The Dreidl Song
CONGRATULATIONS JULIE SILVER!!
Billboard Chart Listing: #5 on Top Heatseekers (Pacific)
for her hit album "It's Chanukah Time"
A typical response from an organizer of a Julie Silver Shabbaton:
Hello Moishe!!! Received the e-mail you sent out via my synagogue and realized I never got back in touch with you after Julie's concert here in December. I wanted to and meant to numerous times but life and my job just took over and I got swept away with all that I was working on.
I want you to know her concert was wonderful!!!! Everybody loved her. I am still hearing about her from people in our community. She was totally engaging and got everyone hooked right away. She allowed my daughter to get up and sing "Count Me In" and gave her the entire song to perform by herself. She was so gracious and complimentary of Beca's singing. She allowed me the pleasure of playing with her as well on a couple of numbers. Our audience fell in love with her. Unfortunately, so many of the people there did not know her music before but they do now and they LOVED HER!! It was a magical evening!!
Her work with the kids on Friday was totally relaxing and engaging for everyone. There was a wonderful chemistry in that room! The kids really clicked with her. The Saturday morning service went really well, too, and she invited me to sing one of the songs with her and add whatever harmony I wanted. People came up to me at the end and told me how amazing she was and how beautiful our duet was. Interesting how two people who never sang together before can make beautiful music together when the songs come from the heart and soul of such a talented writer.
Thank you, Moishe, for helping to make it all possible and working with me on the financial end. If you hadn't been so flexible, the weekend never would have happened. Thank you, again, for making Julie's visit to our community, a reality. Again, I'm so sorry I never got back to you. Hopefully, it's never too late to say "Thank you."
I will look over the information you sent and see if we can put something together for next year. Money is a huge issue right now so here's hoping....
Young Emissary Coordinator and Youth Group Director - Jewish Federation of Eastern CT
Julie Silver is one of the most celebrated and beloved performers in the world of contemporary Jewish music today. She tours throughout the world, and has been engaging audiences with her lyrical guitar playing, her dynamic stage presence, and her megawatt smile for nearly twenty years.
Although she resides in Southern California, Julie's roots are deep in New England. She was raised in Newton, Massachusetts and by the time she was 18, she was leading raucous song sessions throughout the Reform Jewish movement and playing coffeehouses in and around Boston. Eventually, she would become one of the most sought after song leaders in the country. She was graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and was selected by her senior class to deliver the commencement address and sing an original song at Graduation in May, 1988. It was her first audience of thousands—the first of many.
After college, Silver landed a job as an on-air personality at WMJX, Magic 106.7 in Boston, the number one adult contemporary radio station in the city. She started as a weekend DJ, and quickly became the host of “Bedtime Magic”, a show that consistently hovered at the top of the Boston radio market. It was a natural fit for Silver who has impeccable comic timing as well as a silky-smooth speaking voice.
However it was her singing voice, her overwhelming desire to play her own music that would eventually take center stage. Silver moved to Santa Monica in June of 1994 to continue writing and recording. By the time she released her first album, TOGETHER, Silver was stepping confidently into the national spotlight—a place where she shines most brightly to this day.
Without backing from a major label, Julie has sold more than 70,000 copies of her CDs. She released 4 highly successful albums of original Jewish music between 1992 and 2000. Her Jewish songs have become so tightly woven into the fabric of American Judaism that they have become "standards" in worship, camp, and academic settings.
In 2002 she released her independent folk rock CD, “Notes from Montana,” featuring a duet with the Academy Award winning actress Helen Hunt. Julie's children's CD, “For Love to Grow,” was released in spring 2005 and quickly honored as a Parents' Choice Blue Ribbon Recommended work. The honor is especially sweet for Julie, who recorded this beautiful CD as a tribute to her beloved childhood music teacher, the prolific Boston-based composer, Aline Shader. “It's Chanukah Time,” Julie's Barnes & Noble CD, was recorded in 2007, and was the first Jewish holiday CD produced exclusively for the bookstore chain.
In July 2008 Julie will traveled to Brazil where she performed sell-out concerts for the World Conference on Progressive Judaism for all of Latin America. Also in 2008, she made her acting debut in the feature film, Then She Found Me, in a scene opposite Bette Midler.
Silver lives with her partner Mary Connelly, the Executive Producer of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and their rather hilarious daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, in Southern California.
Silver sings to make people ‘feel good about Judaism’
by Lisa Kintish - October 22, 2008
The Pine Brook Jewish Center was filled with music courtesy of performer Julie Silver. Playing her acoustic guitar she sang songs that blended elements of sacred Jewish texts with American folk and rock music.
Silver’s intent is for people to feel her music, but more importantly, she wants her audience to feel good about Judaism. Her musical style is called contemporary Jewish, which to her is about connecting not only with one’s religion, but also with generations past and future.
