intimate portrayal of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone alongside interviews with influential comedians and thinkers ranging from Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Jeff Ross (Comedy Central Roast Battle), Larry Charles (director of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat), and Gilbert Gottfried, to authors Etgar Keret and Shalom Auslander, plus Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League). In our discussion, we will encourage audience participation to examine the uncomfortable questions that are more relevant than ever at a time when anti-semitism, racism, and hate speech are on the rise and even feel “normalized.”

    Ferne Pearlstein is a prize-winning filmmaker and cinematographer whose work has been screened and broadcast around the world. A distinguished member of the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a 2018 inductee into the Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame, Ferne has postgraduate degrees in documentary from Stanford University and the International Center of Photography, and as a cinematographer, she has shot films around the world, from Haiti, Uganda, Guyana to Burma where she snuck her 16mm camera into the rebel bases of the Karen Liberation Army. In 2004, she won the Sundance Cinematography Prize and is one of only a few women in Kodak’s “On Film” campaign. Ferne has had 4 films premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival including her most recent feature, THE LAST LAUGH, which was released in over 25 cities, broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens, after screening at over 100 film festivals worldwide. As a result, she has become a recognized speaker on humor and the Holocaust, and has now been called upon to discuss humor as it relates to Covid-19. Most recently, Ferne was selected as one of eight documentary filmmakers from around the globe by the UN and Google to do a series of PSAs that were set to premiere at Tribeca and Cannes Lyon 2020.

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  • Topic: The Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for Judaism and Christianity
    Speaker: Adolfo Roitman

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    Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, these ancient Jewish manuscripts have attracted the attention from scholars and general public. The discovery of the scrolls was a dramatic turning point in the study of ancient Jewish history, because for the first time, we are in possession of a large and diverse literary corpus (biblical, para-biblical and non-biblical manuscripts), of generally good quality, from the end of the Hellenistic-Roman times. This original literary treasure trove not only sheds light on the nature of Jewish society in the Land of Israel in the Second Temple period –including its literature, ritual, and thought—but on the beginnings of Rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity as well. The lecture will be an introduction to the fascinating world of the Dead Sea Scrolls, summarizing the story of their discovery and explaining their significance for scholarly world. In preparation for this program, we recommend watching the following: The Great Isaiah Scroll, The War Scroll, and The Community Scroll. If you are joining us on our CSP Israel trip in October 2021, you just might have a chance to meet with Dr. Roitman in person at the Shrine of the Book!

    Dr. Adolfo Roitman is the curator of the Shrine of the Book, which houses the remarkable Dead Sea Scrolls collection at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, one of the world’s leading archaeological museums.Dr. Roitman lectures widely on early Jewish literature, the history and significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and biblical interpretation. He has also served as a visiting scholar at universities across the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe and the Far East. Dr. Roitman is the author of numerous books about the Dead Sea Scrolls including The Sectarians from Qumran: Daily Life of the Essenes and A Day at Qumran: The Dead Sea Sect and Its Scrolls

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  • Topic: MY ISRAEL STORY
    Speaker: Mishy Harman

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    In his talk, “My Israel Story,” Mishy Harman explores the power of storytelling as a tool for creating engagement with, and interest in, Israel. He introduces audiences to the show, discusses its origins, the reasons behind its creation, and its overarching mission. By playing clips from many different stories and episodes, Harman takes the audience on a heartfelt, and often hilarious, journey throughout the Israel he has come to discover while working on this project for the last nine years. Harman poses questions such as “What is Israel’s Story?” “Does such a thing even exist?” And, if so, “How does one go about telling it”? He has spoken on more than two hundred stages in recent years, and regaled audiences with tales of a surprisingly nuanced country.

