Rebecca Schwartz is a professional singer, guitarist, and award-winning songwriter. Her liturgical music is sung on the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) and other holy days in synagogues around the world. Rebecca has written and co-produced five albums: "Only Time Can Tell" (secular love songs), "The Light of Shabbat" (a religious experience), "Ahavah Rabah ~ With Deep Love" (songs of spirit, love, and hope), "P'tach Libi ~ Open My Heart" (a landscape for prayer), and "Kirvu ~ Come Near" (music for Shabbat and beyond). She has also released three singles, written and recorded songs to help teach autistic children, and her music is published in two songbooks, "Rebecca Songs Volume I and II".
Rebecca serves as Cantorial Soloist and Music Director at Congregation Kol Ami in Elkins Park, PA, just outside Philadelphia. She specializes in worship experiences, engaging people in the power of prayer through music. She has also produced two congregational CDs with her adult and student choirs, and has been commissioned to write Jewish music.
Rebecca has been teaching guitar to children and adults for over 40 years. She also sings at private life-cycle events, tutors private bar/bat mitzvah students, and travels for special artist-in-residence events and weekends. Rebecca has performed in the US, Canada, Israel, and The Netherlands, and performed at major Jewish conferences including the Union for Reform Judaism's Biennials and CAJE (Central Agency for Jewish Education).
During the summer months, Rebecca is "Rosh Shirah" in charge of the music program at Ramah Day Camp in Elkins Park, PA. From 2005 through 2012, Rebecca served as Songleading Director at Union for Reform Judaism Crane Lake Camp in West Stockbridge, MA, changing the musical culture and making a difference in the lives of Jewish kids by teaching Jewish music and guitar, singing with campers and staff, leading music for worship, and mentoring young adult and teen songleaders. Rebecca co-produced a CD called "Live From The Bubble" along with Josh Shriber.
Under Rebecca's musical leadership for eight summers, "this camp has become one where singing and dancing are truly an enjoyable experience." "It all is really a tribute to Rebecca and her steadfastness over the years... It's incredible that there are so many who want to be songleaders and have that opportunity to lead others in Jewish music and worship" (quote past Senior Assistant Directors Brian Mitchell and Greg Kellner).
Rebecca is a published author featured in "Music, Carrier of Intention in 49 Jewish Prayers" published by Kimberly Burnham and Elizabeth W. Goldstein in 2014. Sixteen of her songs are featured in "The Jewish Path; A Concise Guide & DVD Bringing Judaism to Life", written by Rabbi Wendy D. Pein and Nanci J. Freedberg and published in 2011.
AWARDS: In November of 2004, Rebecca performed and received an award for two original compositions ("Y'did Nefesh" and "Birkat Haneirot") at Shalshelet's First International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music held in Chevy Chase, MD. "Ahavah Rabah" (the song) was among the winners in the Best Jewish Song category of the 2006 Just Plain Folks Music Awards. "Ahavah Rabah" (the album) was also nominated for Best Jewish Album. "P'tach Libi" took second place for Best Jewish Album in the 2009 Just Plain Folks Music Awards. "Yisrael B'nishmati" (from the same album) was also nominated for Best Jewish Song. In September of 2015, Rebecca was awarded second place (chosen out of over 300) by The Forward in the Soundtrack of Our Spirit, a reader-inspired digital project to find the best new voices in Jewish music.
In May of 2008, Rebecca was chosen to participate in the First International Jewish Music Competition hosted by the 14th International Jewish Music Festival at the Muziekgebouw aan't IJ in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She was called upon to gather everyone together for the final "Shehecheyanu moment" (a special prayer saved for special occasions) to honor the festival's director.
COMPILATION MUSIC/SONGBOOK PUBLICATIONS: "Y'did Nefesh" and "Birkat Haneirot" (from "Ahavah Rabah") are published in Shalshelet's First International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music CD and songbook. Rebecca's "Modim" and "Or Chadash" (from "The Light of Shabbat") are published by the Union for Reform Judaism's Transcontinental Music Publications in "Shabbat Anthology Volumes III and IV" compilation songbook/CD sets. "Y'did Nefesh" (from "Ahavah Rabah") will be published in the upcoming "Shabbat Anthology Volume VIII". Rebecca was honored to participate in a project called "Remembering Robin", and sang one of Robin Taback's beautiful songs ("Love is What We Want") as part of a compilation CD to honor Robin's memory and benefit cancer research.
Rebecca is married and has two grown sons. She's a member of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Women Cantors' Network, and the Guild of Temple Musicians.