“I want people to dig it, to come out of it saying, I was singing along, it made me feel good,” said Silver of her concerts, adding, the music is about “reaching back, pulling forward and enjoying your Judaism.”
Days before her Oct. 19 appearance in Pine Brook, Silver talked with Neighbor News by phone from her home in California. She has been involved with music since she was about 14, when, she always had a guitar strapped around her neck. Her listening preferences included Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Karen Carpenter, and Bonnie Raitt.
Thanks to the encouragement of her rabbi, Silver became a song leader, that is someone who is “the channel that brings Jewish music to people” by teaching it and sharing it since there are no media outlets for such music. It was not until a chance meeting, and ultimately a friendship with Livingston Taylor (James’ younger brother) while waitressing, that Silver discovered what she really wanted was to be an entertainer.
Her songs incorporate lessons learned in the Torah and Bible.
“I treat them as evolving bodies of work and don’t take anything literally. I take the Torah as an important text in which to get contemporary lessons across or share personal stories,” said Silver.
She explained that she has been reading the Torah every week since she was a child in Newton, MA, and finds that it is always changing, and that she is always trying to find new applications and new meanings.
“I don’t want anyone to sit in synagogue and experience Judaism as an unmoving, rigid thing. I want them to feel they can apply it to their lives and enjoy it, dance in the aisles, feel that it is a part of their life.”
Such connections are perhaps even more important during these uncertain times.
Silver said, “When times are tough, when people are in need of healing, I hope they know how to find it and where to find it. For many it is in nature, in classes, in solitude, in community at places of worship. My hope is that if music is available, if music is in the air, people will allow it to settle in their souls.”
Her career has offered her many exciting opportunities. There have been star moments, such as singing a duet with actress Helen Hunt, whom she met in spin class. Silver made a brief appearance in Hunt’s movie, “Then She Found Me,” in which she appeared with Bette Midler.
She said, “That was a wonderful highlight, being on a movie set, meeting Bette Midler and watching my friend direct.” Then there was the chance to sing “Blowin’ in the Wind” with Peter Stookey of the folk trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary. But equally memorable and dear to Silver was the performance on the steps of the Boston City Hall to bring awareness to breast cancer and the 15 years she has sung at a Passover seder for people with AIDS.
The opportunity to travel has been the bonus of her singing career. This past July, Silver performed in Brazil at the World Conference on Progressive Judaism, which included people from all over Latin America.
In describing the experience, which was also her first trip to South America, Silver said, “It was an exciting week. I found the people to be so connected to music. I had a big band with me and it was non-stop music.”
Calling Brazil the birthplace of rhythm, jazz, and Samba, Silver said, “the people were up and out of their seats. I feed on that. I’m an audience person, I get a lot of energy. There is a lot of give and take. I have a running dialogue with the audience.”
Several years ago she performed in Hong Kong for the Jewish community there which comprises many ex-Pat Americans. Silver has also given concerts in Ireland and just about every state. Regardless of where she is, she is “always excited to be with like-minded people who are in it along side with me and share my concerns and celebrations. I love doing concerts everywhere.”
Silver was particularly excited about the Pine Brook concert. It allowed her to not only return to the northeast, but also a state she enjoys.
“The Jewish community is thriving, thoughtful. I feel I could spend a year going around to the communities just in New Jersey and not hit everywhere.”
Even more so, her visit to Pine Brook has rekindled a childhood friendship with a PBJC congregant. When Rabbi Mark David Finkel expressed an interest in bringing current singers and songwriters, including Silver, to the synagogue, it was by chance that there was a local connection to the performer.
Of Silver’s concert, Rabbi Finkel said, “Part of Julie’s performance is not singing to us, but singing with us. Sharing as well as teaching us new melodies…and dare I say that I would not be surprised if she has all the generations of our congregation singing together. When Julie sings, she lets everyone feel good about their Judaism and feel good about themselves. Her music sends the message that we are one people and have been for thousands of years regardless of what language our grandparents spoke, or our level of Jewish observance.”
That is precisely the emotion Silver hopes to inspire. And along with making new friends in Pine Brook, she said, “There is nothing better than reconnecting with an old friend.”
An email from the Hartford JCC with some reactions to Julie Silver's
Women's Seder on March 14, 2012
Hi Julie - hope you arrived back in LA in one piece:). I wanted to send along some of the very positive comments that people made about you and the Seder in a survey that we sent out. We got back some great responses - I'm sure you will agree. You were amazing!!! Thank you again for making this an event to remember in Greater Hartford Jewish community history - it was great meeting you and working with you!
Community Member Comments:
Just a wonderful evening with a group of like minded women with common bonds - the presentation, warmth, vitality (Rabbi Garber and Julie Silver) left me with a very strong feeling of fulfillment.