    Mishy Harman is the host and co-founder of Israel Story, Israel’s leading podcast and national storytelling radio show. He’s a curly-haired Jerusalemite, who stumbled upon radio by chance. Following his military service in the IDF, he did his undergrad at Harvard, where he received a B.A. in history and wrote a senior thesis about the Falash Mura in Ethiopia. He was then awarded the Harvard-Cambridge Scholarship to do an MPhil at Cambridge University (UK), where he ‘read’ archeology and researched the origins of the pig prohibition and the ethnogenesis of Judaism. After seven long years abroad, he returned home and completed his PhD – a biography of the first Protestant missionary in Ethiopia – at the Hebrew University. Mishy is an active social entrepreneur. Right after college he founded a Boston-based social networking startup, that had projects in many countries around the world. He has taught at Harvard and lectured around the world. He is the man behind Israel Story, which now has hundreds of thousands of listeners in 192 countries around the world. He currently lives in Somerville, MA, with his wife Federica and their two dogs, Nomi and Golda

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  • Topic: Another Momentous Year: Annual Supreme Court Review
    Speaker: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

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    Abortion Rights, DACA, Free Exercise of Religion, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Rights, Presidential Power – no U.S. Supreme Court term in recent memory has had more blockbuster cases on the docket than this one. Join us as Dean Chemerinsky takes us through an amazing year of cases decided by the Roberts Court and tells us what to expect in the coming term.

    Erwin Chemerinsky became the 13th Dean of Berkeley Law on July 1, 2017, when he joined the faculty as the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law. Prior to assuming this position, from 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science. Before that he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and from 1983-2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. He also has taught at DePaul College of Law and UCLA Law School. He is the author of eleven books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction. His most recent books are, We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century (Picador Macmillan) published in November 2018, and two books published by Yale University Press in 2017, Closing the Courthouse Doors: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable and Free Speech on Campus (with Howard Gillman). He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles. He writes a regular column for the Sacramento Bee, monthly columns for the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court. In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017, National Jurist magazine again named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.

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  • Topic: ELLIS ISLAND: The Dream of America
    Speaker: Peter Boyer

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    Join us for a special CSP Independence Day weekend discussion with composer Peter Boyer focused on his Grammy-nominated contemporary classical work “Ellis Island: The Dream of America,” to be broadcast nationally on Friday, July 3 at 9:00 pm PDT on PBS SoCal (check local listings). Commissioned by The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts to celebrate the inaugural season of its Belding Theater, “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” celebrates the historic American immigrant experience and the American dream. Innovative in its format, the work brings elements of the theater and multimedia into the concert hall, employing actors and projected historical images from the Ellis Island archives. The spoken texts for the work come from the Ellis Island Oral History Project, an historic collection of interviews with actual immigrants about their experiences emigrating to America. After extensive research in this archive, Boyer chose the stories of seven immigrants who came to America through Ellis Island from disparate nations between 1910-1940. He fashioned short monologues from the actual words of these immigrants and wove them into an orchestral tapestry which frames and comments on their stories—by turns poignant, humorous, moving, and inspiring. The work concludes with a reading of the Emma Lazarus poem The New Colossus (“Give me your tired, your poor…”), providing an emotionally powerful ending to this celebration of our nation of immigrants. Since its 2002 premiere, Ellis Island has gone on to enjoy tremendous success, becoming one of the most performed American orchestral works of the last 15 years. The work has received over 200 live performances by more than 100 different orchestras, an exceptionally rare milestone for a contemporary orchestral work. More than 300,000 people have experienced the work live, and its performances regularly have been met with standing ovations.

    GRAMMY-nominated PETER BOYER is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His works have received over 500 public performances by nearly 200 orchestras, and thousands of broadcasts by classical radio stations around the United States and abroad. He has conducted recordings of his music with three of the world’s finest orchestras: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Boyer’s recording of Ellis Island on the Naxos American Classics label was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. In 2017, Ellis Island was filmed live in concert with the Pacific Symphony, conductor Carl St.Clair, and a cast of stage and screen actors for PBS’ GREAT PERFORMANCES, America’s preeminent performing arts television series.

