Shir Chadash 'highest attendance to date'

The UPJ hosted its fifth Jewish music conference, Shir Chadash, in Geelong on 14-16 April. "Kol Ha'olam Kulo: Jewish Music From Around the World" was presented by UPJ Music Network Chair Cantor Michel Laloum with faculty members Judy Campbell, Rabbi George Mordecai and Andrea Catzel. With the highest attendance to date, singers, musicians and lovers of Jewish music joined for a festive celebration as we sang together in person for the first time since the 2019 music conference.

Our region is truly blessed by the dedication of Judy Campbell (North Shore Temple Emanuel), Cantor Michel Laloum (Temple Beth Israel) and Rabbi George Mordecai (Emanuel Synagogue), who spent months preparing for this conference. Andrea Catzel (Emanuel Synagogue) again generously offered her support and expertise in vocal coaching to Shir Chadash attendees. Ido Sagir (TBI) shared his inspiring guitar and song-leading skills with our region for the first time, and we were also blessed to have Joel Reicher (TBI) supporting us on keyboard. The faculty prepared a program teaching repertoire of Jewish music from around the world, as well as "Melodies of Memory" (music from the Shoah), "Yiddish Music From Around the World" and a music networking session to share strategies that work around our region.

Rather than a choir at Kabbalat Shabbat, Shabbat morning and Havdalah services, the congregation was the choir - and what a beautiful sound that was!

Shir Chadash attendee and keen trekker Yehudit Koadlow braved the light rain and led a walk on Shabbat afternoon through the beautiful grounds of the Geelong Botanical Gardens. On Saturday night after a moving havdalah ceremony, the group enjoyed a festive evening of open mic performances hosted by MC Tony Abo and accompanied by Rabbi Gary Robuck on keyboard.

Most importantly, our attendees had the chance to sing both new songs and traditional melodies; meet old friends and establish new ones; learn from skilled presenters and share their own unique talents; and become more committed than ever to ensuring the musical growth and development of your congregations and of Progressive Judaism - inspired to take our movement forward with shir chadash – a new song.

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