    Boyer has received commissions from several of the most prestigious American institutions and ensembles, including the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for the Cincinnati Pops, the Pacific Symphony, and “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. Other orchestras which have performed his music include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Phoenix Symphony.

    His music has been performed in such venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall (seven different works, two premieres) and The Juilliard School at Lincoln Center, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center and the U.S. Capitol, Los Angeles’s Hollywood Bowl and Royce Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, the Tanglewood Music Center, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Dallas’s Meyerson Symphony Center, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, Cincinnati’s Music Hall, and Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Concert Hall; and has been recorded in London’s Abbey Road Studios (two albums) and AIR Studios.

    Boyer was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1970, and began composing at the age of 15. His first major composition was a large-scale Requiem Mass in memory of his grandmother, composed while only a teenager. He was named to the first All-USA College Academic Team, comprised of “the 20 best and brightest college students in the nation,” by USA TODAY in 1990. Boyer holds degrees from Rhode Island College (B.A.), which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2004, and The Hartt School at the University of Hartford (M.M., D.M.A.), which named him Alumnus of the Year in 2002. He also studied privately with John Corigliano and completed the Film and Television Scoring program at the USC Thornton School of Music, where his teachers included the late Elmer Bernstein. Boyer holds the Helen M. Smith Chair in Music at Claremont Graduate University. He resides in Altadena, in the San Gabriel Foothills just north of Los Angeles.

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  • Topic: Creating a Nation II, Part 1: French Jews
    Speaker: Paul Liptz

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    In the 1870s Algerian Jews immigrated to France, followed by Moroccans and Tunisians in the 1950s, thereby changing the nature of the wider community which, until then, had been Ashkenazi. The Vichy period and numerous anti-Jewish events over the years made Aliyah increasingly attractive for traditional Jews people who had earlier regarded Israel as an appealing holiday destination, while others moved to Britain and other western countries. For many, anti-Semitism was not the reason for them settling in Israel but rather the desire to be in an appealing Mediterranean country with Shabbat observance, kosher food and a vibrant culture

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  • Topic: New Insights on the Archaeology of Jerusalem Based on Recent Excavations
    Speaker: Joe Uziel

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    For over 150 years, archaeologists have been working in Jerusalem’s ancient core, trying to piece together the puzzle of its past. With an array of historical sources mentioning and describing Jerusalem, and the archaeological data uncovered by past scholars and explorers, it would seem that the chronicles of Jerusalem have been set in stone. Yet, the opposite is true – there are still so many questions, gaps in understanding and debates regarding the history and its people. In our program, recent discoveries from excavations in ancient Jerusalem – the City of David and the area of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount – will be presented, focusing on what these remains contribute to the questions still left open and how we now see Jerusalem’s millennia-long history.

    Dr. Joe Uziel is an archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem District, where he has excavated in the City of David, Davidson Center and Western Wall Tunnels. Joe completed his PhD at Bar Ilan University on the Middle Bronze Age in the southern Coastal Plain, and now focuses his research on the history and archaeology of Jerusalem, from its earliest urban establishment some 4000 years ago, and until late antiquity. Joe has advanced methods applied in the field, using new technologies in order to learn about Jerusalem’s ancient population through the application of new tools. Recent discoveries made by Joe and his teams in the field include buildings dating from the First Temple Period, the main street of Second Temple Jerusalem and a Roman theater-like structure, the first such building to be discovered in Jerusalem. Recently, Joe has taken the position of the head of the Dead Sea Scrolls Unit at the IAA.

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  • Topic: Live From Zoomer Canyon I
    Speaker: Featuring Diwon and Joe Buchanan, with Jason Feddy

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    CSP 3-Part Summer Friday Music Series co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation and Merage Jewish Community Center, fully funded by a grant from the Albert and Rhoda Weissman Arts Endowment Fund, a joint program of Jewish Community Foundation Orange County and Jewish Federation.

    For close to 15 years, CSP (www.occsp.org) has hosted an outdoor, summer, Friday night Shabbat music experience for our Orange County, CA community. As a tribute to Bommer Canyon, the site of many of our recent “Jewish happenings”, we are offering a three-part, “Live from Zoomer Canyon” Friday afternoon music series produced by Josh Nelson (a Bommer Canyon performer alum), featuring some of the most creative Jewish musicians in America today.

    On Friday July 10th, we are hosting Diwon and Joe Buchanan (“synthpop meets country”), on Friday August 7th, our musical guests are Duvid Swirsky and Nefesh Mountain (“folk rock meets bluegrass”), and on Friday September 4th, we conclude our series with Josh Nelson and Chava Mirel (“modern Jumu meets spiritual J-pop”). Each musician has a story to share along with their music. Pairings have been made to allow for creative musical cross-overs, and local Jewish musicians will surprise you with their incredible talent. Our final concert will feature a local Jewish teen with a bright future in music. So, get your pre-Shabbat treats ready, crank up the sound and join us for a pre-Shabbat experience that will raise your spirits and rock your world!

    Erez Safar – a.k.a. Diwon (pronounced dee-wan) – is an LA-based creative machine and gallerist producing video, music and art that pops in a world where popular styles have been left in a state of static. Safar is the founder and CEO of Bancs Media & Studio Bancs, an award winning production company & creative art space with expertise in branding, music production, websites, interactive design and commercials and the co-founder of Gallery 38 a creative art space and art gallery in Los Angeles which he curates with Badir McCleary of ArtAboveReality. Safar is also the founder of Shemspeed, an independent recording label and promotional agency devoted to producing and developing dynamic multicultural artists and interactive media and is the producer of the extremely successful annual Sephardic Music Festival in New York City and Los Angeles. Safar has been featured in countless publications and TV programs including the New York Times, BBC and CBS. His businesses have been profiled in Bloomberg Business Week, Time Magazine, and on NBC. As a producer, Safar has been dubbed a “buzzmaking beatsmith” by The DJ Booth, URB noted that “Diwon is something else…in a profound kind of way”. Safar is “producer as auteur as every track takes you through the emotional space of the artist, like Kanye or Godard.”

    Joe Buchanan: A Texas native, Joe makes Jewish Americana music. Grounded in the idea that there is always room at the table. Raised with one foot in Houston and one in the Texas Hill Country, Joe grew up swinging off ropes on the Frio River and spending time like any kid – trying to figure out what was what. The biggest question was about Gd and despite a deep belief in a creator, he couldn’t find much that he agreed with in what he was hearing. The struggle led to more struggles and he finally decided that he and Gd would sort it out later. Then one day, about 13 years into his marriage, Joe found out that his wife was Jewish. Now, with the discovery of his wife’s heritage, their family started down a path that would change everything. From the first class and a million questions to the mikvah and beyond, Judaism answered every spiritual question and brought an incredible amount of healing. Joe has toured the United States, leading an original Shabbat service, playing concerts, and giving a workshop called “Choosing to be Chosen” which is all around his conversion to Judaism and the reasons why so many are coming home. Combining elements of country, roots-rock, and folk, Joe’s music reaches deep to tell personal stories of struggle and triumph. His debut album, Unbroken, is filled with music that speaks to the incredible beauty of finding a home after a lifetime of searching.

    Jason Feddy was born and raised in Leeds, UK. He has worked as a singer/songwriter and guitarist ever since his school days, pausing only for 5 years as a morning jock on KX93.5, Laguna Beach, Ca’s local radio station. He is a central figure in the music scene of Laguna Beach, curating and producing the city’s “Sunset Serenades,” “World Music,” “Music in The Park” series’ of concerts and “The Stage at Forest Avenue Promenade”. His career has seen him open for Neil Young, Tears For Fears, The Cranberries, John Martyn, Christie Moore and Joe Cocker + many more, at venues such as The London Palladium, The Albert Hall and Glastonbury Festival. Jason is Cantor/Soloist (song leader) at Temple Isaiah of Newport Beach & Jewish Collaborative of OC.

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